Taking Stock: U.S. Climate for Yoshida May Be Ripe

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Yoshida (Jpn) | Sarah Andrew

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There’s been a lot of news lately about the exportation of U.S. stallions and stallion prospects, most notably the sale of Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) to Japan, which is also where another Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}), and potential Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) will stand in 2020. Traffic between the U.S. and Japan usually flows one way, but lately there have been some exceptions.

Juddmonte’s Empire Maker (Unbridled), for instance, was sold to Japan after beginning his career in Kentucky and, after five seasons there, was repatriated to Gainesway, where his first crop of 2-year-olds since his return includes Grade l winner Eight Rings. Karakontie (Jpn) (Bernstein), whose dam is a Japanese-bred daughter of Sunday Silence and a granddaughter of Miesque, is also at Gainesway, and this European Guineas and Gl Breeders’ Cup Mile winner is represented by three black-type winners in his first crop of 2-year-olds this year. Werk Thoroughbred Consultants’ bloodstock editor Frances J. Karon recently wrote about his success here. Karakontie is bred on the same Storm Cat/Sunday Silence cross as Charles Fipke’s Darby Dan-based Grade I winner Tale of Ekati (Tale of the Cat), whose dam is also a Japanese-bred daughter of Sunday Silence.

The Sunday Silence male line will be represented by its most viable prospect in the U.S. next year when WinStar’s Yoshida (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}) begins stud duty for a $20,000 fee. A few Sunday Silence stallions, such as Hat Trick (Jpn) for one, have made their way to North America in the past, but Yoshida is the first stallion prospect of the line to have won at the Grade l level here, and it’s notable that his dam is U.S. Grade I winner Hilda’s Passion (Canadian Frontier), who was purchased for $1,225,000 by Katsumi Yoshida of Northern Farm at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale.

Bred by Northern Farm, Yoshida was purchased by WinStar as a yearling in 2015 for the equivalent of $765,000 at the Japan Racing Horse Association Sale, when WinStar’s Elliott Walden and SF Bloodstock’s Tom Ryan ventured there to buy five head for a partnership that also included the China Horse Club.

Heart’s Cry stands at the Yoshida brothers’ Shadai Stallion Station and is the second-best son of Sunday Silence at stud, after Shadai’s breed-shaping Deep Impact (Jpn), who died earlier this year and who was to his sire what Galileo is to Sadler’s Wells.

Trained by Bill Mott, Yoshida is a winner of five of 18 starts and $2,505,770. Although winless in six starts in 2019, last year he won the GI Woodward S. on dirt at nine furlongs at Saratoga and the GI Old Forester Turf Classic S. at the same distance on turf at Churchill Downs. He brings a degree of versatility that will be appealing to breeders and yearling buyers as turf racing continues to gain in opportunity and stature here while dirt remains the arena for Classic competition. His sire has also been in the news this year with recent G1 Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux and G1 Japan Cup winner Suave Richard, and he will stand in 2020 for ¥10 million, or about the equivalent of $92,000. He is the second-most expensive sire at Shadai behind Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}), who stands for ¥20 million (~$184,000), and is second on the general sire list in Japan behind only Deep Impact.

Unbridled’s Song mares

While Empire Maker wasn’t successful as a sire in Japan–which is the reason Don Alberto and Gainesway were able to bring him back to Kentucky–another son of Unbridled, Unbridled’s Song, is making a mark despite never having stood there. With limited opportunity, Unbridled’s Song is proving to be quite successful as a broodmare sire in Japan, particularly in combination with Deep Impact, and this is possibly instructive for planning matings with Yoshida.

Unbridled’s Song is a fabulous broodmare sire in the U.S.–he’s number one on the list for 2019–and is well represented in the mare population here. Frequently a sire will collapse in a foreign environment because the mare population doesn’t suit the horse, but the emerging cross of Deep Impact/Unbridled’s Song, if projected as a larger Sunday Silence and sons/Unbridled’s Song cross, suggests that Yoshida could have a running head start with Unbridled’s Song-line mares. In fact, Heart’s Cry’s recent Japan Cup winner Suave Richard is from an Unbridled’s Song mare, and Suave Richard is one of two black-type winners by Heart’s Cry from seven Unbridled’s Song mares that have produced 10 foals by the stallion.

The success of Deep Impact/Unbridled’s Song is even more acute and multi-generational, and I’ve documented it in a series of tweets over the last few weeks from my Twitter account @sidfernando, which is private and not widely accessible. Therefore, I am reproducing below in the original Twitter shorthand and without edits these tweets in chronological order from 11/16/19, after 2-year-old Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact–Rhodochrosite, by Unbridled’s Song) won the G3 Tokyo Sports Hai, to illustrate this emerging cross in narrative form.

  • “Koji Maeda bought the dam for $385,000 at Kee Sept 2011. Mare was placed in seven starts.”
  • “Earlier, Deep Impact combined with Unbridled’s Song to produce G1 2yo winner Danon Platina, who was bred by Masatake Iida’s Chiyoda Farm Shizunai. The US mare, Badeelah, was purchased by Nobu Araki’s Kentucky-based Polo Green for $32k and was unraced.”
  • “Deep Impact is also the sire of current 2yo G3 winner Ria Amelia, who is out of Ria Antonia–a daughter of Rockport Harbor, a son of Unbridled’s Song. GI winner Ria Antonia was purchased by Katsumi Yoshida for $1.8m at FT Nov.”
  • “So, let me come full circle to the Maeda operation. A few years ago, they bred the 2yo Deep Impact G3 winner Blanc Bonheur, who was from a Sakura Bakushin O mare. However, the second dam, Asian Meteor, was a full sister to Unbridled’s Song.”
  • “And let me add that Deep Impact is also the sire of the current 2yo G2 winner Red Bel Jour, who is also out of an Unbridled’s Song mare. That mare, Red Fantasia, was a $250k Kee Sept yearling who was purchased by Nobutaka Tada and was placed in nine starts.”
  • “So, to recap, there are two current Japanese 2yo graded winners by Deep Impact from Unbridled’s Song mares and one current Deep Impact 2yo graded winner from a granddaughter of Unbridled’s Song, and there’s a prior G1 winner on the cross, too.”
  • “Btw, it’s not just Deep Impact that’s had success in Japan with Unbridled’s Song. The Sunday Silence sons Special Week and Heart’s Cry, in addition to Deep Impact, have sired G1 winners from Unbridled’s Song mares.”
  • “And, coming back to the Maeda operation again, they bred current 2yo G3 winner Bien Fait, who is by the Deep Impact horse Kizuna (who they bred) and has that full sister to Unbridled’s Song as his second dam.”
  • “For breeders thinking about Yoshida (by Heart’s Cry), an Unbridled’s Song mare wouldn’t be a bad option lol.”

A week later, Suave Richard won the Japan Cup to put an exclamation mark on that last tweet.

This Sunday, the aforementioned Ria Amelia will contest the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies as the heavy favorite. Her main competition figures to come from another undefeated Group 3-winning filly, Woman’s Heart (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry–Lady of Persia {Jpn}, by Shamardal). If either wins, it will be impactful for Yoshida, who has a chance to ignite a U.S. branch of the sire line of one of our greatest exports.

Sid Fernando is president and CEO of Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, Inc., originator of the Werk Nick Rating and eNicks.

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