2009 JRA Awards


VODKA CROWNED AGAIN FOR HORSE OF THE YEAR

2009 JRA Award
■RACEHORSES ■TRAINERS & JOCKEYS ■JRA Equine Cultural Award and
  Award of Merit

Japan Racing Association announced today that Vodka was named Horse of the Year for the year of 2009. The Horse of the Year title is the highest honor given to JRA-registered race horses and is selected by the Horse of the Year Selection Committee represented by journalists of various dailies and magazines. Vodka won her title by a comfortable margin with 246 votes of the 287 votes cast and was also unanimously voted Best Older Filly or Mare. Having also won the 2008 Horse of the Year, Vodka became the first female to claim the title twice. She has also won the JRA award in at least one category throughout her career in the past four seasons since 2006. The second-best consideration for the Horse of the Year was Dream Journey, the winner of the Takarazuka Kinen (G1) and the Arima Kinen (G1), gained 26 votes-he won the Best Older Colt or Horse award.

Vodka, the highest earning mare, has always been a record-breaking female since her debut in 2006. After scoring many resounding victories including becoming the first filly to win Japanese Derby in 64 years, Vodka currently has seven grade 1 titles under her belt, which is the highest number for a female. Among her seven G1 victories, six were scored at Tokyo Racecourse including two consecutive Yasuda Kinen titles from 2008 to 2009. Leaving behind many accomplishments, Vodka will be retiring after competing in Dubai in March this year to become a broodmare.

The Special Award this year was given to Company, who became the first-ever in JRA history to score a G1 victory, in his case twice, at the age of eight. In the Tenno Sho Autumn, Company beat the defending champion Vodka and upset the field of top-caliber horses. The Special Award is only given in years when there are candidates, who displayed outstanding performance beyond existing categories. Company was a unanimous choice by the committee.

The winners of all ten awards were won by vote totals exceeding 220, among which Vodka and Apapane secured all 287 votes cast for the Best Older Mare and the Best Two-Year-Old Filly, respectively. Buena Vista, a sensational filly who won two legs of the filly's triple crown races, obtained 286 votes for the Best Three-Year-Old Filly.

Trainer Kazuo Fujisawa, the 12-time winner of the JRA Award for most wins, added another title in two years to his growing list. In September, he became the 13th trainer to reach the milestone of 1,000 wins, making him the fastest and youngest to claim that record in JRA history. Vodka's trainer, Katsuhiko Sumii, also won the Best Trainer Award for training technique. Hidetaka Otonashi, Company's trainer, was the winner of Best Trainer Award for money earned.

Hiroyuki Uchida, the winner of Best Jockey Award for most wins, broke the record of Yasunari Iwata for most mounts earned in a single season and recorded 955 mounts as of December 20. Kohei Matsuyama, who debuted in March 2009, received the Best Newcomer award.

The Equine Culture Award, which recognizes noteworthy achievements and contributions to Japanese equine culture, was presented to "A Social History of Horse Racing 1: The Birth of Japanese Race Tracks and the Flutter of Betting Tickets in the Age of "Civilization and Enlightenment" " by Kenji Tachikawa. The Equine Culture Award of Merit went to Hisae Imai, a well-known horse photographer, who has passed away last February, to honor her devotions and contributions to the equine culture.

Note: All information, including ages and race performances, are as of December 31, 2009, unless otherwise indicated.



HORSE OF THE YEAR and BEST OLDER FILLY OR MARE:

VODKA (JPN)

VODKA (JPN)

5-year-old, mare, bay
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):Tanino Gimlet / Tanino Sister (Rousillon)
Owner:Y. Tanimizu
Breeder:Country Bokujo
Trainer:Katsuhiko Sumii
Wins / Starts in 2009:3 / 7 (including 0/2 overseas)
Career Wins / Starts:10 / 25 (including 0/3 overseas)
Earnings in 2009:¥511,977,800 (including ¥679,800 overseas)
Career Earnings:¥1,333,565,800 (including ¥28,689,800 overseas)
Principal Wins in 2009:Japan Cup (G1), Yasuda Kinen (G1),
Victoria Mile (G1)

Vodka's performance during the 2009 season made her a sure winner of her second consecutive Horse of the Year title after her first in 2008-she was also the uncontested winner for her second title for the Best Older Filly or Mare. She becomes the first filly or mare in JRA history and sixth among both genders to win two successive awards of the top honor while previously claiming JRA awards for Best Two-Year-Old Filly in 2006 and Special Award in 2007.

Video (VODKA):
Japan Cup (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
Yasuda Kinen (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
Victoria Mile (G1 - English) HIGH LOW

Her two unsuccessful starts in Dubai in the beginning of her 2009 campaign did not affect her performance at Tokyo in May, where she bounced back to claim her first grade one title of the year in the Victoria Mile (G1, 1,600m) by an overwhelming 7-length margin. Her total purses from five grade one wins at this stage reached the highest among female runners in JRA history. She then proceeded to defend her title in the Yasuda Kinen (G1, 1,600m) against an international field of top milers and of the opposite sex, establishing a new JRA record of becoming the first filly or mare to reach her sixth career G1 wins while her earnings hit the milestone of one billion yen-also the first among her gender.

Despite coming off two defeats to second and third in the Mainichi Okan (G2, 1,800m) and the Tenno Sho Autumn (G1, 2,000m) respectively-both were won by Company, subsequent winner of the JRA Special Award of the season-her ever-faithful supporters sent her off favorite for the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m). Faced against powerful foes from overseas headed by Conduit, two time Breeders' Cup Turf champion, Vodka did not disappoint and delivered an outstanding performance to become the first Japanese female runner ever to claim the Japan Cup. She concluded her five-year-old season with three G1 titles and seven overall.
Her trainer, Katsuhiko Sumii, announced that she will kick off her six-year-old season in Dubai in March and then retire to stud.

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BEST TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT:

ROSE KINGDOM (JPN)

ROSE KINGDOM (JPN)

2-year-old, colt, dark bay or brown
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):King Kamehameha / Rosebud (Sunday Silence)
Owner:Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder:Northern Farm
Trainer:Kojiro Hashiguchi
Wins / Starts in 2009:3 / 3
Career Wins / Starts:3 / 3
Earnings in 2009:¥103,834,000
Career Earnings:¥103,834,000
Principal Wins in 2009:Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes,
Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes

Rose Kingdom capped off his two-year-old season with a convincing victory in the two-year-old championship grade one event, the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (1,600m), earning him the season's JRA title of Best Two-Year-Old Colt by large majority just two short of the total 287 votes.

Video (ROSE KINGDOM):
Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes
(Japanese)
HIGH LOW
Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes
(Japanese)
HIGH LOW

Rose Kingdom only made his debut in late October but already made a strong impression in his first career start with a sharp turn of speed. He proceeded to capture his first grade race title in his second outing at Tokyo over a 1,800 meter race on turf, then was sent to post first choice for the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes at Nakayama, where he turned in a magnificent performance from racing mid-field and exhibiting his powerful charge at the stretch for the G1 victory.

Sired by King Kamehameha, who won seven out of eight career starts and winner of two G1 titles including the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, 2,400m), Rose Kingdom raises much hope for a successful three-year-old season and the Triple Crown in 2010.

Owner Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. has also had much success during the year with Buena Vista, winner of the Best Three-Year-Old Filly title following her JRA title in 2008 as a two-year-old, Best Older Colt or Horse Dream Journey and Unrivaled, the winner of the 2009 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, 2,000m).

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BEST TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY:

APAPANE (JPN)

APAPANE (JPN)

2-year-old, filly, bay
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):King Kamehameha / Salty Bid (Salt Lake)
Owner:Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Breeder:Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
Trainer:Sakae Kunieda
Wins / Starts in 2009:3 / 4
Career Wins / Starts:3 / 4
Earnings in 2009:¥78,571,000
Career Earnings:¥78,571,000
Principal Wins in 2009:Hanshin Juvenile Fillies

Apapane was a unanimous choice for the 2009 Best Two-Year-Old Filly award for her stellar debut season which included her grade one victory in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (1,600m) in December.

Video (APAPANE):
Hanshin Juvenile Fillies
(Japanese)
HIGH LOW

Debuting in July at Fukushima, the King Kamehameha filly finished third in the race and won her next start at Tokyo following a three month break during the summer. She broke a cource record when winning her next allowance race covering the mile distance in 1:34.5 and was sent to post second choice for the two-year-old fillies' championship race at Hanshin. Breaking from stall 18, Apapane was in full harmony with her rider, Masayoshi Ebina and cleverly made headway between horses from racing mid-field and held off the fierce chase from the late chargers for a 1/2-length victory.

Apapane is said to be focused towards the Oka Sho (G1, Japanese 1000 Guineas, 1,600m) in her coming three-year-old campaign.

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BEST THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT:

LOGI UNIVERSE (JPN)

LOGI UNIVERSE (JPN)

3-year-old, colt, bay
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):Neo Universe / Acoustics (Cape Cross)
Owner:Masaaki Kumeta
Breeder:Northern Farm
Trainer:Kiyoshi Hagiwara
Wins / Starts in 2009:2 / 3
Career Wins / Starts:5 / 6
Earnings in 2009:¥243,039,000
Career Earnings:¥314,991,000
Principal Wins in 2009:Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby),
Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho

Logi Universe justified his status as the three-year-old champion by claiming the 2009 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) and his overall performance during the season earned him 235 votes over his rivals with whom he split the three legs of the Triple Crown, placing him atop the three-year-old colt category of the JRA award.

Video (LOGI UNIVERSE):
Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby)
(English)
HIGH LOW
Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (Japanese) HIGH LOW

Coming off a successful two-year-old campaign during which he scored three wins out of three starts including two grade race titles, the Neo Universe colt was considered one of the top three candidates for the season's three-year-old classics. His win in the Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (Satsuki Sho trial, 2,000m) boosted him to first choice for the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), but a considerably fast pace took too much out of the front runners and Logi Universe, who had been among the leading group, was collared before reaching the last turn and faded to 14th-the race was won by another Neo Universe-sired colt Unrivaled.

However, Logi Universe bounced back in his next start in the Tokyo Yushun, making use of his tremendous stamina that allowed him to dig deep over the wet turf once taking the front at the stretch and drew off to a dominating 4-length victory.

Although sidelined throughout the latter half of the season due to a minor leg problem, his connections hope to keep him in training for 2010 in an effort to seek further success for the talented colt.

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BEST THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY:

BUENA VISTA (JPN)

BUENA VISTA (JPN)

3-year-old, filly, dark bay or brown
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):Special Week / Biwa Heidi (Caerleon)
Owner:Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder:Northern Racing
Trainer:Hiroyoshi Matsuda
Wins / Starts in 2009:3 / 7
Career Wins / Starts:5 / 10
Earnings in 2009:¥431,089,000
Career Earnings:¥499,177,000
Principal Wins in 2009:Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks),
Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas)

Buena Vista continued to excel during her three-year-old season after being named Best Two-Year-Old Filly in 2008 and was only just one short of a unanimous choice for the Best Three-Year-Old Filly title.

Video (BUENA VISTA):
Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks)
(English)
HIGH LOW
Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas)
(Japanese)
HIGH LOW

Kicking off with a win in the Tulip Sho (Oka Sho trial, 1,600m) in March, Buena Vista proceeded to respond well to high expectations in the first two legs of the fillies' version of the triple crown, the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, 2,400m), in which she won by close margins-1/2 length and a nose respectively-against a high quality field of the season's best three-year-old fillies. The Special Week filly scored a second in the Sapporo Kinen (G2, 2,000m) preceding her attempt in the last leg of the triple, the Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m), and just missed claiming all three titles when finishing a mere nose behind her archrival Red Desire, who had succumbed to second place in the first two G1s-Buena Vista was later charged for interference to another rival during the trip and as a result, was demoted to third in the race.

Finishing third in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (G1, 2,200m) in her next start, she was sent favorite in the season's finale, the Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m). Although overtaken in the last strides by Dream Journey, the young filly's performance convinced all that she was well up to taking on the top G1 runners of both gender. She concluded the 2009 season with 3-2-2 out of seven grade race starts and she has never finished out of the money in all ten of her career starts.

She will continue to stay in training for 2010 with a possibility of challenging the Dubai World Cup (UAE G1, AW 2,000m) in March.

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BEST OLDER COLT OR HORSE:

DREAM JOURNEY (JPN)

DREAM JOURNEY (JPN)

5-year-old, horse, bay
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):Stay Gold / Oriental Art (Mejiro McQueen)
Owner:Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder:Shadai Corporation Inc.
Trainer:Yasutoshi Ikee
Wins / Starts in 2009:3 / 8
Career Wins / Starts:9 / 24
Earnings in 2009:¥469,436,000
Career Earnings:¥769,511,000
Principal Wins in 2009:Arima Kinen (G1), Takarazuka Kinen (G1),
Sankei Osaka Hai (G2)

Dream Journey returned to the spotlight this season claiming two major G1 events which earned him his second JRA award following his previous title for Best Two-Year-Old Colt in 2006.

Video (DREAM JOURNEY):
Arima Kinen (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
Takarazuka Kinen (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
Sankei Osaka Hai (Japanese) HIGH LOW

Sired by Stay Gold, a recognized international grade-race winner in the 2001 Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE G2, 2,400m) and the 2001 Hong Kong Vase (HKG G1, 2,400m), Dream Journey took after his father and was both consistent and healthy throughout his career, and though winless in his G1 starts during 2007 and 2008, his ability was never to be underestimated having registered three wins and a third out of 12 grade race starts. Like his father who won his first G1 title in his seven-year-old season, Dream Journey, despite his eye-catching debut season, was low-key during his three-year-old campaign especially with star fillies such as Vodka and Daiwa Scarlet stealing the scene over their male counterparts.

However, his true form finally surfaced in his five-year-old campaign. Coming off a runner-up effort in his second start of the season in the Nakayama Kinen (G2, 1,800m), he picked up his fifth career grade-race title in the Sankei Osaka Hai (G2, 2,000m) and landed his first G1 title in two years in the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m) in June, beating derby winner Deep Sky and Japan Cup winner Screen Hero.

He bested the line-up of fan-selected all-star caliber again in the Arima Kinen holding off race favorite Buena Vista by half a length and concluded his 2009 campaign with three wins two seconds and a third out of eight starts which won him 221 votes for the JRA title.

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BEST SPRINTER OR MILER:

LAUREL GUERREIRO (JPN)

LAUREL GUERREIRO (JPN)

5-year-old, horse, dark bay or brown
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):King Halo / Big Tenby (Tenby)
Owner:Laurel Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder:Murata Bokujo
Trainer:Mitsugu Kon
Wins / Starts in 2009:2 / 7 (including 0/1 overseas)
Career Wins / Starts:5 / 27 (including 0/2 overseas)
Earnings in 2009:¥213,658,000
Career Earnings:¥482,480,000
Principal Wins in 2009:Sprinters Stakes (G1),
Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1)

Laurel Guerreiro captured his long-awaited G1 victory in his fourth season since debuting as a two-year-old in June 2006. The son of King Halo, who captured his first G1 title in the 2009 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1, 1,200m)-his sire also won his first G1 win in the same race as a five-year-old-gave a tremendous performance, making pace from the gate and winning out a fierce rally with 2008 Best Sprinter or Miler Sleepless Night who assumed command at one point at the stretch.

Video (LAUREL GUERREIRO):
Sprinters Stakes (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
Takamatsunomiya Kinen
(G1 - English)
HIGH LOW

His strong will to win was demonstrated again in the Sprinters Stakes (G1, 1,200m)-the sixth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge-in October. Sent to post sixth favorite in a field that included the series champion, Scenic Blast from Australia as well as race favorite UltimaThule and B B Guldan, who had both come off a grade race victory in their previous starts, Laurel Guerreiro was put to the test at the homestretch against B B Guldan who came storming out from mid-field for the duel. After a dramatic finish that determined the winner after deliberate judging by photo, Laurel Guerreiro became the first winner and the third overall since Trot Star in 2001 to win both G1 championships for sprinters in the same season and was selected as the Best Sprinter or Miler with 268 votes.

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BEST DIRT HORSE:

ESPOIR CITY (JPN)

ESPOIR CITY (JPN)

4-year-old, colt, chestnut
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):Gold Allure / Eminent City (Brian's Time)
Owner:Yushun Horse
Breeder:Ikuchise Bokujo
Trainer:Akio Adachi
Wins / Starts in 2009:4 / 6 (including 2/2 in NAR starts)
Career Wins / Starts:9 /17 (including 2/2 in NAR starts)
Earnings in 2009:¥313,369,000 (including ¥110,000,000 in NAR)
Career Earnings:¥390,331,000 (including ¥110,000,000 in NAR)
Principal Wins in 2009:Japan Cup Dirt (G1), March Stakes (G3),
Mile Championship, Nambu Hai, Kashiwa Kinen

Espoir City emerged this season as one of the most promising dirt race specialist to take over from some of the renowned G1 champions that had dominated the dirt titles for the past few seasons.

Video (ESPOIR CITY):
Japan Cup Dirt (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
March Stakes (Japanese) HIGH LOW

Showing great potentials since shifting from turf surfaces in the midst of his debut season as a three-year-old, the son of Gold Allure kicked off his 2009 season with a runner-up effort in the Heian Stakes (G3, dirt 1,800m) which qualified him to run in the following February Stakes (G1, dirt 1,600m)-he finished fourth behind 2008 Japan Dirt Derby winner Success Brocken, globetrotting Casino Drive and two-time Japan Cup Dirt winner Kane Hekili. He then followed up with three consecutive wins which included two NAR starts of grade one status leading up to the Japan Cup Dirt (G1, dirt 1,800m), in which he proved invincible after being pressured to set a solid pace and drew off to a comfortable 3-1/2 length victory.

The chestnut concluded the 2009 season with three G1 titles against the most notable dirt champions and his career score on dirt stands at 8-1-0 out of ten starts.

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BEST STEEPLECHASE HORSE:

KING JOY (JPN)

KING JOY (JPN)

7-year-old, horse, bay
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):Marvelous Sunday / Princess Able (Jade Robbery)
Owner:Takao Matsuoka
Breeder:Kawakami Bokujo
Trainer:Yutaka Masumoto
Wins / Starts in 2009:1 / 4 (steeplechases only)
Career Wins / Starts:5 / 36 (5 / 18 steeplechases)
Earnings in 2009:¥127,656,000 (steeplechases only)
Career Earnings:¥404,949,000 (¥400,699,000 in steeplechases)
Principal Wins in 2009:Nakayama Daishogai

King Joy claimed his second JRA award for Best Steeplechase Horse after successfully defending his title in the Nakayama Daishogai (4,100m). He also finished second in the international invitational, Nakayama Grand Jump (4,250m), which together with the Nakayama Daishogai are the only two steeplechase races of grade one status in Japan.

Video (KING JOY):
Nakayama Daishogai (Japanese) HIGH LOW

The son of Marvelous Sunday began his racing career on the flat but was winless in 18 starts during 2004 and 2005 before shifting to obstacles from his 2006 campaign. Breaking his maiden in his second start over jumps, King Joy progressed well capturing his first graded title in the following year and finishing a close second to Merci A Time, Best Steeplechase Horse of 2007 in the Nakayama Daishogai that year.

With two wins and a second out of three major race starts in 2008, which included his first major title in the Nakayama Daishogai, this time beating Merci A Time and Maruka Rascal, also a JRA award winner of 2006, King Joy was named champion Steeplechase Horse of the 2008 season and continued to prove consistent with a win, a second and two fourth place finishes in 2009.

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SPECIAL AWARD:

COMPANY (JPN)

COMPANY (JPN)

8-year-old, horse, bay
Sire / Dam (Sire of Dam):Miracle Admire / Brilliant Very (Northern Taste)
Owner:Hideko Kondo
Breeder:Hideko Kondo
Trainer:Hidetaka Otonashi
Wins / Starts in 2009:4 / 7
Career Wins / Starts:12 / 35
Earnings in 2009:¥429,836,000
Career Earnings:¥939,698,000
Principal Wins in 2009:Mile Championship (G1), Tenno Sho Autumn (G1), Mainichi Okan (G2), Nakayama Kinen (G2)

Company left a tremendous impact in his last three starts prior to retirement from racing and his history making achievement will be remembered for years to come. At eight years old, the son of Miracle Admire demonstrated his ability against the best runners that have set new records in JRA history, and by doing so, setting a new record of his own. His achievement was well recognized as deserving of the JRA Special Award for 2009.

Video (COMPANY):
Mile Championship (G1 English) HIGH LOW
Tenno Sho Autumn (G1 English) HIGH LOW
Mainichi Okan (Japanese) HIGH LOW
Nakayama Kinen (Japanese) HIGH LOW

Debuting in 2004 as a three-year-old, Company won his first career start and scored two more wins before joining open class and qualifying for the third leg of the triple crown, the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, 3,000m)-he capped off the season with a runner-up effort in the Keihan Hai (G3, 1,800m) against older horses and registered three wins and two seconds out of seven starts.

During his 21 grade-race starts during 2005 through 2008, he scored five titles and proved well up to G1 standards, finishing within fifth place in six out of nine G1 starts-he was also among the first four finishers in the 2008 Tenno Sho Autumn that crossed the wire within the same record time as winner Vodka. However, his last season of his career proved much the best. With a win and a second in his first two starts of his 2009 campaign, Company finished fourth in the Yasuda Kinen and the Takarazuka Kinen before his summer break and returned to the tracks three months later in the Mainichi Okan where he beat heavy favorite, Vodka to a length victory. He repeated the feat again in the Tenno Sho Autumn, while facing not only Vodka but other proven G1 winners that had beaten him before, capturing 2008 Japan Cup winner Screen Hero 200 meters out at the stretch while holding off a fast closing Vodka from behind. The victory, which was Company's first G1 win of his career, marked a JRA record as the first G1 title in flat racing to be won by an eight-year-old runner. He confirmed his status as a G1 winner in his last run of his career in the Mile Championship (G1, 1,600m) and the bay will begin a new career at stud with two history-making G1 to his name.

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BEST TRAINER (RACES WON) and BEST TRAINER (WINNING AVERAGE):

KAZUO FUJISAWA


KAZUO FUJISAWA
Age:58 (September 22, 1951)
Trainer's license:1987
First race:March 12, 1988 (Keiai Power; 3rd)
First win:April 24, 1988 (Galdan)
Principal Wins in 2009:Elm Stakes (G3)
Wins / Starts in 2009 (average):56 / 341 (0.164)
Career Wins / Starts:1,023 / 5,524
Earnings in 2009:¥1,036,279,000

Kazuo Fujisawa landed his 12th national trainer's title with most wins in the season as well as his eighth award for highest winning average.

Recognized as one of the pioneers in the internationalization of Japanese horse racing, Fujisawa, after learning the techniques of thoroughbred training under Prichard Gordon at Newmarket, England, acquired his training license in Japan and already claimed his first JRA award for winning average in 1991. His first grade race winner was Shinko Lovely, who brought him six titles including his first G1 victory in the 1993 Mile Championship. Since then he has accumulated over 80 grade race titles in and outside Japan including his international success with Taiki Shuttle in the 1998 Prix Jacques le Marois (FRA G1,1,600m).

A regular on the national rankings and the most frequent JRA award winner in the trainer's category, Fujisawa was champion trainer in most wins for the first time in 1993, consecutively from 1995 through 2000, missed out on wins but claimed the title for winning average and purses in 2001 and was winningest trainer again for three years running between 2002 and 2004. He won the award for training techniques in 2005, and reclaimed his title for races won in 2007. Fujisawa also dominated all four categories in 1996 and 1997.

His string of JRA award winners include Shinko Lovely (1993 Best Older Filly or Mare), Bubble Gum Fellow (1995 Best Two-Year-Old Colt), Taiki Shuttle (1998 Horse of the Year, Best Older Colt or Horse, Best Sprinter or Miler), Stinger (1998 Best Two-Year Old Filly), Symboli Kris S (2002-2003 Horse of the Year, 2002 Best Three-Year-Old Colt, 2003 Best Older Colt or Horse), Zenno Rob Roy (2004 Horse of the Year, Best Older Colt or Horse), and Dance in the Mood (2004 Best Three-Year-Old Filly, 2006 Best Older Filly or Mare).

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BEST TRAINER (TRAINING TECHNIQUE):

KATSUHIKO SUMII


KATSUHIKO SUMII
Age:45 (March 28, 1964)
Trainer's license:2000
First race:March 11, 2001 (Setono McQueen; 5th)
First win:March 24, 2001 (Sky Andrew)
Principal Wins in 2009:Japan Cup (G1), Yasuda Kinen (G1), Victoria Mile (G1)
Wins / Starts in 2009 (average):47 / 293 (0.160)
Career Wins / Starts:273 / 2,098
Earnings in 2009:¥1,382,773,800

Sumii's continued success again this season with Vodka gained acclaim for his training technique that has been proven effective since his first big break in 2005.

Sumii worked for three years on a breeding farm in Hokkaido before becoming an assistant trainer for Kentaro Nakao's yard in 1986, then he later worked for Kunihide Matsuda, trainer of 2008 Arima Kinen champion filly, Daiwa Scarlet. Sumii set up a training stable after acquiring his training license in 2000.

He saddled his first grade-race winner in 2002 in the Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes (Blue Eleven), and then Delta Blues gave him his first G1 and classic title in the 2004 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger).

Sumii's number of career grade-race titles soared from three to 14 by the end of 2005, including two G1 wins overseas and three GI victories in Japan. His name quickly spread internationally as he became the first Japanese trainer to saddle a Japanese bred/trained G1 winner in the U.S. with Cesario (USA G1, American Oaks, 2,000m), and then captured the 2005 Hong Kong Mile (HKG G1, 1,600m) with Hat Trick and the first two placings in the 2006 Melbourne Cup (AUS G1, 3,200m) with Delta Blues and Pop Rock, respectively.
He won the JRA Award for Most Money Earned in 2005 and 2008.

Vodka's success since her debut in 2006 is no doubt a product of Sumii's outstanding training methods, but his patience and devotion in bringing back dirt champion Kane Hekili from a serious tendon injury to winning his second Japan Cup Dirt title in 2008 speaks for itself.

JRA Award winners trained by Sumii include Delta Blues (2004 Best Horse by Home-Bred Sire), Cesario (2005 Best Three-Year-Old Filly, Best Horse by Home-Bred Sire), Hat Trick (2005, Best Sprinter or Miler), Kane Hekili (2005 Best Dirt Horse, 2008 Best Dirt Horse), Vodka (2006 Best Two-Year-Old Filly, 2007 Special Award, 2008 Horse of the Year, Best Older Filly Mare, 2009 Horse of the Year, Best Older Filly or Mare), and Tall Poppy (2007 Best Two-Year-Old Filly).


BEST TRAINER (MONEY EARNED):

HIDETAKA OTONASHI


HIDETAKA OTONASHI
Age:55 (June 10, 1954)
Trainer's license:1995
First race:June 24, 1995 (Key Pegasus; 11th)
First win:July 23, 1995 (Inazuma Taka O)
Principal Wins in 2009:Mile Championship (G1), Tenno Sho Autumn (G1),Kyoto Daishoten (G2), Mainichi Okan (G2), Nakayama Kinen (G2)
Wins / Starts in 2009 (average):45 / 321 (0.140)
Career Wins / Starts:418 / 3,264
Earnings in 2009:¥1,507,875,000

Hidetaka Otonashi won his second JRA Award for outstanding trainers of the season after claiming his first title for Best Training Techniques in 2004.

Otonashi's efforts as a trainer made a major breakthrough in 2004 during which the number of wins doubled to his personal best and he has consistently remained among the top trainers in recent years, perfecting his strategy of rotating horses between his yard and affiliated training farms according to their race program. He proceeded to become a G1 trainer when capturing his first G1 title in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen with Orewa Matteruze in 2006. Since then, he has saddled six G1 winners including two triple crown titles with Victory (2007 Satsuki Sho) and Oken Bruce Lee (2008 Kikuka Sho).

Major contribution to Otonashi's success during 2009 was made by Company who brought him two G1 titles in the Tenno Sho Autumn and the Mile Championship, while Oken Bruce Lee, Zarema and Bravo Daisy also added to make a total of seven grade-race victories for the Miyazaki native.

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BEST JOCKEY (RACES WON):

HIROYUKI UCHIDA


HIROYUKI UCHIDA
Age:39 (July 26, 1970)
Jockey's License:2008
First race:July 25, 1993 (Wakaba Tosho; 5th)*
First win:April 21, 2002 (Il Lago)*
Principal Wins in 2009:February Stakes (G1), Kyoto Daishoten (G2),
Keisei Hai Autumn Handicap (G3), Queen Cup (G3)
Wins / Starts in 2009 (average):153 / 1,024 (0.1494)
Career Wins / Starts:419 / 3,163
Earnings in 2009:¥2,897,963,000

* raced in JRA races under NAR jockey license

Putting behind him the NAR top jockey status to transfer to the JRA in 2008, Uchida has diligently accumulated starts and wins, and led the champion jockey list for the first time while putting a stop to Yutaka Take's champion jockey seven-year streak (18 times overall). Uchida also set a JRA record of most mounts in a single season and became the only JRA jockey to have reached the 1,000th mark.

Born and raised in Fukuoka, Uchida began his career as a jockey in the National Association of Racing (NAR) in April 1989 and marked his first victory a month later. He marked 385 wins to achieve the leading jockey title for the first time in 2004. In 2005, Uchida tried out his talent overseas and finished sixth in the Dubai World Cup with Adjudi Mitsuo. Including his wins in JRA, he achieved more than 400 wins for three consecutive years and set a record of 524 annual wins in 2006. He was the leading NAR jockey for four seasons from 2004 and landed his 3,000th NAR career win in 2007. His wins exceeding 120 in JRA races while still registered as an NAR jockey include five grade-race titles-his first being the Kyodo News Service Hai (G3, 1,800m) in 2003 and his G1 title in the NHK Mile Cup in 2007.

Uchida transferred to the JRA on March 1st 2008 and marked his first win as a JRA jockey in his first race that day. His first graded race victory was with Red Agate in the Floral Stakes and he added another three grade-race titles, which included two G1 wins, the Takarazuka Kinen with Eishin Deputy and the Kikuka Sho with Oken Bruce Lee in 2008. He concluded his debut season with great success, finishing second on the leading jockey list with 123 wins. Among the six grade-race titles he claimed in 2009 are the February Stakes with Success Brocken, and the Kyoto Daishoten with Oken Bruce Lee.

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BEST JOCKEY (WINNING AVERAGE):

KATSUMI ANDO


KATSUMI ANDO
Age:49 (March 28, 1960)
Jockey's License:2003
First race:May 11, 1980 (Yamaninsky, 1st)*
First win:May 11, 1980 (Yamaninsky, 1st)*
Principal Wins in 2009:Tokyo Chunichi Sports Hai Musashino Stakes (G3), Keenland Cup (G3),
Hankyu Hai (G3), Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks),
Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas)
Wins / Starts in 2009:92 / 426 (0.2160)
Career Wins / Starts:1,047 / 6,014
Earnings in 2009:¥2,099,435,000

* raced in JRA races under NAR jockey license

The JRA Award for highest winning average is the second for Katsumi Ando who won his first honor of the same category in 2007.

His 92 wins out of 426 mounts during 2009 include two grade one titles won with Buena Vista and four other grade-race victories with Buena Vista, B B Guldan and Wonder Acute adding up to make a total of 68 career grade-race titles.

Katsumi Ando began his career riding in the NAR regional public races at Kasamatsu at the young age of 16, acquiring his jockey's license in September 1976. Already a leading jockey in his third season, Ando was an uncontested champion for 18 years at Kasamatsu with over 100 wins every year which led to a total of 3,299 wins before transferring to JRA in 2003.

Even before his renewed career as a JRA jockey, Ando's first taste of victory in the JRA came in 1980 when he won his first ride in JRA's invitational race with Yamaninsky and had collected 10 grade-race titles in JRA between 1995 and 2002, while still registered as a NAR jockey.

Since his JRA debut in 2003, he has gained recognition as one of the most reliable riders with remarkable riding skills, capturing major G1 victories from his first year as a JRA jockey that amount to 20 in total as of the end of the 2009 season.

He shared great success with Daiwa Major and his sister, the reigning diva, Daiwa Scarlet who combined to give Ando eight G1 titles between 2006 and 2008. The two also contributed in giving him a remarkable winning average of 0.2637 during 2007 that led to Ando's first Best Jockey (winning average) Award.

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BEST JOCKEY (MONEY EARNED):

YUTAKA TAKE


YUTAKA TAKE
Age:40 (March 15, 1969)
Jockey's License:1987
First race:March 1, 1987 (Agnes Dictor; 2nd)
First win:March 7, 1987 (Dyna Bishop)
Principal Wins in 2009:Yasuda Kinen (G1), Victoria Mile (G1),
Procyon Stakes (G3), Kisaragi Sho (G3),
Kyodo News Service Hai (G3), Kyoto Himba Stakes (G3)
Wins / Starts in 2009 (average):147 / 801 (0.1835)
Career Wins / Starts:3,440 / 16,429
Earnings in 2009:¥3,015,176,800

Yutaka Take celebrated his 3,300th career win in December 2009, and with his Victoria Mile victory in May, he reached a significant milestone by scoring a G1 win for 22 consecutive years, an amazing record he has set in his 23-year career.

Take rode his first winner in his debut year in 1987, when he scored 69 wins and was Japan's champion apprentice. He has and continues to renew practically every record available along with what he himself has set, not to mention the 2005 record of 212 wins in a single season. He has also reigned as leading jockey for 18 years, including nine consecutive years from 1992 to 2000, and seven from 2002 to 2008. Take also claimed the jockey's Grand Prize-awarded only to those who have claimed all three categories given to jockeys-nine times during 1997-2000, and 2002-2006. He has enjoyed successful riding spells around the world and has achieved grade-race wins in France, England, the United States, Dubai and Hong Kong.

One of the highlights of his glorious career would be his Triple Crown (Satsuki Sho, Tokyo Yushun, and Kikuka Sho) title on the legendary colt Deep Impact, the horse that also won him his second Japan Cup in 2006-his first Japan Cup win was with Special Week in 1999. In 2007, the star jockey's career was highlighted by another extraordinary feat as Take, at 38, broke another JRA record for most career victories-2,944 wins. To this day, he is continuing to extend the record.

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BEST STEEPLECHASE JOCKEY:

YUSUKE IGARASHI


YUSUKE IGARASHI
Age:25 (February 16, 1984)
Jockey's License:2002
First race:March 3, 2002 (Yoichi Kinako; 8th)
First win:April 28, 2002 (Rabbit Millennium)
Principal Wins in 2009:Niigata Jump Stakes
Wins / Starts in 2009:14 / 76 (steeplechases only)
Career Wins / Starts:30 / 350 (steeplechases only)
Earnings in 2009:¥223,942,000 (steeplechases only)

Yusuke Igarashi claimed the Best Steeplechase Jockey award of 2009 with 14 wins out of 76 mounts over obstacles including his second major steeplechase title of grade-race status. His mounts that contributed to his score include Erimo Maxim (2-0-1 out of five starts) with whom he won the Nigata Jump Stakes.

Debuting in 2002, Igarashi began his jockey career under trainer Yasuo Sugawara and scored 12 wins out of 212 mounts on the flat while registering one win out of 23 over obstacles that year.

While continuing to ride on the flat, Igarashi began do devote more of his rides over obstacles from 2007, during which he captured his first major title with Best Grand Cha in the Tokyo Autumn Jump (3,300m), and more than doubled his win in 2009.

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BEST JOCKEY (NEWCOMER):

KOHEI MATSUYAMA


KOHEI MATSUYAMA
Age:19 (March 1, 1990)
Jockey's License:2009
First race:March 1, 2009 (Tomiken Primary; 1st)
First win:March 1, 2009 (Tomiken Primary)
Principal Wins in 2009:Hakodate Nisai Stakes
Wins / Starts in 2009:36 / 553
Career Wins / Starts:36 / 553
Earnings in 2009:¥438,894,000**

Kohei Matsuyama won his debut race on March 1, 2009 on his 19th birthday and scored his second win on the same day-only the second JRA jockey school graduate to win two since Yuichi Fukunaga in 1996.

Born in Hyogo Prefecture, Matsuyama was a member of the junior equestrian team at Hanshin Racecourse before enrolling at JRA's jockey school. He is currently riding under trainer Kaneo Ikezoe of Ritto and aspires to become a jockey like Yuichi Fukunaga and Kenichi Ikezoe.

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JRA Equine Cultural Award and Award of Merit

Nominees for the 2009 JRA Equine Cultural Award included publications, cultural events and art exhibitions that were either published or held between November 2008 and October 2009. A committee of journalists and other distinguished people from academic and artistic fields chose three finalists for further screening. In the end, they awarded the JRA Equine Cultural Award to a publication entitled "A Social History of Horse Racing 1: The Birth of Japanese Race Tracks and the Flutter of Betting Tickets in the Age of "Civilization and Enlightenment" " which provides an innovative theory-based approach on the history of racing and its role in the cultural development in modern Japan.

Also a special Award of Merit was given to the late Ms. Hisae Imai, a well recognized photographer known for her outstanding works involving horses that had won her many awards both within Japan and overseas but passed away in February 2009. Her artwork conveyed the beauty and the excitement of horses and horses in the sport of horseracing and was instrumental in the growing acceptance of the racing sport as much more than a form of gambling.

Cultural Award

"A Social History of Horse Racing 1: The Birth of Japanese Race Tracks and the Flutter of Betting Tickets in the Age of "Civilization and Enlightenment" by Kenji Tachikawa

"A Social History of Horse Racing 1: The Birth of Japanese Race Tracks and the Flutter of Betting Tickets in the Age of "Civilization and Enlightenment"" is a history book of Japan during the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate into the Meiji Period centered on the Western horseracing which was one of the "Cultural Enlightenment" introduced into Yokohama at the time. The new idea of horse racing as a sport, a social circle, an amusement place of gambling and exposition, quickly penetrated major cities such as Tokyo and Kobe, and the racecourse served as a place for international interaction, portraying one of the glamorous aspects of the Meiji period.

The book is an absorbing read which introduces in detail the legendary racehorses of the ages in photographs and documents, while providing an interesting theory on the close relationship between horse racing and the lavish women-oriented society in the course of the flourishing era.

Kenji Tachikawa

Birth: Saga Prefecture, 1950
Position: Professor at Toyama University, Faculty of Humanities (History of Modern Japan)
Education: Master's Degree, Faculty of Letters, Kyoto University

Award of Merit

Hisae Imai (Photographer)

Hisae Imai (1931-2009) was chosen for JRA Award of Merit for her achievement and devotion to her work specializing in photography of horses.

Even in the ages when horse racing was recognized to the general more for its gambling side, Imai's artistic depiction of horses in racing as well as in their natural state in pastures contributed in providing a whole new perception towards the equine culture and thoroughbred racing.

A graduate from Bunka Gakuin (Fine Arts Dept.) in 1952, Imai established herself as a popular photographer and was chosen as one of the "Great Print Makers of Today" by Time-Life in 1969 before her encounter with Nijinsky at Royal Ascot in 1970 that was to be the turning point of her career in photography-choosing horses the object of her photography for the rest of her life.

Her work was well recognized and won her numerous awards over the years-both in Japan and in Europe and USA-and was selected "The Greatest Photographers of the 20th Century" in 1978.

Imai also received a special award from the JRA for her contribution to JRA's 50th Anniversary Event in 2004.

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Results of the 2009 JRA Awards (Total Votes: 287)

Horse of the Year
Place Horse Votes
1 Vodka (JPN) 246
2 Dream Journey (JPN) 26
3 Company (JPN) 7
4 Buena Vista (JPN) 6
5 Espoir City (JPN) 2
Total   287

 
Best Older Colt / Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Dream Journey (JPN) 221
2 Company (JPN) 65
3 Espoir City (JPN) 1
Total   287
Best Two-Year-Old Colt
Place Horse Votes
1 Rose Kingdom (JPN) 285
2 Victoire Pisa (JPN) 2
Total   287

Best Older Filly / Mare
Place Horse Votes
1 Vodka (JPN) 287
Total   287

Best Two-Year-Old Filly
Place Horse Votes
1 Apapane (JPN) 287
Total   287
Best Sprinter or Miler
Place Horse Votes
1 Laurel Guerreiro (JPN) 268
2 Company (JPN) 13
3 Vodka (JPN) 6
Total   287

Best Three-Year-Old Colt
Place Horse Votes
1 Logi Universe (JPN) 235
2 Unrivaled (JPN) 6
3 Three Rolls (JPN) 3
4 Forgettable (JPN) 1
  None Eligible 42
Total   287

Best Dirt Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Espoir City (JPN) 263
2 Success Brocken (JPN) 23
3 Vermilion (JPN) 1
Total   287
Best Three-Year-Old Filly
Place Horse Votes
1 Buena Vista (JPN) 286
2 Red Desire (JPN) 1
Total   287
Best Steeplechase Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 King Joy (JPN) 273
2 Spring Ghent (JPN) 4
  None Eligible 10
Total   287

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