July 13, 2024

Ten Happy Rose shocks Breeders’ Cup WAYI Victoria Mile

Ten Happy Rose upsets the Victoria Mile
Ten Happy Rose upsets the Victoria Mile as favored Masked Diva (background) was a troubled third (Photo by Tomoya Moriuchi/Horsephotos.com)

Trainer Daisuke Takayanagi made headlines recently for his Churchill Downs ventures with T O Password, a commendable fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and T O Saint Denis, runner-up in the Alysheba (G2). Now Takayanagi has a potential Breeders’ Cup (G1) candidate in Ten Happy Rose, who shocked Sunday’s “Win and You’re In” Victoria Mile (G1) at odds of 208-1 at Tokyo.

Aside from Ten Happy Rose delivering by far a new career top, the other story of the race was the nightmare trip suffered by 1.30-1 favorite Masked Diva. Strung up in traffic and shut off at the crucial stage in the stretch, Masked Diva made a desperate effort to close once she got a seam. But it was too late, as arguably the best horse wound up third.

Ten Happy Rose wasn’t the biggest longshot on the board, with that dubious distinction going to the 337-1 Kita Wing. Yet she was the second-highest price of the 15 runners, given the fact that the six-year-old mare appeared outclassed in her Grade 1 debut.

Since finishing third in the 2020 Artemis (G3) during her juvenile campaign, Ten Happy Rose had failed to gain a placing at the graded level. She’d found listed company more attainable, scoring her only prior black-type win in the Aug. 27 Toki S. at Niigata. Ten Happy Rose raised her sights unsuccessfully in both starts this term, and her latest sixth in the April 6 Hanshin Himba (G2), behind Masked Diva, didn’t portend a gigantic turnaround.

The daughter of Epiphaneia does have a solid late kick, though, and everything fell into place in the Victoria Mile. Under veteran jockey Akihide Tsumura, who was likewise earning a Grade 1 breakthrough, Ten Happy Rose was anchored near the back of the field as a torrid pace unfolded.

Early leader Conch Shell and the attending Feel Sympathy maintained their positions until well in the stretch, when the stalking Fierce Pride swooped past them. Wider out, the blaze face of Ten Happy Rose was rolling into contention.

But most eyes were probably on Masked Diva, who was trying to rally between foes. The gap, such as it was, closed, and jockey Joao Moreira had to snatch her up. Masked Diva recovered to see daylight to her inside, but the most she could do was reach the blanket finish for the minors.

Ten Happy Rose crossed the wire 1 1/4 lengths clear in a time of 1:31.8 on the good-to-firm course. She passed not only a class but also a distance test in the Victoria Mile, for she’d never won beyond 1400 meters (about seven furlongs). Hence it is questionable if she would want to use her Breeders’ Cup ticket for the Filly & Mare Turf (G1), the race designated by the WAYI terms, when the Mile (G1) would be more in her wheelhouse.

“I had long been waiting and working hard to be able to stand on this podium as a Grade 1 winner,” Tsumura said, “and it feels really great that I have finally made it. The race development, from the start up until the final corner, exceeded my imagination and it was just a matter of how much the mare could extend her strides from there.

“When we were actually leading in the last 200 meters, it was almost unbelievable. I am grateful for the fans that have been rooting for me and I hope this is just the start of more victories like this.”

Fierce Pride held second by a neck from Masked Diva, who was the same margin up on Doe Eyes. Rouge Lignage rallied from last into a close fifth, followed by Umbrail, Moryana, second choice Namur, the one-paced Stunning Rose, Sound Vivace, Kita Wing, Feel Sympathy, Conch Shell, Lilac, and Harper.

Campaigned by Yasushi Tenpaku, Ten Happy Rose has compiled a record of 24-6-5-2. The Shadai Farm-bred is out of the Tanino Gimlet mare Fatal Rose. This is the family of Godolphin’s classic-placed Sundrop, who captured the 2005 Cardinal H. (G3) at Churchill, and further back, 1995 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) champion Northern Spur.