Japan's popular white filly Sodashi earned the keys to the world while soundly defeating a talented field in the Victoria Mile (G1) May 15 at Tokyo Racecourse.
After saving ground into the stretch, Hayato Yoshida guided Sodashi between rivals while tackling the uphill gradient, wore down longshot pacesetter Rosa Noir, and romped home first by two lengths, earning guaranteed starting rights in the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T) in November at Keeneland and two of France's top-level grass events.
The victory was her seventh from 11 starts and third at the grade 1 level. It also ended a three-race losing streak that had done little to dampen the ardor of her huge fan base.
And it came at the expense of some significant rivals, including Songline, winner of the 1351 Turf Sprint Presented by STC (G3) in Saudi Arabia in her previous start; Resistencia, five-times runner-up at the top level, including the 2021 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (G1); 2020 Japanese filly Triple Crown winner Daring Tact; and Fine Rouge, second in the Shuka Sho (G1) last October.
Also in the field were the first two finishers from one of the key prep races for the Victoria Mile, Meisho Mimosa and Andvaranaut, and the runner-up in the other, Kurino Premium.
None was a match for the filly becoming known as "the white wonder." Fine Rouge and Resistencia earned second and third in the Victoria mile by a neck and a nose, with Rosa Noir and Songline close behind in a tight bunch.
"The filly was relaxed and in good condition when I rode her in the post parade," Yoshida said. "Once she entered the gate, she was focused and was able to make a good break and I was able to ride her in good rhythm while holding down her pace. She responded well at the stretch when I urged her to go.
"As today's race included a very strong field, it was like a dream for a white horse to be able to win a grade 1 race at Tokyo Racecourse."
Bred by her owner, Kaneko Makoto Holdings and trained by Naosuke Sugai, Sodashi won her first five starts in 2020 and 2021, including the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1) and the Oka Sho Japanese One Thousand Guineas (G1). She then went 1-for-4 in the last half of her 3-year-old season and finished third on return in the February Stakes (G1) Feb. 20 in her most recent start.
Sugai gave no clue as to plans for the striking filly, who now is eligible not only to the Breeders' Cup but also to the Sept. 4 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1) and the Aug. 14 Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville by virtue of the victory.
But the trainer did indicate before the race that his filly has matured physically and mentally.
"She has been running with a lot of power in training and her gate practice has been good," Sugai said. "We have tried to make sure she doesn't have any stress so that she is relaxed and runs smoothly. She seems calmer with age."
The exploits of past winners of the Victoria Mile indicate there are multiple paths for Sodashi's connections to pursue. That roster includes the likes of Almond Eye and Buena Vista, both subsequently named Japanese Horse of the Year, 2010 fillies Triple Crown winner Apapane and last year's winner, Gran Alegria, who went on to defend her Mile Championship (G1) title and was named Japan's best sprinter or miler for the second consecutive season.