Loves Only You Gets Japan Its Breeders' Cup Win


Loves Only You | Breeders' Cup/Eclipse Sportswire


Over the last quarter-century, horses based in Japan have increasingly made their presence felt on the international stage, winning top races on the European continent, the Middle East, Hong Kong and places as far afield as Australia. Though clearly possessed of the horseflesh to make an impression–no matter the port of call–the Breeders' Cup had eluded the island nation, but history was made Saturday at Del Mar when the well-traveled Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) sliced her way between rivals in the dying strides to salute in the GI Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar. My Sister Nat (Fr) (Acclamation {GB}), the half-sister to 2018 Filly & Mare Turf victress Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire}), overcame some trouble to be second ahead of favored War Like Goddess (English Channel) in third.

The Breeders' Cup had always been the objective for the 5-year-old mare, who had acquitted herself with flying colors in her overseas travels this year. The 2019 G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) victress was winless in five starts on the rough-and-tumble JRA circuit last season, but kicked off 2021 on a high, with a 1 1/4-length victory as the heavy favorite in the G2 Kyoto Kinen at Hanshin over this trip in mid-February. That race served as the ideal prep for the 12-furlong G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic Mar. 27, where she battled her way to the lead at the furlong grounds, only to be outfinished by the world-class duo of Mishriff (GB) (Make Believe {GB}) and her compatriot Chrono Genesis (Jpn) (Bago {Fr}). From there, it was off to Hong Kong, where Loves Only You led home a Japanese 1-2-3 in the G1 FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup going a mile and a quarter Apr. 25. Freshened up with an eye on Del Mar, the immaculately bred bay could not quite reel in reigning G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune) and settled for a close second in the G2 Sapporo Kinen Aug. 22. Loves Only You was cross-entered for the Turf, but took her chances in this sex-restricted event.

Alertly into stride for Yuga Kawada, Loves Only You secured a nice forward position while settling into a nice rhythm, as the supplemented Going to Vegas (Goldencents) sped to the front from her rail draw. With some pace pressure to her outside, Going to Vegas set legitimate fractions for the distance, covering the opening quarter in :24.10 and a half in :47.83 while prompted by Dogtag (War Front). Loves Only You lobbed along from fourth, racing just to the inside of Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) as they reached the second of three turns, while War Like Goddess was content to trail while unhurried.

Kawada took a bit of a tug to regain cover turning up the backstretch. Well within striking distance, Loves Only You was given every conceivable chance, but Julien Leparoux, who had allowed the chalk to improve by a few spots passing the half-mile marker, cut the ribbons really and truly at the three-eighths and circled up four wide outside of Love into the lane. Loves Only You, checked momentarily off heels and a bit unbalanced at the quarter pole, raced on her incorrect lead into the final eighth of a mile, quickened impressively between War Like Goddess and the rallying My Sister Nat in deep stretch and was punched out to score narrowly.

Trainer Yoshito Yahagi is one of the more charismatic trainers on the JRA circuit and has shown himself more than willing to roll the dice on foreign soil. In 2016, he traveled Loves Only You's full-brother Real Steel (Jpn) to Dubai for a half-length success in the G1 Dubai Turf and also conditioned Lys Gracieux (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}), Japan's Horse of the Year for 2019, whose victories that year included a stunning success in the G1 Cox Plate in Melbourne, Australia. Others to have benefitted from his training program include dual-surface Group 1 winner Mozu Ascot (Frankel {GB}) and 2020 Japanese Triple Crown hero Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}).

“When we finished second at Sapporo, I picked [this] race because the turf track is similar to Del Mar,” he said post-race. “First time she went overseas, she actually wasn't that good at traveling, but she's getting better and better and she gets stronger mentally.”

Yahagi indicated that Loves Only You is set to return to Hong Kong for the Longines Hong Kong International Races meeting Dec. 12, where connections have accepted an invitation for the $3.85-million G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup.

Pedigree Notes:

Loves Only You is the first Breeders' Cup winner for the late, great Deep Impact (second starter) and hails from a female family that has been no stranger to success at this meeting. The unraced Loves Only Me was acquired by Katsumi Yoshida for $900,000 in foal to Danehill Dancer (Ire) at the 2009 Keeneland November Sale and came with plenty of pedigree appeal, as her dam Monevassia was a full-sister to dual GI Breeders' Cup Mile winner Miesque (Nureyev)'s son Kingmambo and had produced champion and future Broodmare of the Year Rumplestiltskin (Ire) (Danehill)–subsequently the dam of G1SW Tapestry (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and GSW John F Kennedy (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). In addition to Kingmambo, Miesque was also responsible for G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and G1 Prix de Diane heroine East of the Moon (Private Account); GSW Mingun (A.P. Indy); GSW/MG1SP Miesque's Son (Mr. Prospector), sire of 2006 Mile hero Miesque's Approval.

Loves Only Me is the dam of seven winners from eight to race, all bar the in-utero foal, by Deep Impact. The cross of the late Shadai inmate over Storm Cat and Storm Cat-line dams has been sensationally productive, accounting for nearly 20% of the stallion's 53 worldwide Grade I/Group 1 winners, including recent G1 Yasuda Kinen hero Danon Kingly (Jpn), Hong Kong Group 1-winning sire A Shin Hikari (Jpn), Satono Aladdin (Jpn) and French 1000 Guineas heroine Beauty Parlour (Jpn), among others.

Loves Only Me has also been a commercial success at the JRHA Select Sales. Loves Only You fetched ¥160 million ($1,404,800) as a yearling at the 2017 sale, while a Heart's Cry (Jpn) half-brother to Loves Only You made ¥280 million ($2,537,293) as a foal at this year's Sale. Loves Only Me is also represented by a yearling colt by Duramente (Jpn), who passed away this past September.

Saturday, Del Mar
MAKER'S MARK BREEDERS' CUP FILLY AND MARE TURF-GI, $1,840,000, Del Mar, 11-6, 3yo/up, f/m, 1 3/8mT, 2:13.87, fm.
1–LOVES ONLY YOU (JPN), 124, m, 5, by Deep Impact (Jpn)
                1st Dam: Loves Only Me, by Storm Cat
                2nd Dam: Monevassia, by Mr. Prospector
                3rd Dam: Miesque, by Nureyev
(¥160,000,000 Ylg '17 JRASAL). O-DMM Dream Club Co.;
B-Northern Farm (JPN); T-Yoshito Yahagi; J-Yuga Kawada.
$1,040,000. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Jpn & HK, G1SP-UAE,
15-7-2-3, $6,493,602. *Full to Langley (Jpn), SP-Jpn,
$1,173,360; Real Steel (Jpn), Hwt. Older Horse-UAE at 7-9.5f,
G1SW-UAE, MGSW & MG1SP-Jpn, $7,508,769; and Prodigal
Son (Jpn), SW & MGSP-Jpn, $1,564,219. Werk Nick Rating: B+.
   Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–My Sister Nat (Fr), 124, m, 6, by Acclamation (GB)
                1st Dam: Starlet's Sister (Ire), by Galileo (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Premiere Creation (Fr), by Green Tune
                3rd Dam: Allwaki, by Miswaki
(€20,000 Ylg '16 ARQFEB). O-Peter M. Brant; B-Ecurie Des
Monceaux (FR); T-Chad C. Brown. $340,000.
3–War Like Goddess, 124, f, 4, by English Channel
                1st Dam: Misty North, by North Light (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Misty Gallop, by Victory Gallop
                3rd Dam: Romanette, by Alleged
($1,200 Wlg '17 KEENOV; $1,000 RNA Ylg '18 KEESEP; $30,000
2yo '19 OBSOPN). O-George Krikorian; B-Calumet Farm (KY);
T-William I. Mott. $180,000.
Margins: HF, HD, 1HF. Odds: 4.30, 29.90, 2.30.
Also Ran: Love (Ire), Audarya (Fr), Ocean Road (Ire), Rougir (Fr), Pocket Square (GB), Acanella (GB), Dogtag, Going to Vegas, Queen Supreme (Ire). Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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