Lucky Lilac

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Lucky Lilac
Lucky-Lilac (JPN) IMG 6405-1 20171210.jpg
Lucky Lilac in December 2017
GrandsireStay Gold
DamLilacs and Lace
DamsireFlower Alley
Foaled3 April 2015[1]
BreederNorthern Farm
OwnerSunday Racing
TrainerMikio Matsunaga
Record12: 5-2-2
Major wins
Artemis Stakes (2017)
Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (2017)
Tulip Sho (2018)
Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2019)
JRA Award for Best Two-Year-Old Filly (2017)

Lucky Lilac (Japanese: ラッキーライラック, foaled 3 April 2015) is a Japanese Thoroughbred racehorse. As a two-year-old in 2017 she was undefeated in three races including the Artemis Stakes and Hanshin Juvenile Fillies and took the JRA Award for Best Two-Year-Old Filly. In the following year she won the Tulip Sho and was placed in both the Oka Sho and the Yushun Himba.


Lucky Lilac is a chestnut filly with a narrow white blaze bred in Hokkaido by Northern Farm. She was sent into training with Mikio Matsunaga and raced in the black, red and yellow colours of Sunday Racing. She ha ben ridden in most of her races by Shu Ishibashi.

She was from the first crop of foals sired by Orfevre, who was the Japanese Horse of the Year in 2011 and whose wins included the Satsuki Sho, Tokyo Yushun, Kikuka Sho, Arima Kinen and Takarazuka Kinen. Orfevre's other progeny include the Satsuki Sho winner Epoca d'Oro.[2] Lucky Lilac's dam, Lilacs And Lace showed to-class form as a three-year-old in the United States in 2011, winning the California Oaks and the Ashland Stakes.[3] She was a granddaughter of the Acorn Stakes winner Stella Madrid who was in turn a daughter of the outstanding female sprinter My Juliet.[4]

Racing career[edit]

2017: two-year-old season[edit]

On her racecourse debut Lucky Lilac contested an event for previously unraced juveniles over 1600 metres at Niigata Racecourse on 20 August and won from Lavacourt and sixteen others.[5] The filly was then stepped up in class for the Grade 3 Artemis Stakes over the same distance at Tokyo Racecourse on 28 October. Starting the 3.4/1 second favourite behind Tosen Bliss in a fifteen-runner field she won by three quarters of a length from Sayakachan.[6]

On 10 December Lucky Lilac was moved up to the highest level to contest the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies over 1600 metres at Hanshin Racecourse and started the 3.1/1 second choice in the betting behind the Sapporo Nisai Stakes winner Rock This Town. The other fancied contenders in the eighteen runner field included Lily Noble, Mau Lea, Social Club, Cordierite, Tosen Bliss and Sayakachan. Lucky Lilac was settled in mid division towards the outside as the Las Emociones set the pace from Cordierite. Entering the straight the leaders began to fade and Lily Noble went to the front but Lucky Lilac produced a sustained run on the outside, gained the advantage in the last 200 metres and won by three quarters of a length with Mau Lea taking third place. After the race Ishibashi commented "She was a bit keen in her last start but was very relaxed today. We were in a good striking position at the top of the stretch which gave me all the confidence I needed. Her physical ability is extremely high and she is very intelligent too."[7]

In the official ratings for Japanese two-year-olds Lucky Lilac was rated the best juvenile filly of the year, two pounds ahead of Lily Noble and six pounds below the top-rated colt Danon Premium.[8] In January 2018 Lucky Lilac was unanimously voted Best Two-Year-Old Filly at the JRA Awards for 2017.[9]

2018: three-year-old season[edit]

Lucky Lilac began her second campaign in the Grade 2 Tulip Sho (a major trial race for the Oka Sho) over 1600 metres at Hanshin on 3 March. She was made the odds-on favourite and won by two lengths and a neck from Mau Lea and Lily Noble.[10] Her trainer Mikio Matsunaga commented "she was able to demonstrate her strength and ability, and looking ahead we could take a lot from that. She has good natural speed, does her work well, and because she's relaxed we can train her as we'd like".[11]

On 8 April the filly starts 4/5 favourite in a seventeen-runner field for the 78th edition of Oka Sho at Hanshin. After racing in fourth place she took the lead in the straight but sustained her first defeat as she was overtaken in the final strides and beaten a length and three quarters into second place by Almond Eye.[12] Lucky Lilac was moved up in distance and started second favourite for the Yushun Himba at Tokyo on 20 May. She tracked the leaders before making steady progress in the straight and finishing third behind Almond Eye and Lily Noble.[13]

After a break of over four and a half months, Lucky Lilac returned for the Shuka Sho over 2000 metres at Kyoto Racecourse on 14 October. Plans to give her a warm-up race had been shelved after she sustained an injury to her right hind leg.[14] Ridden by Yuichi Kitamura she was the second choice in the betting but failed to reproduce her best form and came home ninth of the seventeen runners.

In the official ratings for Japanese three-year-olds Lucky Lilac was rated alongside Lily Noble and Mikki Charm as the second-best juvenile filly of the year, thirteen pounds behind Almond Eye.[15]

2019: four-year-old season[edit]

On 24 February 2019 Lucky Lilac was matched against male opposition when she contested the Grade 2 Nakayama Kinen. After racing in second place behind Maltese Apogee she took the lead in the straight and opened up a clear advantage but was caught on the line and beaten a neck by the five-year-old Win Bright.[16] In April the filly started odds-on favourite for the Hanshin Himba Stakes and came home eighth in a blanket finish, beaten less than two lengths by the winner Mikki Charm. Despite five consecutive defeats Lucky Lilac was made the 3.3/1 favourite for a strong renewal of the Victoria Mile at Tokyo on 12 May. She tracked the front-running Aerolithe before launching a strong challenge on the outside but in another close finish she was beaten into fourth place behind Normcore, Primo Scene and Crocosmia.


Pedigree of Lucky Lilac (JPN), chestnut filly 2015[1]
Orfevre (JPN)
Stay Gold (JPN)
Sunday Silence (USA Halo
Wishing Well
Golden Sash Dictus (FR)
Dyna Sash
Oriental Art (JPN)
Mejiro McQueen Mejiro Titan
Mejiro Aurora
Electro Art Northern Taste (CAN)
Grandma Stevens (USA)
Lilacs and Lace (USA)
Flower Alley (USA)
Distorted Humor Forty Niner
Danzig's Beauty
Princess Olivia Lycius
Dance Image (IRE)
Refinement (USA)
Seattle Slew Bold Reasoning
My Charmer
Stella Madrid Alydar
My Juliet (Family: 6-a)[4]


  1. ^ a b "Lucky Lilac pedigree". Equineline.
  2. ^ "Orfevre - progeny". Racing Post.
  3. ^ "Lilacs And Lace - Race Record & Form". Racing Post.
  4. ^ a b "Cream Cheeks - Family 6-a". Thoroughbred Bloodlines.
  5. ^ "Race Records:Lifetime Starts - Lucky Lilac". JBIS.
  6. ^ "Artemis Stakes result". Racing Post. 28 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Lucky Lilac Is Top Two-Year-Old Filly Claiming Hanshin Juvenile Fillies Title". Horse Racing in Japan. 10 December 2017.
  8. ^ "JPN Thoroughbred Rankings". Horse Racing in Japan.
  9. ^ "Winners of the 2017 JRA Awards announced". Horse Racing in Japan. 9 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Tulip Sho result". Racing Post. 3 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Oka Sho Preview". Horse Racing in Japan. 3 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Oka Sho Almond Eye's Come-from-Behind Victory Renews Race Record". Horse Racing in Japan. 8 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Race Favorite Almond Eye Eyes Fillies' Triple with Yushun Himba Victory". Horse Racing in Japan. 20 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Shuka Sho - Preview". Horse Racing in Japan. 9 October 2018.
  15. ^ "JPN Thoroughbred Rankings". Horse Racing in Japan.
  16. ^ "Nakayama Kinen result". JRA Race Card & Results.