Efforia Named Japanese Horse of the Year

Efforia clinched Japanese Horse of the Year honors in the Arima Kinen | JRA


Efforia (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) became the first 3-year-old since Orfevre (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) in 2011 to be named Japanese Horse of the Year as year-end honors were revealed Tuesday. The Carrot Farm colorbearer received 277 of the 296 possible votes, easily outdistancing the globetrotting Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who received 18 first-place votes for the top prize. Efforia was also unanimously named champion 3-year-old male.

A son of the Heart's Cry (Jpn) mare Katie's Heart (Jpn) and from the same family as fellow Horse of the Year Admire Moon (Jpn) (End Sweep) and multiple champion Hishi Amazon (Theatrical {Ire}), Efforia won the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) to run his record to a perfect four-from-four in April, then was just caught on the wire by Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) the following month. Rested thereafter, Efforia outbattled last year's champion 3-year-old and Triple Crown hero Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) to take out the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) and closed his season with a sound success in the G1 Arima Kinen late last month. Efforia trains on in 2022

For third straight season, Contrail has taken home championship honors, this time as older male. Sparingly campaigned, the son of Rhodochrosite (Unbridled's Song) was third in a boggy-turf renewal of the G1 Osaka Hai on his 4-year-old debut in April and runner-up in the Tenno Sho before dominating the G1 Longines Japan Cup in his career swansong in November (video).

The exploits of Loves Only You at home and abroad were rewarded with champion older female honors. The 2019 G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) heroine made just two of her six seasonal appearances in Japan, winning the G2 Kyoto Kinen in February ahead of a third to Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) in the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic and a victory in the G1 FWD QE II Cup in Hong Kong in April. Runner-up to Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune) in the G2 Sapporo Kinen, Loves Only You became the first Japanese winner at the Breeders' Cup meeting, scoring the GI Filly & Mare Turf in dramatic fashion (video) before concluding her career victoriously in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup in December.

Though not as brilliant as in her championship 2-year-old season in 2020, Sodashi was named best of her generation in 2021, winning the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the aforementioned Sapporo Kinen over Loves Only You.

Gran Alegria (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) successfully defended her title as Japan's champion sprinter/miler, her third championship overall after being named best 3-year-old filly of 2019. Facile winner of the G1 Victoria Mile against fellow females in May, the daughter of the late Tapitsfly (Tapit) fell just short in defense of her crown in the G1 Yasuda Kinen before getting a breather. A gallant third to Efforia in the Tenno Sho, she backed up to arguably her best trip and defeated top 3-year-old miler Schnell Meister (Ger) (Kingman {GB}) to win the G1 Mile Championship for the second year in a row in November (video).

With victories in the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity and G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, respectively, Do Deuce (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) and Circle of Life (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) took home top honors in the 2-year-old male and filly divisions. T O Keynes (Jpn) (Sinister Minister) was named champion dirt horse on the strength of a powerhouse score in the G1 Champions Cup, while legendary 10-year-old Oju Chosan (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) was tabbed champion steeplechaser for the fourth time in his career.


WATCH: Efforia stamps his authority on the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn)

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