The grade one Takarazuka Kinen wrapped up an overwhelming victory for the 2.7(17/10) favorite Gold Ship, who became the first horse to gain a back-to-back Takarazuka victory in racing history.
Veteran jockey Norihiro Yokoyama, who partnered the winner for the first time, said, "The horse ran smoothly without showing laziness. I just sat on him not to bother him."
Verxina led the field with Fame Game a few steps back in second. Gold Ship advanced into fourth position on the first turn and kept that position with Gentildonna right on his tail. The horses looked like they bunched together when turning for home.
Verxina held the leading position, but Gold Ship was ahead of the leader in a flash down the stretch and got up into the winning post in 2 minutes 13.90 seconds over Hanshin 2,200 meters. The good-to-soft going might have helped the winner.
Second was, a 3-length behind the winner, Curren Mirotic with another 1 1/4-length further away Verxina third.
Gentildonna failed to fire in the stretch, finishing a disappointing ninth.
Trained by N. Sugai and owned by E. Kobayashi, Gold Ship has now registered 11th win in 19 lifetime starts with more than 1.1 billion jp yen in lifetime earnings. Deguchi Farm in Hidaka, Hokkaido was the breeder of the 5-year-old gray horse by Stay Gold out of the Mejiro McQueen mare Point Flag.