Shackleford Filly Game as they Get in Fantasy

Sekie and Tsunebumi Yoshihara’s Yuugiri (Shackleford) looked in all sorts of bother as she was besieged from either side with time ticking away in Saturday’s GIII Fantasy S. at Oaklawn Park, but she refused to lay down and battled her way to a neck defeat of Begin (Gun Runner). second choice Bubble Rock (More Than Ready) was third in her first try on a conventional dirt surface.

Quickly into stride from gate six, Yuugiri won the race into the first turn and set the pace from the two path, with Bubble Rock chasing from second and Beguine monitoring proceedings from the box seat in third. That trio would have the race to themselves, as it would happen. Yuugiri did it well on the engine and went along comfortably, sharp though the fractions were. On a long rein with Bubble Rock stalking her wherever she went and Beguine still traveling strongly, Yuugiri was shaken up 2 1/2 furlongs from home, but appeared to be going better than Bubble Rock to her outside her. In the meantime, Beguine emerged as the more serious danger at the fence and was within a head as they entered the final eighth of a mile. But the pacesetter maintained a slender advantage as the duo came together late and proved a most determined winner. Stewards launched an inquiry into the final stages, but ultimately allowed the result to stand.

“That was really not the initial plan (go to the lead), but she broke so sharp,” said winning trainer Rodolphe Brisset. “[Jockey Florent Geroux] did good to just go with the flow. The fractions were pretty fast. It’s very demanding to go to the wire, going :46 and changing, and she did it. It’s a fun one.”

A romping 7 1/4-length debut maiden winner at Churchill Downs Sept. 17, Yuugiri was a distant runner-up in the Oct. 31 Rags To Riches S. and filled the same spot when beaten a length by Fantasy favorite Dream Lith (Medaglia d’Oro) in the GII Golden Rod S. Nov. 27. She raced prominently in the GIII Honeybee S. in her sophomore debut Feb. 26 but weakened late to be third behind leading local lady Secret Oath (Arrogate) in an effort she was likely to be in need of and sure to come on for.

Pedigree Notes:

Yuugiri is the 19th stakes winner and seventh winner at the graded level for GI Preakness S. winner Shackleford, who was sold to Korean interests to continue his stallion career in that country in 2020.

The winner’s dam was campaigned by Sekie and Tsunebumi Yoshihara to a victory for trainer Michael Matz in the grassy Forever Together S. and Yuugiri is her only winner from two of racing age. Yuzuru is a half-sister to the Winchester Farm-bred Nokaze (Empire Maker), the dam of Japanese Group 2 winner Air Almas (Majestic Warrior), Japanese stakes winner Air Fanditha (Hat Trick {Jpn}) and the promising Air Sage ( Point of Entry), winner of three of six starts on the demanding JRA circuit. The Yoshiharas campaign those horses in Japan under the banner of Lucky Field, the literal translation of Yoshihara. Lucky Field has also raced 1997 Tenno Sho hero Air Groove (Jpn) (Tony Bin {Ire}) and MGSW/MG1SP Air Spinel (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}).

Yuzuru is the dam of a 2-year-old colt by Air Force Blue that has already been exported to Japan as well as a yearling colt by Nyquist. She was most recently bred to American Pharoah.

FANTASY S.-GIII$600,000, Oaklawn, 4-2, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:43.65, ft.
1-YUUGIRI, 119, f, 3, by Shackleford
1st Dam: Yuzuru (SW, $105,759), by Medaglia d’Oro
2nd Dam: Macarena Macarena, by Gone West
3rd Dam: Angelic Song, by Halo
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O/B-Sekie & Tsunebumi Yoshihara (KY); T-Rodolphe Brisset; J-Florent Geroux. $360,000. Lifetime Record: MGSP, 5-2-2-1, $543,610. Werk Nick Rating: B. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
two-Begin119, f, 3, Gun Runner–Shananies Song, by Eltish. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADE BLACK TYPE. ($235,000 RNA Ylg ’20 KEESEP; $340,000 RNA 2yo ’21 FTFMAR). O/B-Charles T. Matses; T-Daniel C. Peitz. $120,000.
3-Bubble Rock, 122, f, 3, More Than Ready–Reef Point, by Giant’s Causeway. O/B-Shortleaf Stable, Inc.; T-Brad H. Cox. $60,000.
Margins: NK, 3, 2. Odds: 4.10, 11.30, 3.20.
Also Ran: I Feel the Need, Dream Lith, Hearty Constitution, Mariah’s Fortune, Magic Circle. Scratched: Age.
Click for the chartthe PPs or the free catalog-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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