The Oka Sho (桜花賞) is considered to be the Japanese equivalent of the English 1,000 Guineas flat race. It is otherwise known as Japanese 1,000 Guineas (桜花賞).
Oka Sho is a Grade 1 horse race for three years old Thoroughbred fillies every early April. It is open for local and foreign-bred and trained horses as long as they have been determined to be qualified for the race. The fillies are required to weigh 55 kilograms for the race. Although, there is a two-kilogram weight allowance for fillies that are born and bred in the Southern Hemisphere in 2016.
The nominations for the Japanese 1,000 Guineas usually starts off around October of the previous year. This is because the nominations and declarations of horses that will be participating in the competition take longer than other races. The final declaration for the competing horses is done a few days before the competition starts.
There is no indicated maximum limit as to how many local and international horses can compete in Oka Sho. The maximum number that can compete every year in the race is 18 horses.
Purse of the Oka Sho
The Japanese 1,000 Guineas has one of the highest purse in Japan flat racing. The total purse of the competition is ¥226,800,000 or approximately $1,972,000.
The total amount of prize money that the first place winner will get is ¥105,000,000 or about $913,000.
The Race Track of Oka Sho
Oka Sho is usually held annually at Hanshin Racecourse at Takarazuka, Hyōgo in Japan. The horses compete over a distance of 1,600 meters or about 8 furlongs in length. The racecourse surface is a right-handed turf. This means that the horses will turn right on a grassy path that is easy for them to run on.
Most Notable Horses in Oka Sho
All horses that have competed and won first place have proven that they have the speed and agility over other horses in the same race. However, there are some horses that continue to beat not only other horses, but the record time they finished the race. Some of these horses are the following: Gran Alegria, Almond Eye, and Harp Star.
Gran Alegria → Gran Alegria is a filly racehorse that has won the Oka Sho in 2019. She was able to finish the race with record speed of one minute, thirty-two seconds, and seven milliseconds.
Almond Eye → Almond Eye is a Japanese Thoroughbred horse that completed the Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown. She was able to finish the Oka Sho race in 2018 within record time of one minute, thirty-three seconds, and one millisecond.
Harp Star → Harp Star is a mare racehorse that was one of the leading two-year old fillies in Japan in 2014. She placed first in the Oka Sho race in record time of one minute, thirty-three seconds, and three milliseconds.
Where to Wager?
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