2010 JRA Awards


BUENA VISTA CROWNED JRA'S HORSE OF THE YEAR

2010 JRA Award
■RACEHORSES ■TRAINERS & JOCKEYS ■JRA EQUINE CULTURE AWARD

Buena Vista, capping off an outstanding year of thoroughbred racing, was the overwhelming selection as the Japan Racing Association (JRA) Horse of the Year in 2010. Named as the top runner in 211 of 285 ballots cast by racing journalists, the Special Week filly was picked on the strength of two G1 titles and close runner-up efforts in four other G1 starts.

This marks the remarkable filly's third consecutive award-winning year, following Best Two-Year-Old Filly in 2008 and Best Three-Year-Old Filly in 2009. This year she boosted her career earnings beyond one billion yen (about 13.6 million USD), as well as replaced Vodka as Japan's all-time single-season leader in earnings by a filly or mare. After providing convincing evidence of her superiority over the JRA's best thoroughbreds of any age or gender, Buena Vista's vote total widely outdistanced Apapane, winner of all three triple crown G1 starts for fillies, and Arima Kinen (G1) winner Victoire Pisa, who earned 41 and 28 votes respectively. Buena Vista is the fourth filly/mare to be named Horse of the Year, following Tomei (1971), Air Groove (1997) and Vodka (2008 and 2009). She also was presented this year's Best Older Filly or Mare award by a unanimous decision.

Eight out of ten awards to horses were won by vote totals exceeding 200. Apapane, the Best Three-Year-Old Filly, was just one ballot short of a unanimous decision, the lone vote going to British–Irish Oaks winner Snow Fairy (IRE) from Britain, who defeated Apapane in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (G1). Victoire Pisa carried home the Best Three-Year-Old Colt award with a decisive victory in the Arima Kinen, amassing 280 votes despite a strong group of three-year-old colts that included Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1) winner Eishin Flash and Japan Cup (G1) winner Rose Kingdom.

Hidetaka Otonashi claimed Best Trainer (Races Won) with a personal best in victories during his 16th year, after finishing second once and third three times since 2004. Victoire Pisa trainer Katsutoshi Sumii, who continued to collect G1 titles despite the retirement of two-time Horse of the Year Vodka, won his third JRA award for Best Trainer (Money Earned), following 2005 and 2008. Sumii's output of high-quality runners also earned him a second-consecutive Best Trainer (Training Technique). Yasutoshi Ikee won his second Best Trainer (Winning Average) award, which he also earned in 2006.

Jockey Hiroyuki Uchida, who captured a much-desired Derby win in the Tokyo Yushun, defended his 2009 title as the JRA's Best Jockey (Races Won). Norihiro Yokoyama, who made a strong start but then suffered a serious skull fracture that nearly ended his career in September, recovered miraculously to nearly capture the wins title, but still easily won Best Jockey (Winning Average), his much-anticipated first JRA award. Masayoshi Ebina, enjoying one of his best seasons by partnering with Best Older Colt or Horse Nakayama Festa to a runner-up effort in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) and Best Three-Year-Old Filly Apapane in a triple crown victory, claimed his second Best Jockey (Money Earned) award, following 2001.

The Equine Culture Award, which recognizes noteworthy achievements and contributions to Japanese equine culture, was presented to "Chance," a television drama about a woman who sees her successful career vanish, but then finds the hope and strength to rebuild her life as a result of encountering the behind-the-scenes world of horse racing, which becomes her newfound passion in life.

Note: All information, including ages and race performances, are as of December 31, 2010, unless otherwise indicated.
Wins and earnings figures include NAR and overseas starts designated by the JRA for consideration in award voting.



HORSE OF THE YEAR and BEST OLDER FILLY OR MARE:

BUENA VISTA (JPN)

BUENA VISTA (JPN)

4-year-old, filly, dark bay or brown
Sire / Dam: Special Week / Biwa Heidi
(Sire of Dam): (Caerleon)
Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder: Northern Racing
Trainer: Hiroyoshi Matsuda
Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
Wins / Starts in 2010: 3 / 7
Career Wins / Starts: 8 / 17
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 615,172,700
Career Earnings: ¥ 1,114,349,700
Principal Wins in 2010: Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1)
Victoria Mile (G1)

Buena Vista, formerly the JRA's 2008 Best Two-Year-Old Filly and 2009 Best Three-Year-Old Filly, lived up to her lofty reputation by bagging not one but two more awards in 2010 — Horse of the Year and Best Older Filly or Mare. The Special Week filly decorated her 2010 campaign by capturing one G2 and two G1 titles, plus a runner-up effort in her first overseas campaign in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1, 2,410m) and second-place finishes in three of Japan's toughest G1 events.

Video (BUENA VISTA):
Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
Victoria Mile (G1 - English) HIGH LOW

After breaking her maiden in 2008, Buena Vista immediately landed her first G1 win in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (1,600m), and then won both the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, 1,600m) and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, 2,400m). In the Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m), however, she finished third (demoted from second) to Red Desire (F4, by Manhattan Cafe), the runner-up in both three-year-old filly classics. Second only to powerful Vodka in voting for the 2009 Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m), she displayed runner-up form to the 2009 Best Older Colt or Horse, Dream Journey (H6, by Stay Gold), and then capped off her three-year-old campaign with an impressive 3-2-2 out of seven starts.

Kicking off her four-year-old campaign in February with a win in the Kyoto Kinen (G2, 2,200m), Buena Vista went to Dubai for her first overseas endeavor in March and then returned to Japan to capture the Victoria Mile (G1, 1,600m) in a record-tie of 1:32.4. In her remaining four starts, all against top-caliber males at the G1 level, she demonstrated her exceptional turn of speed with an easy victory in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m) under Christophe Soumillon, then produced two extremely close seconds, first in the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m) to Nakayama Festa, the subsequent runner-up in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1), and then in the Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m) to Victoire Pisa, winner of the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas). Finally, in the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m), she was demoted to second after crossing the wire 1-3/4 lengths in front. Never failing to live up to expectations, Buena Vista remained the virtually automatic choice as favorite for her 2010 races, as in previous years of her illustrious career.

With five G1 titles under her belt and a career record of 8-6-3 out of 17 starts, Buena Vista is now training for her five-year-old season, when she is expected to make another overseas challenge in Dubai.

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BEST TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT:

GRAND PRIX BOSS (JPN)

GRAND PRIX BOSS (JPN)

2-year-old, colt, bay
Sire / Dam: Sakura Bakushin O / Rosy Mist
(Sire of Dam): (Sunday Silence)
Owner: Grand Prix Co., Ltd.
Breeder: Northern Racing
Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi
Jockey: Mirco Demuro
Wins / Starts in 2010: 3 / 4
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 116,715,000
Principal Wins in 2010: Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)

Grand Prix Boss secured this season's Best Two-Year-Old Colt with a victory in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1, 1,600m), giving him three wins out of four career starts, which also include a G2 win in the Keio Hai Nisai Stakes (1,400m) in his previous outing. His Asahi Hai win also presented trainer Yoshito Yahagi with his long-awaited first G1 victory.

Video (GRAND PRIX BOSS):
Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes
(G1 - English)
HIGH LOW

Purchased as a foal by Grand Prix Co., Ltd. at the JRHA's 2008 Select Sale, Grand Prix Boss won under Yasunari Iwata in his maiden at Sapporo. He was sent to post third choice for his next start, the Daily Hai Nisai Stakes (G2, 1,600m), where he was beaten to seventh by subsequent two-year-old champion filly, Reve d'Essor. Ridden by Italian jockey Mirco Demuro in his last two starts, the Sakura Bakushin O colt was seventh favorite in the Keio Hai Nisai Stakes, which had been seen as a contest between two high-profile two-year-olds considered to be potential classic winners: Orfevre (C2, by Stay Gold), a full brother to Dream Journey (H6), and Real Impact (C2), a colt from the promising first crop sired by legendary Deep Impact. However, Grand Prix Boss demonstrated a fine turn of speed from mid-division—rather than being forwardly placed as in his previous starts—and cruised to a comfortable victory while holding off a strong charge from Real Impact.

Grand Prix Boss had been fifth choice for the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, behind two Deep Impact colts and Fuji Kiseki colt Sadamu Patek (C2), whose overwhelming G3 victory had made him a 1.8 favorite. The race unfolded with the top five picks filling up the board, but Grand Prix Boss zoomed to clear victory by overtaking the front with great force, while the remaining top runners crossed the line in a near four-way photo finish.

Grand Prix Boss is expected to have another strong season in 2011. For his first G1 challenge as a three-year-old, his connections have expressed their intention to position him for the NHK Mile Cup (G1, 1,600m)—a distance that his bloodline suggests suits him best.

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BEST TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY:

REVE D' ESSOR (JPN)

REVE D' ESSOR (JPN)

2-year-old, filly, gray
Sire / Dam: Agnes Tachyon / Reve d'Oscar
(Sire of Dam): (Highest Honor)
Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder: Northern Farm
Trainer: Hiroyoshi Matsuda
Jockey: Yuichi Fukunaga
Wins / Starts in 2010: 3 / 3
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 111,785,000
Principal Wins in 2010: Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1)

Reve d'Essor capped off a perfect debut season with her first G1 victory in the 2010 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (1,600m) and then being named the JRA's 2010 Best Two-Year-Old Filly for her efforts.

Video (REVE D' ESSOR):
Hanshin Juvenile Fillies
(G1 - English)
HIGH LOW

Sired by 2001 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) winner Agnes Tachyon, who has produced successful G1 winners such as Daiwa Scarlet and Deep Sky, and out of French group 1 winner Reve d'Oscar (FR), Reve d'Essor promptly won her debut in September. She was sent to post favorite in her first grade-race challenge, the Daily Hai Nisai Stakes (G2, 1,600m), against a field of 11 male opponents. Positioned behind due to an awkward break, the filly made headway along the outside for the final turn, more like an old pro than a rookie in her second career start, and then swept past the leaders to win by a roomy 1-1/4-length margin. The victory marked the race's first win by a filly in 14 years, since Seeking the Pearl (USA), who went on to win the NHK Mile Cup (G1, 1,600m) at three and become the first Japanese-trained runner to win a European group 1—the Prix Maurice de Gheest (G1, 1,300m) in 1998. Reve d'Essor also won the final race of her two-year-old season in much the same manner—biding her time in mid-division at a slow-developing pace and then pouncing on the front-runners with an explosive charge along the outside.

Recent winners of the two-year-old fillies' G1 have excelled in their three-year-old seasons, including Vodka (2006), who won the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), Tall Poppy (2007), Buena Vista (2008) and Apapane (2009), who successfully claimed the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks). For Reve d'Essor, who possesses equal potential with her dynamic racing style and turn of speed, the 2011 season could be her time for stardom.

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BEST THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT:

VICTOIRE PISA (JPN)

VICTOIRE PISA (JPN)

3-year-old, colt, dark bay or brown
Sire / Dam: Neo Universe / Whitewater Affair
(Sire of Dam): (Machiavellian)
Owner: Yoshimi Ichikawa
Breeder: Shadai Farm
Trainer: Katsuhiko Sumii
Jockey: Mirco Demuro
Wins / Starts in 2010: 3 / 7
Career Wins / Starts: 6 / 11
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 475,748,700
Career Earnings: ¥ 532,297,700
Principal Wins in 2010: Arima Kinen (G1)
Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1)

Victoire Pisa's convincing victory in the 2010 Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m), in which he held off turf queen Buena Vista and the season's other top three-year-olds, proved the Neo Universe colt worthy of the JRA Award for Best Three-Year-Old Colt of 2010.

Video (VICTOIRE PISA):
Arima Kinen (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas)
(G1 - English)
HIGH LOW

Trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, an internationally recognized trainer with G1 victories in the U.S., Australia and Hong Kong, Victoire Pisa finished second in his two-year-old debut in October 2009 and concluded the season with three wins and a second out of four starts, including a grade-race victory in the Radio Nikkei Hai Nisai Stakes (2,000m). From the start of his three-year-old campaign he extended the winning streak to five—the last being his initial G1 title and the first leg of the three-year-old Triple Crown classic, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m). In the second leg the Triple Crown, the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, 2,400m), Victoire Pisa was third to Eishin Flash (C3, by King's Best) and then took the unconventional route of passing up the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, 3,000m), won by Big Week (C3, by Bago), in order to go to Europe for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1, 2,400m).

Coming off a fourth in his step-race in France, the Prix Niel (G2, 2,400m), he was seventh (elevated from eighth) in the Arc, but displayed plenty of effort in passing a number of rivals once clear of traffic. Upon returning home from his overseas challenge, he faced another strong field in the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m) under French jockey Maxime Guyon and battled fiercely to a photo finish with eventual winner Rose Kingdom (C3, by King Kamehameha).

Having well proved his ability to compete against older horses of G1 standard, Victoire Pisa's connections are said to be considering another overseas challenge, perhaps in Dubai this March.

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BEST THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY:

APAPANE (JPN)

APAPANE (JPN)

3-year-old, filly, bay
Sire / Dam: King Kamehameha / Salty Bid
(Sire of Dam): (Salt Lake)
Owner: Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Breeder: Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
Trainer: Sakae Kunieda
Jockey: Masayoshi Ebina
Wins / Starts in 2010: 3 / 6
Career Wins / Starts: 6 / 10
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 345,019,000
Career Earnings: ¥ 423,590,000
Principal Wins in 2010: Shuka Sho (G1)
Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1)
Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, G1)

Apapane made headlines by capturing all three of the 2010 G1 Triple Crown titles for three-year-old fillies—the first time in seven years and only the third time in JRA history—a remarkable feat worthy of the JRA Award for Best Three-Year-Old Filly.

Video (APAPANE):
Shuka Sho (G1 - English) HIGH LOW
Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks)
(G1 - English)
HIGH LOW
Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas)
(G1 - English)
HIGH LOW

Following her stellar debut season as a two-year-old, when she registered three wins and a third out of four starts, including her first G1 title in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (1,600m), the 2009 Best Two-Year-Old Filly kicked off her three-year-old campaign in March with a runner-up effort in the Tulip Sho (G3, 1,600m). She then claimed her first seasonal G1 in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, 1,600m) in a record 1:33.3 over the distance. Sent to post first choice in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1, 2,400m), Apapane was positioned well off the pace through most of the journey. While many found it hard to close the gap over a track that was softening in rainy weather, the King Kamehameha filly shifted into gear along the outside and pinned the leader in the last furlong before drawing away for an apparent two-length victory. Shadowing her all the way to the wire, however, was Saint Emilion (F3, by Zenno Rob Roy) and the two fillies wound up splitting the title after the stewards declared a dead heat—a first in the history of JRA G1 races.

Coming off a fourth place after a summer break, Apapane was favorite again in her final leg of the Triple Crown, the Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m). Against a field that included Saint Emilion and a few other fillies who had finished before her in her previous race, Apapane proved to have it when it mattered most and cruised easily past her rivals for a clear victory. While becoming the third filly to claim all three titles, following Mejiro Ramonu (1986) and Still in Love (2003), no filly other than Apapane has claimed four G1 titles, counting the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.

Although well beaten in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (G1, 2,200m) by British-Irish Oaks double winner Snow Fairy (IRE, F3, by Intikhab) and older mare Meisho Beluga (M5, by French Deputy), who was coming off a G2 win, Apapane has produced an outstanding score of 3-1-1 out of six starts and a career total of four G1 victories to position herself in line as the next filly to beat, perhaps following in the footsteps of greats such as Vodka and Buena Vista.

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BEST OLDER COLT OR HORSE:

NAKAYAMA FESTA (JPN)

NAKAYAMA FESTA (JPN)

4-year-old, colt, bay
Sire / Dam: Stay Gold / Dear Wink
(Sire of Dam): (Tight Spot)
Owner: S. Izumi
Breeder: Arai Bokujo
Trainer: Yoshitaka Ninomiya
Jockey: Yoshitomi Shibata
Wins / Starts in 2010: 2 / 5
Career Wins / Starts: 5 / 13
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 284,842,800
Career Earnings: ¥ 418,808,800
Principal Wins in 2010: Takarazuka Kinen (G1)

Nakayama Festa sprung to stardom this season when he proved well up to the highest international competition by finishing second in the 2010 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1, 2,400m) in October. Just missing by a head margin to British Derby winner Workforce (GB, C3, by King's Best), the four-year-old bay became only the second Japanese-based runner to finish within the money in one of Europe's most prestigious G1 events. This achievement, which positioned him tied for sixth in the World Thoroughbred Rankings with 127 lb, as well as two wins in the first half of 2010, including a G1 victory in the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m), made him a well-deserved recipient of the 2010 Best Older Colt or Horse award.

Video (NAKAYAMA FESTA):
Takarazuka Kinen (G1 - English) HIGH LOW

Although he claimed his first grade-race win in the Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes (1,800m) as a two-year-old, Nakayama Festa was out of the placing in all three Triple Crown classics owing to a temperamental nature inherited from his sire, so he was unable to produce results that matched his ability.

From the beginning of his four-year-old season, however, the Stay Gold colt began to show his true form. Fresh from a four-month spell, he won his kickoff start in the Metropolitan Stakes (2,400m). He then was sent to post eighth choice in an all-star turf G1, the Takarazuka Kinen, where he nailed down the top favorite filly and Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) runner-up, Buena Vista, to claim his first G1 title in June. He was shipped to France on August 9 and performed well away from home, turning in a runner-up effort in the Prix Foy (G2, 2,400m), the step-up race to the Arc.

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was a fierce battle in which a large field of 19 runners battled for position. Running mid-division, Nakayama Festa was briefly held up some 800 meters out, but then came on strongly at the straight to duel with Workforce, who had emerged from the inside. The race concluded with Workforce making full use of his 3.5 kg advantage to claim the title, but Nakayama Festa's performance was well above expectations. After a disappointing return to the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m), however, he was found to have developed a leg injury in his left foreleg, so plans have been put on hold until he is fully recovered.

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BEST SPRINTER OR MILER:

KINSHASA NO KISEKI (AUS)

KINSHASA NO KISEKI (AUS)

7-year-old, horse, bay
Sire / Dam: Fuji Kiseki / Keltshaan
(Sire of Dam): (Pleasant Colony)
Owner: Kazumi Yoshida
Breeder: Arrowleave Joint Venture
Trainer: Noriyuki Hori
Jockey: Hirofumi Shii
Wins / Starts in 2010: 3 / 5
Career Wins / Starts: 11 / 29
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 249,747,000
Career Earnings: ¥ 670,736,000
Principal Wins in 2010: Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1)

Kinshasa no Kiseki (AUS) captured his long-awaited G1 title in the 2010 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1,200m) and finished second in the other G1 turf sprint, the Sprinters Stakes (1,200m). His achievements in these two races, as well as two other grade-race wins during the season, held him worthy of the top honor for Best Sprinter or Miler of 2010.

Video (KINSHASA NO KISEKI):
Takamatsunomiya Kinen
(G1 - English)
HIGH LOW

A southern hemisphere-born son of Fuji Kiseki and bred by Arrowleave Joint Venture of Australia, Kinshasa no Kiseki won his only start as a two-year-old and then during his three-year-old season he was quickly recognized as a potential sprinter when he finished third in the NHK Mile Cup (G1, 1,600m). However, it was not until the summer of his five-year-old campaign when he captured his first grade-race victory in the Hakodate Sprint Stakes (1,200m). He also was second in both the Takamatsunomiya Kinen and the Sprinters Stakes that year, concluding the 2008 season with a solid 1-2-1 out of six starts.

While he was out of form for most of the following season, the talented bay bounced back by winning his last two grade-race starts and then extended the winning streak to four wins starting the 2010 season, capturing his first G1 title in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen before a summer break.

Best at distances of up to 1,400 meters, Kinshasa no Kiseki was unable to handle the extra furlong in the Mile Championship (G1, 1,600m) and disappointed to 13th, but he recovered for his second consecutive win in the Hanshin Cup (G2, 1,400m) in December, confirming his supremacy in the sprint category.

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BEST DIRT HORSE:

ESPOIR CITY (JPN)

ESPOIR CITY (JPN)

5-year-old, horse, chestnut
Sire / Dam: Gold Allure / Eminent City
(Sire of Dam): (Brian's Time)
Owner: Yushun Horse
Breeder: Ikuchise Bokujo
Trainer: Akio Adachi
Jockey: Tetsuzo Sato
Wins / Starts in 2010: 2 / 4
Career Wins / Starts: 11 / 21
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 167,794,000
Career Earnings: ¥ 558,125,000
Principal Wins in 2010: February Stakes (G1)
Kashiwa Kinen

Espoir City claimed the distinction of being voted Best Dirt Horse for a second consecutive year, having also earned the title in 2009. After a strenuous overseas challenge in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1, dirt, 2,000m) in the U.S., he was unable to attend the Japan Cup Dirt (G1, dirt, 1,800m) and attempt to defend his title, but Espoir City's performances in his three starts in Japan were enough to win 148 votes and defend his title of champion dirt horse.

Video (ESPOIR CITY):
February Stakes (G1 - English) HIGH LOW

Showing great potential as a dirt runner with four consecutive wins from his first race, Espoir City was shifted from turf in the midst of his three-year-old season. The son of Gold Allure had a stellar four-year-old campaign, landing his first grade-race win in the March Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,800m) after a fourth in his first G1 challenge, the February Stakes (G1, dirt, 1,600m). He then captured his first G1 title in the Kashiwa Kinen (dirt, 1,600m), the first of a five-race winning streak—all G1—including the 2009 Japan Cup Dirt (G1, dirt, 1,800m), the 2010 February Stakes and the 2010 Kashiwa Kinen, where he defended his previous year's title.

His third and last start in Japan before embarking on his overseas challenge was the Mile Championship Nambu Hai (dirt, 1,600m). Although he came into the race weighing 10 kilos more than his usual race weight—a precaution for his journey to the U.S.—he still managed to finished second to Oro Meister (H5, by Gold Allure).

While the competition in the Breeders' Cup Classic proved beyond the chestnut's current ability, his connections are making sure of a full recovery by passing up the rest of the season, hopeful of another successful year of dirt racing in 2011.

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BEST STEEPLECHASE HORSE:

BASHI KEN (JPN)

BASHI KEN (JPN)

5-year-old, horse, chestnut
Sire / Dam: Silk Justice / Linda Triano
(Sire of Dam): (Rodrigo de Triano)
Owner: Hideo Ishibashi
Breeder: Kamii Nojo
Trainer: Yoshihiro Takahashi
Jockey: Yasunori Minoshima
Wins / Starts in 2010: 2 / 10*
Career Wins / Starts: 3 / 23*
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 111,712,000*
Career Earnings: ¥ 136,298,000*
Principal Wins in 2010: Nakayama Daishogai (J-G1)

*steeplechases only

Bashi Ken Ken captured the most coveted race over obstacles, 2010 Nakayama Daishogai (J-G1, 4,100m), in a stirring battle with Tamamo Glare (G6, by Genuine), a strong performance that sealed his claim to the title of Best Steeplechase Horse in 2010.

Video (BASHI KEN):
Nakayama Daishogai (Japanese) HIGH LOW

Beginning his racing career on the flat as a two-year-old, the son of Silk Justice failed to produce, turning in double-digit finishes in all eight of his starts into the first half of his three-year-old campaign. He made a career change to obstacle racing, but was no instant success. Gradually improving, Bashi Ken Ken finally turned in a runner-up effort in his third start of his four-year-old campaign, then finished third and second in his following two jump races. Bashi Ken Ken finally broke his maiden in his 11th career start over jumps and concluded the 2009 season with one win, three seconds and a third out of eight starts.

Registering another win in the open-class Pegasus Jump Stakes (3,350m) in March 2010, the five-year-old bay earned a ticket to the Nakayama Grand Jump (J-G1, 4,250m), but finished ninth in a field of 14. He was well beaten in his following graded starts over obstacles, finishing 12th and 10th in the Tokyo Jump Stakes (J-G3, 3,300m) and the Tokyo High-Jump (J-G2, 3,300m) respectively. But his trainer saw improvement even in defeat, and his patience paid off in Bashi Ken Ken's final start of the season, the Nakayama Daishogai, as the slow learner gave Yoshihiro Takahashi his first grade-race title after 12 years of training thoroughbreds.

Bashi Ken Ken entered the Nakayama Daishogai 10th favorite after a runner-up effort in the open-class Shuyo Jump Stakes (3,300m). He bided his time in mid-division behind the race favorites, which included past G1 titles holders and JRA award winners such as Merci A Time (H8, by Chief Bearhart) and Maruka Rascal (H8, by Grass Wonder), as well as Towa Vega (H6, by Admire Vega), a third-place finisher in the Nakayama Grand Jump. As the field cleared the final fence, the race intensified and the jumpers gave whatever they had left. Bashi Ken Ken overtook his foes one by one along the outside route and outdueled Tamamo Glare, who was on a three-race winning streak, to win by a nose.

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BEST TRAINER (RACES WON):

HIDETAKA OTONASHI


HIDETAKA OTONASHI
Age: 56 (June 10, 1954)
Trainer's license: 1995
First race: June 24, 1995 (Key Pegasus; 11th)
First win: July 23, 1995 (Inazuma Takao)
Principal Wins in 2010: New Zealand Trophy (G2, Sunrise Prince)
Fuji Stakes (G3, Danon Yoyo)
Tanabata Sho (G3, Domonarazu)
Wins / Starts in 2010 (average): 53 / 360 (0.1472)
Career Wins / Starts: 471 / 3,624
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 1,194,343,000

Hidetaka Otonashi won his first champion title for races won this year, after having claimed JRA Awards for money earned in 2009 and best training technique in 2004.

In reaching a personal best 53 wins out of 360 starts, Otonashi raised his career grade-race victories to 41 with wins by Sunrise Prince, Danon Yoyo, Domonarazu and Oken Sakura. Danon Yoyo was a major contributor to his success this year, winning five out of nine starts and coming within a neck of giving his trainer a G1 win in the Mile Championship in November.

Otonashi began his racing career as a jockey, registering 84 wins out of 1,212 rides between 1979 and 1993, including a classic title with Noah no Hakobune in the 1985 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1). After working as assistant to trainer Norihiro Tanaka for two years, Otonashi acquired his trainer's license in 1995 and landed his first grade-race victory, his only win of the season, with Inazuma Takao in the Kitakyushu Kinen (G3).

Gradually rising to around 20 wins by 2003, Otonashi scored a major breakthrough in 2004 when he doubled his output to over 40 wins. He has produced consistent results thereafter, including six G1 titles since winning the Takamatsunomiya Kinen with Orewa Matteruze in 2006. His other G1 winners include Sunrise Bacchus in the '07 February Stakes, Victory in the '07 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), Oken Bruce Lee in the '08 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) and Company in the '09 Tenno Sho (Autumn), Mile Championship. Otonashi-trained Company also won the JRA's Special Award in 2009.

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BEST TRAINER (MONEY EARNED) and BEST TRAINER (TRAINING TECHNIQUE):

KATSUHIKO SUMII


KATSUHIKO SUMII
Age: 46 (March 28, 1964)
Trainer's license: 2000
First race: March 11, 2001 (Setono McQueen; 5th)
First win: March 24, 2001 (Sky and Ryu)
Principal Wins in 2010: Arima Kinen (G1, Victoire Pisa)
Satsuki Sho
(Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, Victoire Pisa)
Wins / Starts in 2010 (average): 49 / 345 (0.1420)
Career Wins / Starts: 322 / 2,443
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 1,399,770,700

Sumii claimed his fourth JRA Award and third for money earned to confirm his status as one of the most successful trainers in major JRA events.

Victoire Pisa contributed the most to Sumii's success in 2010 by claiming the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1), finishing third in both the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1) and the Japan Cup (G1), and then besting a strong field of G1 runners of both sexes and all ages in the Arima Kinen (G1). Sumii took on a bold challenge by starting Victoire Pisa in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) in France, in which he finished seventh.

Sumii worked for three years on a breeding farm in Hokkaido before becoming an assistant trainer for Kentaro Nakao's yard in 1986. He later worked for Kunihide Matsuda and then set up his own stable after acquiring a 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 by the end of 2005. His name also quickly spread internationally as he became the first Japanese trainer to saddle a Japanese bred/trained G1 winner in the U.S. with Cesario (American Oaks), and then captured the 2005 Hong Kong Mile (G1) with Hat Trick and made more headlines by taking the first two placings in the 2006 Melbourne Cup (G1) with Delta Blues and Pop Rock, respectively.

He is the winner of the JRA Award for 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. Moreover, his patience in bringing back dirt champion Kane Hekili from a serious tendon injury to win his second Japan Cup Dirt (G1) title in 2008 speaks equally highly of his abilities.

Sumii-trained JRA Award winners include Delta Blues ('04 Best Horse by Home-Bred Sire), Cesario ('05 Best Three-Year-Old Filly, Best Horse by Home-Bred Sire), Hat Trick ('05 Best Sprinter or Miler), Kane Hekili ('05 Best Dirt Horse and '08 Best Dirt Horse), Vodka ('06 Best Two-Year-Old Filly, '07 Special Award, '08 Horse of the Year, Best Older Filly or Mare, '09 Horse of the Year and Best Older Filly or Mare), Tall Poppy ('07 Best Two-Year-Old Filly), and Victoire Pisa ('10 Best Three-Year-Old Colt).

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BEST TRAINER (WINNING AVERAGE):

YASUTOSHI IKEE


YASUTOSHI IKEE
Age: 41 (January 13, 1969)
Trainer's license: 2003
First race: March 20, 2004 (Sonic Surpass; 1st)
First win: March 20, 2004 (Sonic Surpass)
Principal Wins in 2010: Copa Republica Argentina (G2, Tosen Jordan)
Wins / Starts in 2010 (average): 42 / 270 (0.1555)
Career Wins / Starts: 233 / 1,460
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 844,208,000

Ikee has established himself as one of the most prominent trainers in a short period of time since acquiring his trainer's license in 2003. After winning his first trainer's title for winning average in 2006, Yasutoshi Ikee rose to the top of the trainers' national standings with 51 wins in 2008, when he claimed the JRA Award for races won. In the same year, he also became the youngest trainer to be honored for training technique. Having scored over 40 annual wins every year since, he now has two titles for winning average among his four JRA Awards overall.

The son of Yasuo Ikee, who saddled Deep Impact to a glorious career, Yasutoshi graduated from a six-month training course in stable management at the JRA Horseracing School and began as a groom and later assistant trainer for Kuniichi Asami's yard. He then worked under his father's stable before learning the art of training in England and the U.S. under top trainers Sir Michael Stoute and Neil Drysdale, respectively. With his experience abroad, he played a major role as assistant trainer in his father's overseas endeavors with To the Victory, who finished second in the Dubai World Cup (G1), and Stay Gold, who won the Hong Kong Vase (G1) and the Dubai Sheema Classic (G2) in 2001.

Although he opened his own yard in 2004, he supported his father when Deep Impact traveled to France, and he took his own Picaresque Coat along to run in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein (G2), finishing second. He saddled his own grade-one winner in 2006—that year's JRA Best Two-Year-Old Colt, Dream Journey—whose sire Stay Gold was a favorite ride during his assistant trainer days.

Ikee's best horse has been Dream Journey, the two-time JRA Award winner ('06 Best Two-Year-Old Colt and '09 Best Older Colt or Horse), who won all three of his G1 titles and four other grade-race victories between 2006 and 2009. Also, Tosen Jordan gave him his 12th career grade-race title (JRA races only) in the Copa Republica Argentina (G2) in November 2010.

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BEST JOCKEY (RACES WON):

HIROYUKI UCHIDA


HIROYUKI UCHIDA
Age: 40 (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 2010: Tokyo Yushun
(Japanese Derby, G1, Eishin Flash)
Wins / Starts in 2010 (average): 125 / 851 (0.1468)
Career Wins / Starts: 544 / 4,014**
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 2,321,971,000

*raced in JRA events under NAR jockey license
**since acquiring JRA license in 2008

Uchida succeeded in defending his 2009 jockey title for most wins despite being sidelined for over a month with a fractured arm suffered while racing in January. The repeat champion scored 125 wins, comprising JRA-designated races held at National Association of Racing (NAR) venues as well as 118 wins in JRA starts. Highlights included his second classic title, which came in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1) with Eishin Flash, and his 500th career win on November 20.

After establishing himself as the NAR top jockey, he shifted to the JRA in 2008 and quickly began accumulating starts and wins. In 2009, Uchida led jockeys in wins and thereby ended the legendary Yutaka Take's seven-year streak as the titleholder.

Uchida began his career as an NAR jockey in 1989 and marked his first victory just a month later. He amassed 385 wins to lead NAR jockeys for the first time in 2004. The following year he tried his hand in overseas racing in the Dubai World Cup (G1), finishing sixth with Adjudi Mitsuo. Including his JRA wins, he bagged more than 400 wins each year from 2005–2007, including a record 524 wins in 2006. He was the leading NAR jockey for four seasons from 2004 and landed his 3,000th NAR career win in 2007. The more than 120 wins he scored in JRA races while registered as an NAR jockey included five grade-race titles, the first coming in the Kyodo News Service Hai (G3) in 2003 and his first G1 title in the NHK Mile Cup in 2007.

Uchida transferred to the JRA on March 2008 and marked his first win as a JRA jockey in his first race. His first grade-race victory was with Red Agate in the Flora Stakes. During his first year he added three more grade-race titles, including two G1 wins—the Takarazuka Kinen with Eishin Deputy and the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) with Oken Bruce Lee. He concluded his debut season with great success, finishing second with over 120 wins.

Among his 16 grade-race titles in JRA racing, Uchida has had at least one G1 win every year since 2007.

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BEST JOCKEY (MONEY EARNED):

MASAYOSHI EBINA


MASAYOSHI EBINA
Age: 41 (March 19, 1969)
Jockey's License: 1987
First race: March 1, 1987 (Eiger Turf; 14th)
First win: April, 12, 1987 (Dyna Passion)
Principal Wins in 2010: Shuka Sho (G1, Apapane)
Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1, Apapane)
Oka Sho (Japanse 1000 Guineas, G1, Apapane)
Wins / Starts in 2010 (average): 119 / 871 (0.1366)
Career Wins / Starts: 1,933 / 15,301
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 2,433,341,800

Ebina's international success this season enabled him to become JRA's Best Jockey (Money Earned), while concluding the 2010 JRA season in third on the leader board with 116 wins (JRA wins only). Among his major achievements this season were six grade-race victories, including three G1 titles with Triple Crown filly Apapane, and a historic runner-up effort in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with Nakayama Festa. Ebina also placed second in the prestigious European G1 in 1999 aboard El Condor Pasa (USA).

A jockey school classmate of Yutaka Take, Ebina registered 30 wins in his debut season in 1987. He steadily increased his annual wins before capturing his first grade-race title in 1992 in the February Handicap with Russian Gold. His first G1 victory came with Bubble Gum Fellow in the 1996 Tenno Sho (Autumn), and two years later he scored 136 wins to become the champion jockey of the Kanto Area, a feat he repeated in 1999 and again in 2001.

Enthusiastic about testing himself abroad, Ebina rode Fujiyama Kenzan to victory in the 1995 Hong Kong International Cup (G2), marking the first time for a Japanese-trained runner to claim a grade-race title abroad. He won his first overseas G1 with El Condor Pasa in the 1999 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and then bagged another G2 victory in the Prix Foy before finishing a close second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. After spending time on the U.S. East Coast in 2000 to strengthen his skills, Ebina returned to Japan and created a sensation in the 2001 season by claiming his first two JRA Awards, races won and money earned, with four G1 titles.

Ebina has accumulated 92 grade-race titles (JRA races only), of which 17 are of G1.

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BEST JOCKEY (WINNING AVERAGE):

NORIHIRO YOKOYAMA


NORIHIRO YOKOYAMA
Age: 42 (February 23, 1968)
Jockey's License: 1986
First race: March 1, 1986 (Rikiai Shimpu; 3rd)
First win: April, 29, 1986 (Kioi God)
Principal Wins in 2010: Yushun Himba
(Japanese Oaks, G1, Saint Emilion)
Victoria Mile (G1, Buena Vista)
Wins / Starts in 2010 (average): 121 / 599 (0.2020)
Career Wins / Starts: 2,204 / 15,090
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 2,387,707,000

It has come as a surprise to many racing fans that the talented Yokoyama, this year's leader in winning average, did not collect his first JRA Award sooner. Although overshadowed by the legendary Yutaka Take, who thoroughly dominated JRA racing for nearly two decades, Yokoyama has proven to be one of the sport's best jockeys with consistent grade-race results throughout his career. While the JRA Award for races won went to Hiroyuki Uchida, Yokoyama led in JRA-only wins. Moreover, Yokoyama led all jockeys in winning average despite having missed almost two months due to a career-threatening injury in September. Among his 11 grade-race titles during 2010 were G1 victories in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) with Saint Emilion and the Victoria Mile with Buena Vista.

Debuting a year before Yutaka Take, Yokoyama, who also grew up in a racing family like Take, established himself as a star jockey with 130 wins in 1995, claiming his first champion jockey title in the Kanto Area (Miho Training Center) while second to Kansai-based Take on the national leader board. He again was the Kanto leader in both 2005 and 2006 with 134 and 113 wins, respectively. Registering his first grade-race win with Soda Kazan in the 1988 Winter Stakes (G3), Yokoyama's big break came in the 1990 season when he won eight graded stakes, including his first G1 victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup with Kyoei Tap. That year he was listed among the top ten jockeys in the national ranking. Since then, he has collected 128 grade-race victories, including 20 G1 titles (JRA races only).

The respected Yokoyama, who reached the milestone of 2,000 career wins (JRA races only) in July 2009, also has won champion titles in the World Super Jockeys Series in 1995 and 2009.

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BEST STEEPLECHASE JOCKEY:

YUSUKE IGARASHI


YUSUKE IGARASHI
Age: 26 (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 2010: Kyoto High-Jump (J-G2, A Shin D S)
Kyoto Jump Stakes (J-G3, Run Heramba)
Kokura Summer Jump (J-G3, Run Heramba)
Wins / Starts in 2010: 13 / 75 (steeplechases only)
Career Wins / Starts: 43 / 425 (steeplechases only)
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 269,471,000 (steeplechases only)

Despite missing a month early in the season after a fall in January, Yusuke Igarashi claimed the Best Steeplechase Jockey Award for a second consecutive season, the first of which made him the youngest jockey in JRA history to win the title. Among his 13 wins in 2010 were three grade-race titles, accounting for nearly one third of the year's 10 grade-race events: the Kyoto High-Jump, which he won in record time with A Shin D S, the Kokura Summer Jump, also won by a record, and an overwhelming five-length victory in the Kyoto Jump Stakes, the latter two aboard Run Heramba.

Debuting in 2002, Igarashi began his jockey career under trainer Yasuo Sugawara and scored 11 wins out of 189 mounts on the flat, plus one win out of 23 over obstacles.

While continuing to ride on the flat, Igarashi began do devote more of his rides over obstacles from 2007, when he captured his first major title with Best Grand Cha in the Tokyo Autumn Jump (J-G3). He more than doubled his win total in 2009.

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BEST JOCKEY (NEWCOMER):

RYO TAKAKURA


RYO TAKAKURA
Age: 19 (September 1, 1991)
Jockey's License: 2010
First race: March 6, 2010 (Precise Top; 2nd)
First win: March 14, 2010 (Purple Star)
Wins / Starts in 2010: 37 / 640
Earnings in 2010: ¥ 480,169,000

Takakura aspired to become a jockey like Yasunari Iwata and started learning horseback riding from sixth grade. Upon graduating from JRA's jockey school in 2010, he became a stable jockey at Ritto Training Center in the Kansai Area under trainer Hiroki Sakiyama. He just missed winning by a 1/2 length in his debut start, but scored his inaugural win on his fourth race day aboard sixth-choice Purple Star.

His 640 rides during the 2010 season, by far more than any other newcomer, even exceeded the number of mounts ridden by Yutaka Take in his debut year. Takakura finished within the money in 100 starts and was given the Fair Play award for his exemplary performance.

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JRA EQUINE CULTURE AWARD

The Equine Culture Award, which recognizes noteworthy achievements and contributions to Japanese equine culture, was presented to "Chance ," a television series about a woman who is devastated when she loses her job, but then finds new hope and strength as a result of a rejuvenating encounter with the world of horse racing, which becomes her newfound joy in life. Nominees for the 2010 JRA Equine Culture Award also included publications, cultural events and art exhibitions that appeared between November 2009 and October 2010. The judging committee comprised journalists and other distinguished persons from academic and artistic fields.

Chance (television drama by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and NHK Enterprises, Inc.) Based on a novel of the same title by Kei Kobayashi, the story begins when Sayako (Norika Fujiwara) sees her successful career in securities trading bottom out following the Lehman crash and then is devastated with guilt when a close customer is driven to suicide. Struggling to find a reason to carry on, Sayako happens to encounter an unwanted broodmare that has failed to conceive. Having experienced a broken marriage as a result of being unable to bear a child, Sayako immediately identifies with the mare and takes her in. To her great joy, the mare eventually produces a foal, which Sayako names Chance as a symbol of her determination to take another chance at life. Sayako and a circle of friends with whom she co-owns the filly, including a bar owner struggling with his sexuality and a photographer haunted by past glories, collaborate on a dream to see Chance become a G1 winner, while also rebuilding their own respective lives.

Selection
The TV series Chance, which creates an intriguing union between the divergent worlds of horse racing and finance, focuses on the human relationships that emerge on the road to success. Revolving around the myriad behind-the-scenes tasks of horseracing, including breeding, training, veterinary, shoeing, grooming and much more, Chance not only provides viewers with a realistic glimpse of daily life in the stables, it paints an inspirational picture of the determination and passion of horsemen who refuse to give up. In addition to the story line, the series presents thrilling footage of horse racing and beautiful scenery from idyllic farms in Hokkaido. Viewers could easily relate to the characters in Chance, who are forced to struggle with the hardships of Japan's economic slowdown. The six-episode series, which was aired weekly from August to October 2010, successfully conveys the message that even in the worst of times, there is always a chance if you are willing to keep trying.

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Results of the 2010 JRA Awards (Total Votes: 285)

Horse of the Year
Place Horse Votes
1 Buena Vista (JPN) 211
2 Apapane (JPN) 41
3 Victoire Pisa (JPN) 28
4 Nakayama Festa (JPN) 3
  None 2
Total   285

 
Best Older Colt / Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Nakayama Festa (JPN) 269
2 Jaguar Mail (JPN) 6
3 Kinshasa no Kiseki (AUS) 1
  None 9
Total   285
Best Two-Year-Old Colt
Place Horse Votes
1 Grand Prix Boss (JPN) 281
2 Danon Ballade (JPN) 3
  None 1
Total   285

Best Older Filly / Mare
Place Horse Votes
1 Buena Vista (JPN) 285
Total   285

Best Two-Year-Old Filly
Place Horse Votes
1 Reve d'Essor (JPN) 285
Total 285
Best Sprinter or Miler
Place Horse Votes
1 Kinshasa no Kiseki (AUS) 257
2 A Shin Forward (USA) 14
3 Danon Chantilly (JPN) 4
4 Espoir City (JPN) 1
4 Showa Modern (JPN) 1
4 Buena Vista (JPN) 1
  None 7
Total 285

Best Three-Year-Old Colt
Place Horse Votes
1 Victoire Pisa (JPN) 280
2 Rose Kingdom (JPN) 4
3 Eishin Flash (JPN) 1
Total 285

Best Dirt Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Espoir City (JPN) 148
2 Transcend (JPN) 93
3 Smart Falcon (JPN) 42
4 Glorious Noah (JPN) 1
  None 1
Total 285

Best Three-Year-Old Filly
Place Horse Votes
1 Apapane (JPN) 284
2 Snow Fairy (IRE) 1
Total 285
Best Steeplechase Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Bashi Ken (JPN) 157
2 Koei Try (JPN) 21
3 Merci Mont Saint (JPN) 13
4 Run Heramba (JPN) 9
5 Tamamo Glare (JPN) 1
  None 84
Total   285

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