Justin Milano Remains Unbeaten With Satsuki Sho Victory

Justin Milano (left) | Horsephotos

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Justin Milano (Jpn) lowered the track record as he came out on top in a stirring finish to Sunday's G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) at Nakayama Racecourse, adding the first leg of the Japanese Triple Crown to a record which now sees him unbeaten in three starts.

Keita Tosaki settled Justin Milano in fifth place in the early stages as Meisho Tabaru (Jpn) (Gold Ship {Jpn}) took the field along at a fierce gallop, racing a few lengths clear of the chasing pack. Jantar Mantar (Jpn) (Palace Malice), who was crowned champion Japanese two-year-old colt in 2023, raced in third for much of the race and was the first to make his bid for glory when surging past Meisho Tabaru early in the straight.

However, Jantar Mantar was unable to sustain his run and lost two places close home as both Justin Milano and Cosmo Kuranda (Jpn) (Al Ain {Jpn}) went by him, with Tosaki's mount digging deep to get the verdict by a neck. Jantar Mantar was half a length further back in third, while the disappointment of the race was G1 Hopeful S. winner Regaleira (Jpn) (Suave Richard {Jpn}), who could finish only sixth having been sent off favourite in her bid to become the first filly to win the race for 76 years.

It was a second victory in the Satsuki Sho for Justin Milano's trainer Yasuo Tomomichi after that of Unrivaled (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}) in 2009, while Tosaki had also tasted success in the race just once before with 2018 winner Epoca d'Oro (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}).

“Given the condition of the track, I thought that it would be better to race toward the front,” said Tosaki. “He broke well and we were able to settle in that position naturally. The pace was fast but Justin Milano ran in his own rhythm. His response weakened a bit at the third corner, but he regained his focus after the fourth corner and stretched well to win the race. He's a smart horse with a lot of potential. He's easy to ride and I think he can handle the longer distance.”

The next leg of the Japanese Triple Crown is the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), which is run over 2400 metres and was won by Justin Milano's sire, Kizuna (Jpn), back in 2013. The 2024 edition of the Tokyo Yushun will be run at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday, May 26.

Justin Milano is already a dual winner at Tokyo having won both his previous starts at that track. He made a winning debut as a two-year-old there in November before returning in February with victory in the G3 Kyodo News Hai (Tokinominoru Kinen), beating Jantar Mantar by a length and a half.

 

 

Pedigree Notes

Justin Milano is a third Group 1 winner for Shadai Stallion Station resident Kizuna, who won only once at the top level himself when landing the 2013 Tokyo Yushun, though he did perform with credit when travelling to Europe later in his three-year-old campaign, winning the G2 Prix Niel before finishing a creditable fourth behind Treve (Fr) (Motivator {GB}) in the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. His standout performer before Justin Milano was Songline (Jpn), who notably won back-to-back renewals of the G1 Yasuda Kinen in 2022 and 2023, while another daughter, Akai Ito (Jpn), won the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2021.

Justin Milano's dam, Margot Did (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}), showed her best form at up to seven furlongs in Britain, with her biggest success coming over five in the 2011 G1 Nunthorpe S. at York. Justin Milano is the second Group 1 winner and third black-type performer she has produced at stud. Magic Attitude (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) became her dam's first top-level winner in the 2020 GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S., while her first foal was the G2 Prix de Sandringham winner Mission Impassible (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who also filled the runner-up spot in the GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. as a three-year-old.

Margot Did's own dam, Special Dancer (GB) (Shareef Dancer), was a winner in Italy at up to a mile and a half, as well as being a half-sister to the G1 Hong Kong Gold Cup runner-up Floral Dynamite (Aus) (Danehill) and the G3 Meld S. winner Cajarian (Shahrastani).

Sunday, Nakayama, Japan
SATSUKI SHO (JAPANESE 2000 GUINEAS)-G1, ¥417,520,000, Nakayama, 4-14, 3yo, c/f, 2000mT, 1:57.10 (NTR), fm.
1–JUSTIN MILANO (JPN), 126, c, 3, by Kizuna (Jpn)
        1st Dam: Margot Did (Ire) (Hwt. Filly-Eng at 5-7f, G1SW-Eng, $425,664), by Exceed And Excel (Aus)
        2nd Dam: Special Dancer (GB), by Shareef Dancer
        3rd Dam: Caraniya (Ire), by Darshaan (GB)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O-Masahiro Miki; B-Northern Farm (Jpn);
T-Yasuo Tomomichi; J-Keita Tosaki; ¥226,264,000. Lifetime
Record: 3-3-0-0, ¥274,821,000. *Half to Mission Impassible
(Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), GSW & G1SP-Fr, GISP-NA, $311,814; Magic
Attitude (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), GSW & G1SP-Fr, GISW-NA,
$439,402. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style
pedigree. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Werk Nick Rating: A++.
2–Cosmo Kuranda (Jpn), 126, c, 3, by Al Ain (Jpn)–Southern
Speed (Aus), by Southern Image. O-Big Red Farm; B-Big Red
Farm (Jpn); ¥87,504,000.
3–Jantar Mantar (Jpn), 126, c, 3, by Palace Malice–India
Mantuana, by Wilburn. O-Shadai Race Horse; B-Shadai Farm
(Jpn); ¥53,752,000.
Margins: Neck, HF, 1 HF. Odds: 3.80, 14.80, 5.10.
Also ran: Urban Chic (Jpn), Shin Emperor (Fr), Regaleira (Jpn), Ecoro Waltz (Jpn), Lucullan Feast (Jpn), Sunrize Zipangu (Jpn), Mr G T (Jpn), Ho O Prosangue (Jpn), Sunrise Earth (Jpn), Byzantine Dream (Jpn), Sirius Colt (Jpn), Allegro Brillante (Jpn), Water Licht (Jpn), Meisho Tabaru (Jpn). Scratch: Danon Decile (Jpn). Click for the JRA chart & video.

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