Okiro becomes first stakes winner for Yoshida (JPN) with Animal Kingdom S. victory

Okiro powered down the Turfway Park stretch to win Saturday’s $250,000 Animal Kingdom stakes going away by 2 ¼-lengths to become the first stakes winner for Yoshida (JPN).

Second in last year’s Hollywood Beach S. at Gulfstream Park, 3-year-old Okiro is owned by Yutaka Enterprises Corp and is trained by Jose Garoffalo.

Okiro was making his first start away from Gulfstream Park in the Animal Kingdom. He was sixth for the first quarter-mile before launching a bid on the outside going around the bend. Joe Shiesty, who had set a rapid early pace, was six lengths ahead of Okiro turning into the stretch, but Okiro had all the momentum and took command in the final furlong to finish the six furlongs in 1:09.80 on the synthetic surface.

Bred in Kentucky by Burleson Farm and McKenzie Bloodstock, Okiro is out of the Malibu Moon mare She Hung the Moon. His second dam Bear Now was a multiple graded stakes winner and Champion Older Mare in Canada.

Yoshida, who stands for $7,500 S&N, was a Grade 1 winner on both dirt and turf and earned over $2.5 million. He is also responsible for the multiple stakes-placed filly Yatta.