FIRST SAMURAI’s Shivaji added a group stakes victory to his resume on Sunday in Japan with a 1 ¼ length win in the Silk Road Stakes (G3T).
Racing over six furlongs on the Chukyo turf, the 6-year-old owned by Kanayama Holdings raced wide in midpack throughout the first few furlongs. Jockey Yuichi Fukunaga’s plan to give his mount clear running throughout worked well as they entered the stretch with Shivaji kicking into gear. He had the center of the track all to himself as they straightened out and ate up the margin between himself and the leaders in the closing furlongs.
Taking the lead less than a sixteenth from the line, the Kenji Nonaka-trainee showed that he had plenty left as he pulled away to victory from there.
Bred by Hinkle Farms, he becomes the 18th group winner for First Samurai with that stallion’s major winners including Grade 1 winners LEA, Executiveprivilege, and Justin Phillip.
Shivaji is a grandson of Grade 2 winner Buy The Barrel, who has produced Grade 3-placed Misen en Rose and multiple stakes-placed Stave in addition to his Indian Charlie dam. A $540,000 OBS Spring 2-Year-Old purchase by his racing owners, the horse’s family also includes Grade 2 winner Royal Charlotte and Grade 3 winners Demarcation, Mauk Four, and Fishy Advice.
Among her upcoming runners, Shivaji’s dam Indian Bay has a 2-year-old full sister to Shivaji who sold for $240,000 at last year’s Keeneland Yearling Sale.