Lys Gracieux Named Japan’s Horse of the Year

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Lys Gracieux | Horsephotos

Lys Gracieux (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}), who wrapped 2019 with a trio of Group 1 wins-the June 23 Takarazuka Kinen, Oct. 26 Cox Plate in Australia and Arima Kinen on Dec. 22 back in Japan, was named Japan’s Horse of the Year, as the 2019 champions were announced early Tuesday morning, Nikkan Sports reported. The U Carrot Farm runner also earned the Japanese Champion Older Mare award and beat out 2018 Horse of the Year Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) in both categories. Lys Gracieux will be honored at a retirement ceremony after the final race at Kyoto on Jan. 19.

Trained by Yoshito Yahagi, she began her season with a second in the G2 Kinko Sho at Chukyo in March and was third in Hong Kong’s G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup to 2019 Japanese Champion Older Horse Win Bright (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) on Apr. 28 before her winning spree. Yahagi was also the trainer of record for Shinji Maeda’s undefeated G1 Hopeful S. hero Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who took the juvenile colts’ award.

U Carrot Farm also sent out the Champion Juvenile Filly in Resistencia (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}) from the stable of T. Matsushita. The daughter of Malacostumbrada (Arg) (Lizard Island) capped her flawless season in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies. Katsuhiko Sumii was the trainer of record for U Carrot’s third Japanese champion of 2019 in Champion 3-Year-Old Colt and G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) victor Saturnalia (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}). The colt also saluted in the G2 Kobe Shimbun Hai last fall. Rounding out U Carrot’s quartet of 2019 champions is G1SW Chrysoberyl (Jpn) (Gold Allure {Jpn}). Trained by Hidetaka Otonashi, the unbeaten bay anchored his Champion Dirt Horse title with a win in the G1 Champions Cup on Dec. 1.

Champion older horse Win Bright won four of six starts last year, and in addition to his Queen Elizabeth II Cup exploits, narrowly gained the decision in Sha Tin’s G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup. on Dec. 8 for Win Co. Ltd. and Y. Hatakeyama. Japan’s 2019 Champion Sprinter/Miler also won a brace of top flight races, as Indy Champ (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) was first past the post in both the June 2 Yasuda Kinen and the Mile Championship at Kyoto for Silk Racing Co. Ltd and the aforementioned Otonashi.

Sunday Racing and Kazuo Fujisawa teamed up with champion 3-year-old filly Gran Alegria (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). Third versus males in the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity S. as a 2-year-old, the daughter of Breeders’ Cup Filly Turf heroine Tapitsfly (Tapit) blossomed into a G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) victress, who also stepped up this winter to win the Dec. 21 G2 Hanshin Cup by five lengths. Rounding out the equine awards was the four-for-six steeplechaser Shingun Michael (Jpn) (Shingun Opera {Jpn}) for owner Shigenori Isaka and trainer K. Takaichi.

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