Shadai Sire Power

Story and photos by Michele MacDonald 
While America's long wait for a Triple Crown champion has spanned nearly four fruitless decades, Japan has produced a pair of outstanding runners talented enough to sweep all three of that nation's Classic races within the last ten years, and both now stand at the Shadai Stallion Station to great demand. 
The flashy chestnut Orfevre (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}), a grandson of Sunday Silence who captured the Triple Crown in 2011 and finished second in the last two runnings of the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, took up residence at Japan's top stud this winter. He joined Deep Impact (Jpn) (Sunday Silence), who won the Triple Crown in 2005 and who now ranks as Japan's– 
and the world's–leading sire by progeny earnings with over $34 million in 2014 to date. 
While Shadai officials did not provide the exact number of mares in their books this season, each was said to have covered 200 or more, helping to ensure that the incomparable legacy of Sunday Silence will live on for many years to come. 
“He is so, so popular,” said Teruya Yoshida–who operates the Shadai Stallion Station with his brothers Katsumi and Haruya–of Orfevre, who has drawn mares of such good quality in his initial season at stud that “we feel very optimistic about his future.” Orfevre stands for a fee of ¥6 million (roughly $60,000). 
Yoshida said Orfevre is a strong horse who proved, like other offspring of Stay Gold, that he could handle heavy ground, giving him another dimension compared to many of Japan's stallions whose offspring often race their best on firm turf. 
Orfevre's 2014 book includes Biwa Heidi (Jpn) (Caerleon), the dam of champion Buena Vista (Jpn) (Special Week {Jpn}), and French Group 1 winner Reve d'Oscar (Fr) (Highest Honor {Fr}). 
Meanwhile, Deep Impact continues to embellish what has been a superlative record, leading all Japanese sires over the last three years since the time his oldest runners were four, and adding another Classic winner to his resume this year in the form of G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner Harp Star (Jpn). He stands for the highest fee in Japan and one of the world's highest, commanding ¥20 million (roughly $200,000). 
Deep Impact receives the very best mares of Japan, with his book this season including American Horse of the Year Azeri (Jade Hunter) for the third consecutive year; champion Stacelita (Fr) (Monsun {Ger}) and Grade I winners Contested (Ghostzapper), Diamondrella (GB) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}) and Weemissfrankie (Sunriver) and In Lingerie (Empire Maker). 
Yet, remarkably, in view of the size of their books, Deep Impact and Orfevre have no shortage of high-powered competition in the mission to further extend Sunday Silence's influence. Orfevre's sire Stay Gold (Jpn) (Sunday Silence)–who stood this season at the Breeders Stallion Station and who also counts champion filly Red Reveur (Jpn), dual Classic winner Gold Ship (Jpn) and another Arc runner-up, Japanese champion Nakayama Festa (Jpn), among his best offspring–has become a major force in his own right. Stay Gold has 134 yearlings of 2014, according to Japanese stud book records, and is patronized by the Yoshida brothers among many others. 
Amongst the other stallions standing at Shadai Stallion Station are Heart's Cry (Jpn) (Sunday Silence), who has stormed to prominence in 2014 as the sire of record-breaking G1 Dubai Duty Free winner Just a Way (Jpn)–the highest-rated horse on the World's Best Racehorse Rankings–G1 Tokyo Yushun winner One and Only (Jpn) and G1 Yushun Himba winner Nuovo Record (Jpn). With such luminaries to his credit, Heart's Cry also drew around 200 mares this year; 
Former Japanese leading sire Manhattan Cafe (Sunday Silence); Gold Allure (Sunday Silence) and Neo Universe (Sunday Silence), all of whom currently rank among the top 12 Japanese sires. 
Leading freshmen sires of 2011 and 2009, respectively, Daiwa Major (Sunday Silence) and Zenno Rob Roy (Sunday Silence), who currently rank fifth and 12th, respectively, on Japan's general sire list; 
Neo Universe's Dubai World Cup-winning son Victoire Pisa (Jpn) and Deep Impact's Derby-winning son Deep Brillante (Jpn). 
“Deep Impact still gets the best mares,” noted Yoshida. “But it is not as easy as before for him. Stay Gold and Heart's Cry may not have as many good mares, but their offspring are coming up.” 
With so much Sunday Silence blood, Shadai also continues to add stallions to its roster from other lines in order to diversify. This year, first-season stallion Novellist (Ire) (Monsun {Ger}), the 2013 German Horse of the Year and multiple European Group 1 winner, drew about 130 mares while standing for ¥4 million (roughly $40,000). 
Another first-season stallion, two-time Japanese champion sprinter/miler Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}), covered about 200 mares, according to Shadai officials, while standing for ¥5 million (about $50,000). 
King Kamehameha (Jpn), who led all Japanese sires in 2010 and 2011 and currently stands for ¥8 million (roughly $80,000), was among nine Shadai stallions– topped by Deep Impact–whose books were listed as full in 2014, with that group also including Gold Allure, Deep Brillante, Rulership (Jpn) (King Kamehameha) and another first-year stallion, 2010 Japanese Derby winner Eishin Flash (Jpn) (King's Best). 

The Battle Continues With War Emblem… 
Another breeding season has passed in which GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. winner War Emblem (Our Emblem) failed to cover any mares at the Shadai Stallion Station in Japan. 
Despite the now 15-year-old's disappointing disinterest in breeding, however, Shadai officials have no plans to call an end to his puzzling stud career. Instead, they continue to leave their options open as War Emblem lives a life of leisure in a barn surrounded by mares. 
“He has a big paddock from which he can see the mares, and he enjoys that,” said Dr. Nobuo Tsunoda, a veterinarian who oversees the Shadai stallions. 
Teruya Yoshida said War Emblem will remain at the stud. 
“He has had small numbers in his crops, but he has sired some very good runners,” Yoshida noted. “He will stay at the Shadai Stallion Station–that is the only thing we can do. We have had some inquiries from America, but we just decided to keep the horse.” 
Since his first crop was born in 2004, consisting of only four foals, War Emblem has sired a total of 104 registered offspring. Among his best runners is 2008 G1 Shuka Sho winner Black Emblem (Jpn), who has produced two winners as a broodmare including recent impressive juvenile colt Bright Emblem (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}). 
War Emblem's best racing progeny also include 2012 G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies winner Robe Tissage (Jpn); Group 2 winner Civil War (Jpn) and Group 3 winners King's Emblem (Jpn), War Tactics (Jpn), Improvise (Jpn) and Flame of Peace (Jpn). Overall, Japanese databases credit him with the winners of 70 races who have earned over ¥2.7 billion (more than $27.1 million). 
While officials have described War Emblem as fertile, they say he often has no interest in covering mares, even though in the past he was given his choice of in-season mares and placed in an environment in which he would feel no competition from other stallions. 
His most productive season as a stallion occurred in 2009, after he received treatment from a number of equine specialists and sired 43 registered foals. He followed that season with four foals of 2011, 13 of 2012 and then none in 2013 or 2014.

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