Pure white thoroughbred filly Sodashi has won the first leg of Japan racing’s fillies’ triple crown, notching her fifth successive victory and breaking a track record in the process.
The three-year-old filly, who was named the Japan Racing Association’s (JRA) Best Two-Year-Old Filly in 2020, ran away with the 1600m turf Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) on Sunday, April 11, in a time of 1:31.1, breaking the track record set by Black Moon in 2017. The undefeated daughter of Kurofune is the first white horse in JRA history to claim a classics title. She was also the first two-year-old award winner in 11 years to win the Oka Sho.
Sent off a close second favorite, Sodashi broke sharply but settled patiently on the rails behind the pace briefly set by Stutti and then Meikei Yell who soon took over the lead. After entering the straight still in third, the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies victor had no trouble pinning the two in front and easily powered clear 300 meters out, holding off the fierce challenges from Satono Reinas and Fine Rouge for victory by a neck.
“It’s a great feeling. There was a lot of pressure with many doubting how strong a white filly could be, so I’m thrilled we were able to prove them wrong,” jockey Hayato Yoshida said after the race.
“I was a bit worried that the fast track would be a disadvantage, but she responded beautifully and ran well holding off the others closing in on us which I saw and made me drive her to the wire. Her potential is limitless and I look forward to her future starts.”
Trained by Naosuke Sugai, Sodashi had not raced for four months, since her win in the Group One Hanshin Juvenile Fillies race in December. She was then the first white or coloured thoroughbred to win a Group One race.
Sodashi is by the grey stallion Kurofune and out of the famous “spotted wonder”, Buchiko, who is registered as white, but has dark chestnut “medicine hat” markings on her head, and jagged chestnut dapples or spots on her body, similar to appaloosa markings. Buchiko’s dam is the pure white mare Shirayukihime, by Sunday Silence. Buchiko is by King Kamehameha.
The white colouring of this line is through a specific gene mutation, the KIT gene, which plays an important role in colour during embryonic development, causing an absence of melanocytes in depigmented skin areas.
Sodashi was bred by Kaneko Makoto Holdings, which retains ownership.