Azeri Colt Wins for Second Time at Kyoto

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Azeri’s son Leukerbad as a foal | jrha.or.jp

By Alan Carasso

Leukerbad (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), a son of 2002 U.S. Horse of the Year and three-time champion older mare Azeri (Jade Hunter), won for the second time in three career outings, taking a 2000-meter test at Kyoto Monday afternoon.

The prohibitive 2-5 favorite was guided back to the latter third of the field by Yutaka Take and pulled hard before settling in the two path, about eight from the lead, as they banked into the first turn. Still racing keenly on the backstretch, he began his move three wide at the 600-meter marker and was pulled out about six abreast at the head of the lane. Shaken up a bit by Take, Leukerbad took command at the furlong grounds and was pushed out hands and heels to score more easily than the winning half-length margin might indicate (video).

Bred by Northern Farm, Leukerbad first made headlines in 2013 when topping the JRHA Select Foal Sale on a bid of ¥240 million (about US$2,352,942) from Desk Valet Co. Ltd. Trained by Mikio Mitsunaga for Japanese screenwriter Toshio Terada, Leukerbad turned in a promising career debut, finishing runner-up in a 2000-meter newcomers’ event over soft Kyoto turf Nov. 8 before breaking his maiden by a length over nine furlongs here Nov. 29. In that event, Leukerbad defeated Tanino Urban Sea (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), a now 3-year-old daughter of 2009 G1 Japan Cup winner Vodka (Jpn) (Tanino Gimlet {Jpn}).

While still domiciled in the U.S., Azeri, an 11-time Grade I winner, was represented at stud by MGSW & GISP Wine Princess, the result of a mating to fellow Horse of the Year Ghostzapper; as well as GSP Arienza (Giant’s Causeway). The chestnut mare was purchased by Katsumi Yoshida in foal to Distorted Humor of $2.25 million at the 2009 Keeneland November sale, 11 months after being bought back on a bid of $4.4 million at Keeneland January when carrying the foal that would become Wine Princess.

Azeri’s Deep Impact colt of 2014 followed in Leukerbad’s hoofprints by topping that year’s Select Foal Sale at ¥250 million (about US$2,450,981) on a bid from Riichi Kondo. The mare produced another full-brother to Leukerbad in 2015 and is once again due to Deep Impact for the current breeding season.

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