2013 JRA Awards


Phenomenal Sprinter Lord Kanaloa Named 2013 Horse of the Year

2013 JRA Award
■RACEHORSES ■TRAINERS & JOCKEYS ■JRA EQUINE CULTURE AWARD
Gentildonna and jockey Yasunari Iwata
Lord Kanaloa at
2013 Hong Kong Sprint

The Japan Racing Association will present its 2013 Horse of the Year Award to Lord Kanaloa, who earned 209 of 280 votes for a superb racing season adorned with four G1 victories, including a repeat win in the Hong Kong Sprint. The award will be presented during the annual JRA Award ceremony in Tokyo on January 27, where horses, trainers, jockeys and thoroughbred-related individuals and organizations are recognized for accomplished performances or achievements each season.

Lord Kanaloa, the only short-distance runner besides Taiki Shuttle (1998) to receive the JRA’s highest honor, also was the unanimous pick for Best Sprinter or Miler, which he won in 2012 as well.

Another unanimous selection was Meisho Mambo for Best Three-Year-Old Filly. Orfevre, who gave a powerful performance in an eight-length victory, the last run of his career, claimed his second consecutive title for Best Older Colt or Horse by a wide margin. Two-time Japan Cup winner and last year’s Horse of the Year Gentildonna was the overwhelming choice for Best Older Filly or Mare.

Trainers’ awards are presented for wins, earnings and winning average (in JRA races and designated National Association of Racing [NAR] and overseas races) and training technique. Three of the four categories were won by Katsuhiko Sumii, who collected his third straight award for Races Won and fourth awards overall for both Money Earned (also 2005, 2008 and 2010) and Training Technique (also 2009–2011). Hideaki Fujiwara took the award for Winning Average, which he also won in 2007 and 2008.

The criteria for JRA Awards presented to jockeys changed in 2013, with winners now decided by wins, purses and winning average in JRA races only. Yuichi Fukunaga, a two-time JRA Award winner for Newcomer in 1996 and Winning Average in 2011, won Races Won and Money Earned for the first time each. Yuga Kawada and Jun Takada won their inaugural JRA Awards for Winning Average and Best Steeplechase Jockey, respectively. The legendary Yutaka Take was given the Special Award for noteworthy achievements, including an unprecedented 100th G1 victory. No one qualified for Best Jockey (Newcomer), which requires at least 30 wins.

A new annual award, Most Valuable Jockey, was presented to Yuichi Fukunaga for amassing the most points for combined rankings in wins, winning average, earnings and total rides in JRA races and designated NAR and overseas races.

The Equine Culture Award went to Harumitsu Umezaki, a journalist for Sports Nippon Newspapers, whose nonfiction “Ryukyu Horse Racing Lost—In Search of Legendary Champion Hikoki” vividly reprises the history of a unique horse racing sport that was an integral part of Okinawan culture for centuries. Umezaki is the first active newspaper reporter to be presented with a JRA Award.

Note: All information, including ages and race performances, are as of December 31, 2013, unless otherwise indicated.
Wins and earnings figures include National Association of Racing (local public racing) and overseas starts designated by the JRA for consideration in voting.
“Position” under “Season Performances” shows the horse’s position in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and final corners, from left to right. “L3F” shows the time over the last three furlongs (600m).

HORSE OF THE YEAR
BEST SPRINTER OR MILER

Gentildonna (JPN)

Lord Kanaloa (JPN)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 5 (March 11, 2008)
Sex / Color : Horse / Bay
Sire : King Kamehameha
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Lady Blossom (Storm Cat)
Owner : Lord Horse Club
Breeder : K. I. Farm
Trainer : Takayuki Yasuda
Jockey : Yasunari Iwata
Season Record / Earnings : 6 starts, 5 wins, 1 second / ¥ 456,791,900
Career Record / Earnings : 19 starts, 13 wins, 5 seconds, 1 third / ¥ 850,200,800
Principal Wins in 2013 : Hong Kong Sprint (G1), Sprinters Stakes (G1), Yasuda Kinen (G1),
Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1), Hankyu Hai (G3)
Video (Lord Kanaloa):
Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1 - English) play
Yasuda Kinen (G1 - English) HIGH
Sprinters Stakes (G1 - English) PLAY

Lord Kanaloa marked a spectacular 2013 season by scoring five wins out of six starts and firmly establishing himself as one of the greatest sprinters in the world. His consecutive victories in six G1 events — Sprinters Stakes and Hong Kong Sprint (both in 2012 & 2013) and Takamatsunomiya Kinen and Yasuda Kinen — are part of the legacy he has left behind following his retirement at the end of 2013.
After an overwhelming six-length victory in his only start as a two-year-old, the King Kamehameha colt in his first two starts at three just missed by 1/2-length both times, but then went undefeated in his next four races over 1,200 meters, the last being his grade-race debut in the Keihan Hai (G3, 1,200m).
In his 2012 kick-off, Lord Kanaloa extended his winning streak to five with another grade-race victory, the Silk Road Stakes (G3, 1,200m), after which he finished third in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen. He captured his first G1 victory in the Sprinters Stakes, giving trainer Takayuki Yasuda a one-two finish along with defending champion Curren Chan, who finished second. His impressive season, which included becoming the first Japanese runner to claim the Hong Kong Sprint, earned him the season's Best Sprinter or Miler award.
The son of King Kamehameha was virtually untouchable over sprint distances during 2013, claiming both the Takamatsunomiya Kinen and the Sprinters Stakes. He also proved to be a world-class miler by winning the Yasuda Kinen against a field that included two contingents from Hong Kong. In the final run of his career, the Hong Kong Sprint, the defending champion did not disappoint despite starting from outside barrier 12. He displayed his brilliant speed to gain the lead with 300 meters to go and then dominating by five lengths at the wire—the biggest margin ever in the race. The victory made him the first runner to claim two consecutive Hong Kong Sprint titles since Silent Witness in 2003 and 2004.
Now having begun his new career at Shadai Stallion Station, his fans wait with high expectations to see his offspring in action in the coming future.

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BEST TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT

Asia Express (USA)

Asia Express (USA)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 2 (February 9, 2011)
Sex / Color : Colt / Chestnut
Sire : Henny Hughes
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Running Bobcats (Running Stag)
Owner : Yukio Baba
Breeder : Ocala Stud
Trainer : Takahisa Tezuka
Jockey : Ryan Moore
Season Record / Earnings : 3 starts, 3 wins / ¥ 88,131,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)

Video (Asia Express):
Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1 - English) PLAY

Asia Express demonstrated exceptional power in his first test on turf to score a comfortable 1-1/4-length victory in last year's Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, closing out a brief but spectacular first season. In his debut barely a month earlier, on November 3 at Tokyo Racecourse in a 1,400-meter 16-field dirt race, the Henny Hughes colt kicked off his career with a sensational five-length victory. Three weeks later, partnered by top British jockey Ryan Moore, the US-bred chestnut gave another terrific performance in winning the Oxalis Sho by a dominant seven-length victory.

Initially aiming for the championship two-year-old dirt race held by the National Association of Racing (NAR), the colt was excluded from the list of five JRA two-year-old dirt runners eligible to run in the race. Instead, his connections decided that his speed and power would be effective over turf in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, in which the colt was also qualified to start.

So, by a twist of fate, Asia Express was given a chance in his first season to prove that he can excel both on turf and dirt. Sent to post fourth choice in his turf debut, Asia Express bided his time along the rails in mid-field under Moore, then accelerated impressively to contend at the stretch. Then he rallied with two other foes while overtaking the tiring leader 100 meters out and finally drew away for a clear victory.

The first dirt runner in JRA history to have claimed a turf G1 title in his inaugural test over grass, Asia Express' options for his 2014 season are open wide, though it is most probable that he will begin his three-year-old season on turf.

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BEST TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY

Red Reveur (JPN)

Red Reveur (JPN)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 2 (February 19, 2011)
Sex / Color : Filly / Dark Bay or Brown
Sire : Stay Gold
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Desaucered (Dixieland Band)
Owner : Tokyo Horse Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder : Shadai Farm
Trainer : Naosuke Sugai
Jockey : Keita Tosaki
Season Record / Earnings : 3 starts, 3 wins / ¥ 103,862,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1), Sapporo Nisai Stakes (G3)

Video (Red Reveur):
Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1 - English) PLAY

Red Reveur marked her third consecutive win in claiming the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, thereby becoming the champion two-year-old filly of the 2013 season.

After debuting at Hanshin, the Stay Gold filly turned in a high-class performance in the Sapporo Nisai Stakes. The lightly framed filly bided her time while saving ground near the back of the field before advancing past most of the young two-year-olds, who used up their energy over the extremely deep going after the third corner. She dug deeply after angling out to make headway between horses at the top of the stretch and finally wore down the tenacious leader for a neck victory.

In the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, following a lengthy break, she was sent to post fifth choice against a number of quality two-year-old fillies boasting grade-race victories and winning streaks. But Red Reveur confirmed her superiority after a hard-fought rally to the line with other foes to claim the champion title by a nose.

She is trained by Naosuke Sugai, who also saddled Gold Ship to multiple G1 victories during 2012 and 2013. The victory was the second consecutive title in the race for Sugai, after Robe Tissage in 2012. For jockey Keita Tosaki, who transferred from NAR to JRA in March, it was his first G1 victory as a JRA jockey and second overall, following a win in the Yasuda Kinen in 2011 while based at Ohi Racecourse (NAR).

The filly, who is still growing, has much of her sire's qualities according to her connections. Expectations are high for a successful season as a three-year-old, which will likely begin with the Tulip Sho (G3, 1,600m) in March or the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, G1, 1,600m) in April.

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BEST THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT

Kizuna (JPN)

Kizuna (JPN)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 3 (March 5, 2010)
Sex / Color : Colt / Dark Bay or Brown
Sire : Deep Impact
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Catequil (Storm Cat)
Owner : Shinji Maeda
Breeder : North Hills Co., Ltd.
Trainer : Shozo Sasaki
Jockey : Yutaka Take
Season Record / Earnings : 6 starts, 4 wins / ¥ 367,181,800
Career Record / Earnings : 9 starts, 6 wins, 1 third / ¥ 391,957,800
Principal Wins in 2013 : Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (G1),
Prix Niel (G2),
Kyoto Shimbun Hai (G2), Mainichi Hai (G3)
Video (Kizuna):
Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (G1 - English) PLAY

Kizuna was named Best Three-Year-Old Colt for a stellar 2013 campaign distinguished by a four-race winning streak — all at the grade-race level — including the Prix Niel in France.

Debuting in October 2012, the Deep Impact colt won his first two starts and then finished third and fifth in his next two graded outings. After claiming an inaugural grade-race win in his second start of 2013, a convincing three-length victory in the Mainichi Hai, his connections passed up the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), and instead chose the Kyoto Shimbun Hai while looking ahead to a possible run in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby). The dark bay colt gave a performance reminiscent of his legendary sire — sitting far back early, rounding the field wide into the straight and then mowing down his rivals with a terrific turn of speed. Sent to post favorite in the Derby, the second leg of the Triple Crown Classic, he once again provided a thrilling finish with another late charge. The win gave jockey Yutaka Take a record five Derby titles, including with Deep Impact in 2005.

Shipped to France for his first overseas challenge following a summer break, Kizuna ran in the Prix Niel and prevailed over British Derby victor Ruler of the World in a tight finish to boost his credentials prior to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Sent to post third-favorite in the Arc, Kizuna held on well for fourth, certainly not disgracing himself against top G1 and Classic winners from around the globe.

Taking off the remainder of the season to rest, Kizuna is set to start his four-year-old campaign with the Sankei Osaka Hai (G2, 2,000m) and then aim for the Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200m) and the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m). If all goes well, he will prepare for his second challenge in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe thereafter.

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BEST THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY

Meisho Mambo (JPN)

Meisho Mambo (JPN)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 3 (February 25, 2010)
Sex / Color : Filly / Bay
Sire : Suzuka Mambo
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Meisho Momoka (Grass Wonder)
Owner : Yoshio Matsumoto
Breeder : Yoshio Matsumoto
Trainer : Akihiro Iida
Jockey : Koshiro Take
Season Record / Earnings : 8 starts, 5 wins, 1 second / ¥ 391,067,000
Career Record / Earnings : 10 starts, 6 wins, 1 second / ¥ 398,067,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1), Shuka Sho (G1),
    Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1), Fillies' Revue (G2)
Video (Meisho Mambo):
Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1 - English) PLAY
Shuka Sho (G1 - English) PLAY
Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1 - English) PLAY

Meisho Mambo capped off a very successful three-year-old campaign with a third G1 victory in her first challenge against older fillies and mares. This achievement, along with victories in two of the Fillies' Triple Crown races — the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) and the Shuka Sho — stamped her as the uncontested choice for Best Three-Year-Old Filly.

Meisho Mambo won her debut in late November and selected from a draw to run in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies two weeks later, where she finished tenth. After a runner-up effort in her first three-year-old start in January, the Suzuka Mambo filly won two in a row, including her first grade-race victory in the Fillies' Revue. In the following Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), however, she was unable to perform from an outermost gate and finished tenth. Her potential finally blossomed in her first G1 victory in the Yushun Himba. Rated along the rails behind a very solid pace, which allowed the bold filly to exert a bursting turn of speed at the stretch, she took command and effortlessly sustained her lead to the wire for a 1-1/4-length victory. Meisho Mambo thus became the first G1 winner sired by 2005 Tenno Sho (Spring) winner Suzuka Mambo. Her second triple-crown title, the Shuka Sho, showcased an even stronger side as the bay filly unleashed a powerful late charge after racing wide throughout the 2,000-meter trip for another comfortable win. She demonstrated even greater ability with a win against older mares in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

When trainer Akihiro Iida retires in February, Meisho Mambo will be handed down to his son, Yuji, who partnered with her as a jockey in her first two career starts. The filly is headed towards the Sankei Osaka Hai as her four-year-old debut, where she could face Kizuna for the first time.

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BEST OLDER COLT OR HORSE

Orfevre (JPN)

Orfevre (JPN)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 5 (May 14, 2008)
Sex / Color : Horse / Chestnut
Sire : Stay Gold
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Oriental Art (Mejiro McQueen)
Owner : Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder : Shadai Corporation Inc.
Trainer : Yasutoshi Ikee
Jockey : Kenichi Ikezoe
Season Record / Earnings : 4 starts, 3 wins, 1 second / ¥ 397,463,000
Career Record / Earnings : 21 starts, 12 wins, 6 seconds, 1 third / ¥ 1,576,213,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Arima Kinen (G1), Prix Foy (G2), Sankei Osaka Hai (G2)
Video (Orfevre):
Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) (G1 - English) PLAY

Orfevre's remarkable eight-length victory in the 2013 Arima Kinen was like icing on the cake for the talented son of Stay Gold, bringing to end one of the most successful and eventful careers in Japanese racing. His accomplishments during the year also included another win in the Sankei Osaka Hai, his only other start in Japan, as well as a second consecutive victory in the Prix Foy at Longchamp and a second runner-up in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The 2011 Horse of the Year retired with total earnings of 1,576,213,000 yen, the second highest after T. M. Opera O, and will now begin a stud career at Shadai Stallion Station this spring.

Although highly regarded as a two-year-old, Orfevre scored just one win out of three starts and had a tenth-place finish. He was not counted among the top three-year-old classic hopefuls until his first grade-race victory, the 2011 Spring Stakes (G2, 1,800m), where he began a six-race winning streak decorated with Triple Crown races and the Arima Kinen, besting a field of senior multiple-G1 winners in the latter.

His mood swings, however, began to surface early in his four-year-old season. While managing to produce another G1 victory in the Takarazuka Kinen (2,200m), his unstableness cost him what could have been Japan's first Arc title and the 2012 Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m). Nevertheless he did not fail to show his tremendous talent.

After kicking off the 2013 season with a win in the Sankei Osaka Hai in March, he was withdrawn from the Takarazuka Kinen in June due to an exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. But he bounced back with an impressive victory in the Prix Foy prior to his second Arc challenge. In the Arima Kinen, as if to avenge his defeat in the Arc, Orfevre quickly made headway on the outside from near the rear, took the front 300 meters out and romped to an uncontested and convincing triumph.

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BEST OLDER FILLY OR MARE

Gentildonna (JPN)

Gentildonna (JPN)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 4 (February 20, 2009)
Sex / Color : Filly / Bay
Sire : Deep Impact
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Donna Blini (Bertolini)
Owner : Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder : Northern Racing
Trainer : Sei Ishizaka
Jockey : Ryan Moore
Season Record / Earnings : 4 starts, 1 win, 2 seconds, 1 third / ¥ 427,325,400
Career Record / Earnings : 13 starts, 8 wins, 3 seconds, 1 third / ¥ 1,116,863,400
Principal Wins in 2013 : Japan Cup (G1)
Video (Gentildonna):
Japan Cup (G1 - English) PLAY

Gentildonna is the first horse to capture a second Japan Cup title in the race's 33-year history, an impressive feat she accomplished back to back. It was her fifth G1 victory, having also claimed the fillies' Triple Crown and the Japan Cup in 2012, the latter helping her to become the first three-year-old filly to be named Horse of the Year. Although winless in her first three starts in 2013, the brilliant filly had registered a second in the Dubai Sheema Classic, a third in the Takarazuka Kinen in June, and another second the Tenno Sho (Autumn) start prior to her second Japan Cup victory. She is now the third filly to exceed the billion yen mark in career earnings, after Buena Vista and Vodka.

With a win and a second in two starts as a two-year-old, the bay filly registered her first grade-race victory in the Shinzan Kinen (G3, 1,600m), which she followed with her first G1 victory in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, 1,600m). She claimed the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1, 2,400m) by five lengths while setting a new race record, and then scored an easy win in her fall debut, the Rose Stakes (G2, 1,800m). In her next start, the Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m), she became the fourth filly in JRA history to sweep the fillies' Triple Crown. Her historic achievement as the first three-year-old filly to claim the Japan Cup title, which had been her first G1 test against top older male rivals, sealed her selection for the highest JRA Award in the 2012 season.

Kicking off her four-year-old campaign in Dubai, she registered a runner-up effort in the Dubai Sheema Classic but then went through a frustrating period in which she tended to be keen early and unable to sustain her strong drive. This even led to some skepticism about her ability to stay the 2,400-meter distance prior to her second Japan Cup challenge. Nevertheless, the exceptional filly proved her critics wrong as she prevailed gallantly under Ryan Moore by a nose to defend her Japan Cup title.

She continues to train for her five-year-old season with the Dubai Sheema Classic as her first target.

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BEST DIRT HORSE

Belshazzar (JPN)

Belshazzar (JPN)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 5 (April 25, 2008)
Sex / Color : Horse / Dark Bay or Brown
Sire : King Kamehameha
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Maruka Candy (Sunday Silence)
Owner : Shadai Race H.
Breeder : Shadai Farm
Trainer : Kunihide Matsuda
Jockey : Christophe Lemaire
Season Record / Earnings : 6 starts, 4 wins, 1 second, 1 third / ¥ 219,670,000
Career Record / Earnings : 16 starts, 6 wins, 2 seconds, 3 thirds / ¥ 326,653,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Japan Cup Dirt (G1), Musashino Stakes (G3)
Video (Belshazzar):
Japan Cup Dirt (G1 - English) PLAY

Belshazzar rose to stardom after switching to dirt, finishing within the top three in all six starts after his dirt debut in May and then capping off the season with his first G1 title in the Japan Cup Dirt. The son of King Kamehameha concluded his five-year-old season with a 4-1-1 record out of six starts, including another grade-race victory in the Musashino Stakes.
The dark bay won his debut on turf as a two-year-old and concluded the season with two wins and a third. He also fared well when stepping up in class in his three-year-old season, finishing second by a 3/4 length to subsequent Triple Crown winner Orfevre in the Spring Stakes (G2, 1,800m). This was followed by a third in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, 2,400m).
Trained by Kunihide Matsuda, who has 13 G1 titles with eight runners, including Kurofune, Tanino Gimlet, King Kamehameha and Daiwa Scarlet, Belshazzar's racing career was hindered with respiratory issues and fractures that sidelined him for part of his three-year-old season and most of 2012. Coming off a prolonged break that lasted 13 months, Matsuda transitioned to dirt for his comeback and the dark bay responded impressively. He finished third in his debut, and then scored a win, a second and another win before making his first grade-race challenge over dirt. Sent to post race favorite in the Musashino Stakes, Belshazzar assumed command from a striking position and held off strong challenges from behind for a 3/4-length win under Christophe Lemaire, who had won on turf with the horse early in his career.
As third choice in the Japan Cup Dirt, his first dirt G1 challenge, Belshazzar steadily advanced along the outside through the backstretch and then steered further out around the last corner before unleashing a powerful turn of speed in the final 300 meters. After catching the race favorite, he held off a powerful late charge by his opponent for a neck victory.
His 2014 campaign will be targeted towards the February Stakes (G1, dirt, 1,600m) prior to a possible overseas challenge in the Dubai World Cup (G1, AW, 2,000m).

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BEST STEEPLECHASE HORSE

Apollo Maverick (JPN)

Apollo Maverick (JPN)

Age (Date of Foaling) : 4 (April 15, 2009)
Sex / Color : Colt / Bay
Sire : Apollo Kingdom
Dam (Sire of Dam) : Omega Fastar (Theatrical)
Owner : Apollo Thoroughbred Club
Breeder : Apollo Thoroughbred Club
Trainer : Masahiro Horii
Jockey : Yusuke Igarashi
Season Record / Earnings : 7 starts, 3 wins, 1 third / ¥ 108,071,000 *steeplechases only
Career Record / Earnings : 7 starts, 3 wins, 1 third / ¥ 108,071,000 *steeplechases only
Principal Wins in 2013 : Nakayama Daishogai (J-G1), Tokyo Jump Stakes (J-G3)

Video (Apollo Maverick):
Nakayama Daishogai (J-G1) PLAY

Apollo Maverick was named the JRA's Best Steeplechase Horse in his first season as a jumper, which he capped off with an inaugural J-G1 victory in the Nakayama Daishogai.

Debuting on the flat as a two-year-old, the Apollo Kingdom colt broke his maiden in his fifth start. Thereafter, however, he managed only one more win while disappointing to double-digit finishes in the remainder of his 2012 races. After kicking off his four-year-old campaign with another dismal finish on the flat, Apollo Maverick was switched to jump races and responded immediately with a third-place finish in March. He scored his first steeplechase victory in his second start, and less than three months later he registered his first grade-race victory in the Tokyo Jump Stakes.

He had an unfortunate outing in the Shuyo Jump Stakes, tracking the leader in second but then unseating his rider while trying to avoid the pacesetter, who had fallen on the landing side of an obstacle mid-race. Unfazed by the incident, he bounced back in the Nakayama Daishogai, his first J-G1 challenge. The big bay colt, weighing around 530 kilos, settled in mid-division for the first half of the 4,100-meter trip, made headway while cruising effortlessly over the large jumps with impressive speed to lead after the fifth obstacle (fence 6), exerted a terrific turn of foot entering the final stretch and drew away impressively for a dominating eight-length victory.

Apollo Maverick, who gave trainer Masahiro Horii his first G1 title since the 2004 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes with Meiner Recolte, will begin his five-year-old campaign with a step race prior to his next J-G1 attempt in the Nakayama Grand Jump in April.

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BEST TRAINER (RACES WON)
BEST TRAINER (MONEY EARNED)
BEST TRAINER (TRAINING TECHNIQUE)

Katsuhiko Sumii

Katsuhiko Sumii
Age : 49 (March 28, 1964)
License Issued : 2000
First Race : March 11, 2001 (Setono McQueen; 5th)
First Win : March 24, 2001 (Sky and Ryu)
Season Record : 374 starts, 56 wins, 49 seconds, 39 thirds
Career Record : 3,524 starts, 497 wins, 360 seconds, 316 thirds
Winning Average in 2013 : 0.150
Earnings in 2013 : ¥ 1,773,267,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, Epiphaneia),
    Kobe Shimbun Hai (G2, Epiphaneia), Rose Stakes (G2, Denim and Ruby),
    Flora Stakes (G2, Denim and Ruby), Elm Stakes (G3, Fleet Street),
    Fukushima Himba Stakes (G3, All That Jazz)

Katsuhiko Sumii continued to reign as the champion trainer with his third consecutive Best Trainer award for Races Won with 56 wins, as well as repeat awards for Money Earned and Training Technique. He has now amassed 11 JRA titles, including previous awards for Money Earned ('05, '08 and '10), Training Technique ('09, '10 and '11) and Races Won ('11 and '12).

Saddling an impressive 21 winners in his training debut in 2001, Sumii saw his wins steadily rise to well above 40, ranking him within the top five every year between 2008 and 2010, before becoming Best Trainer (Races Won) for three straight three seasons.

His first grade-race winner came in the 2002 Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes (G3, Blue Eleven), after which he captured his first G1 title in the 2004 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) with subsequent 2006 Melbourne Cup (G1) victor Delta Blues.

Sumii's outstanding training methods have produced many JRA Award winners, including Delta Blues ('04 Best Horse by Home-Bred Sire), Cesario ('05 Best Three-Year-Old Filly and 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 and Best Older Filly or Mare, and '09 Horse of the Year and Best Older Filly or Mare), Tall Poppy ('07 Best Two-Year-Old Filly), Victoire Pisa ('10 Best Three-Year-Old Colt and '11 Best Older Colt or Horse), and Aventura ('11 Best Three-Year-Old Filly).

Quick to make his name known internationally, Sumii was the first Japanese trainer to saddle a Japanese-bred/trained G1 winner in the U.S. with Cesario (American Oaks) in 2005. He then captured the 2005 Hong Kong Mile (G1) with Hat Trick and made more headlines by taking the first two places in the 2006 Melbourne Cup with Delta Blues and Pop Rock, respectively. Victoire Pisa, who contributed the most to Sumii's success in 2010 with G1 victories in both the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) and the Arima Kinen, also gave him his fourth international G1 title, the Dubai World Cup in March 2011, after which Rulership gave him his fifth title by claiming the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2012.

 

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BEST TRAINER (WINNING AVERAGE)

Hideaki Fujiwara

Yasutoshi Ikee
Age : 48 (June 29, 1965)
License Issued : 2000
First Race : March 3, 2001 (Invisible Touch; 1st)
First Win : March 3, 2001 (Invisible Touch)
Season Record : 280 starts, 54 wins, 35 seconds, 29 thirds
Career Record : 2,954 starts, 447 wins, 326 seconds, 261 thirds
Winning Average in 2013 : 0.193
Earnings in 2013 : ¥ 1,210,086,500
Principal Wins in 2013 : Mile Championship (G1, Tosen Ra), Mainichi Okan (G2, Eishin Flash),
    Kyoto Kinen (G2, Tosen Ra), Asahi Challenge Cup (G3, Archimedes),
    Empress Hai (Miracle Legend)

Hideaki Fujiwara scored another successful season to claim his third JRA Award for Best Trainer (Winning Average), having also won the award in 2007 and 2008. His 54 wins for a leading win rate of 19.3% included five grade-race titles, most notably his eighth G1 title in the Mile Championship with Tosen Ra, which also gave jockey Yutaka Take his 100th G1 win.

Debuting in 2001 after 12 years as assistant to Kaoru Hoshikawa in Ritto, Fujiwara won his first race at Hanshin with Invisible Touch, landed his first two flat grade-race victories with Tenzan Seiza in the Kyoto Shimbun Hai (G2) and the Keihan Hai (G3), and then concluded his rookie season with 15 wins out of 150 starts. He doubled his wins in 2006 while capturing five grade-race titles and finishing 18th in the JRA national rankings.

Armed with a string of quality two-year-olds and three-year-olds in 2007, he ranked third among Ritto-based trainers and his winning average jumped to a leading 18.3%, which earned him his first JRA Award. He continued to improve in 2008, concluding the season with a winning average of 20.0% for his consecutive title while notching seven grade-race wins, including his first G1 title in the Victoria Mile with Asian Winds.

Since then he has produced top runners, both on turf and dirt. Eishin Flash brought him his first classic tile in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) in 2010, followed by the Tenno Sho (Autumn) in 2012, delighting his many fans while racing under Fujiwara. Success Brocken scored him three G1 titles on dirt — the 2008 Japan Dirt Derby, the 2009 February Stakes and the 2009 Tokyo Daishoten, while Roman Legend was a G1 winner in the 2012 Tokyo Daishoten.

Fujiwara continues to rise in the ultimate category of races won, coming in runner-up to Katsuhiko Sumii in 2013.

 

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BEST JOCKEY (RACES WON)
BEST JOCKEY (MONEY EARNED)
MOST VALUABLE JOCKEY

Yuichi Fukunaga

Yuichi Fukunaga
Age : 37 (December 9, 1976)
License Issued : 1996
First Race : March 2, 1996 (Marubutsu Bravest; 1st)
First Win : March 2, 1996 (Marubutsu Bravest)
Season Record : 844 starts, 131 wins, 103 seconds, 103 thirds
Career Record : 13,063 starts, 1,589 wins, 1,340 seconds, 1,309 thirds
Winning Average in 2013 : 0.155
Earnings in 2013 : ¥ 2,619,274,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, Just a Way),
    Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, Epiphaneia),
    Mainichi Okan (G2, Eishin Flash), Kobe Shimbun Hai (G2, Epiphaneia)
    Miyako Stakes (G3, Brightline), CBC Sho (G3, Majin Prosper)

Yuichi Fukunaga, in addition to claiming his first two awards for Races Won and Money Earned, became the inaugural winner of the JRA's Most Valuable Jockey Award, which recognizes most points earned for wins in both JRA and designated non-JRA races, eclipsing Yasunari Iwata by just one point. The 2013 season was certainly a memorable one for Fukunaga, who reached his 1,500th JRA victory on April 21, a feat accomplished by only 13 others. He also became just the seventh jockey to score 100 JRA grade-race career wins when he notched the Mainichi Okan (G2) title on board Eishin Flash in October. It was his fourth consecutive season to register more than 100 victories, which included back-to-back G1 wins in the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) with Epiphaneia and the Tenno Sho (Autumn) with Just a Way.

Following the footsteps of his father, former jockey Yoichi Fukunaga, he made an impressive debut in 1996, winning his first two career starts on his way to becoming Best Jockey (Newcomer) with 53 wins. His first grade-race victory came the following year with King Halo in the Tokyo Sports Hai Sansai Stakes (G3). Later, captured his first G1 win with Primo Ordine in the 1999 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), but his season was interrupted by a career-threatening fall a week later. However, he made a sensational comeback to capture the Asahi Hai Sansai Stakes with Eishin Preston. The pair then proceeded to claim four other JRA grade-race titles in 2000 and 2001, and further demonstrated their combined talents overseas by capturing the 2001 Hong Kong Mile (G1) and consecutive Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) titles in 2002 and 2003.

His best season yet was in 2005, when he grabbed five G1 titles among 16 grade-race wins in Japan and also claimed the American Oaks aboard Cesario, the first Japanese-bred and trained horse to capture a U.S. G1 title. In 2011, 133 wins out of 824 rides carried Fukunaga to the top of the JRA jockey rankings for the first time, enabling him to claim his first Best Jockey (Winning Average) award while missing out on the JRA Award (Races Won) by coming up short in NAR wins.

 

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BEST JOCKEY (WINNING AVERAGE)

Yuga Kawada

Yuga Kawada
Age : 28 (October 15, 1985)
License Issued : 2004
First Race : March 7, 2004 (Surely Gold; 5th)
First Win : March 20, 2004 (Homan Rookie)
Season Record : 724 starts, 120 wins, 95 seconds, 85 thirds
Career Record : 6,314 starts, 713 wins, 612 seconds, 556 thirds
Winning Average in 2013 : 0.166
Earnings in 2013 : ¥ 2,060,982,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Fillies' Revue (G2, Meisho Mambo), Niigata Nisai Stakes (G3, Harp Star),
    Mermaid Stakes (G3, Marcellina)

Yuga Kawada registered his 100th annual win on October 12 for a second time, following 2011, and reached a milestone 700 career JRA wins on November 9. His 120 wins out of 724 rides boasted three grade-race titles, including the Fillies' Revue (G2) aboard multiple G1-winner Meisho Mambo.

Born into a racing family—his father and uncle are jockey-turned-trainers and his grandfather was a trainer at Saga Racecourse (NAR)—Kawada started learning to ride from his early elementary-school days before entering the JRA Horse Racing School at 15. He made his debut in March 2004 and registered his first win two weeks later at Hanshin Racecourse. Finishing his debut year with 16 wins, he gradually accumulated more wins in the following years and then landed his first grade-race title in the Kokura Daishoten (G3) with Mejiro Meyer in 2006. His big break came in 2008 when he won his first G1 and classic title with Captain Thule in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas). He also demonstrated great skill in guiding longshot Admire Monarch to second place in the Arima Kinen (G1) and marked 73 wins, including six grade-race victories, in 2008.

His other G1 winners include Suni, with whom he claimed JBC Sprint titles in 2009 and 2011, and Big Week, who gave him his second classic G1 title in the 2010 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger). He boosted his wins rank from 17th in 2009 to ninth in 2010 with 83 victories, and then surpassed the century mark for the first time the following year, finishing third with 109 wins. While short of 100 wins last year, he captured his third JRA G1 victory in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) aboard Gentildonna, having replaced regular rider Yasunari Iwata who was under suspension at the time.

 

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BEST STEEPLECHASE JOCKEY

Jun Takada

Jun Takada
Age : 33 (November 3, 1980)
License Issued : 1999
First Race : March 6, 1999 (Yamakatsu Robbery; 7th)
First Win : June 12, 1999 (Air Winslet)
Season Record* : 39 starts, 14 wins, 6 seconds, 2 thirds
Career Record* : 448 starts, 72 wins, 49 seconds, 28 thirds
Winning Average in 2013* : 0.359
Earnings in 2013* : ¥ 245,073,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Tokyo High-Jump (J-G2, Osumi Moon),
    Hanshin Jump Stakes (J-G3, Osumi Moon),
    Kokura Summer Jump (J-G3, Osumi Moon)

*steeplechases only

Jun Takada was named the Best Steeplechase Jockey of 2013, the first JRA Award in his 15th season as a jockey. His 14 wins out of 39 rides (jump races only) during the season included grade-race titles with Osumi Moon in the Tokyo High-Jump (J-G2), the Hanshin Jump Stakes (J-G3) and the Kokura Summer Jump (J-G3).

Beginning his career as a stable jockey under Hiroyoshi Matsuda, who became known for saddling 2010 Horse of the Year Buena Vista, Takada debuted in 1999 and registered his first win on the flat at Chukyo Racecourse aboard Air Winslet that June. Standing 165 cm, he began riding over jumps from his second season and started to show potential in 2001, winning nine out of 36 rides. That same year he scored four jump grade-race titles, his first being with Hisako Bomber in the Kokura Summer Jump. In 2006, he captured a G2 title on the flat with Dream Passport in the Kobe Shimbun Hai.

Recovering from a serious injury that sidelined him for almost three months during 2007, Takada claimed his long-awaited J-G1 title in the 2008 Nakayama Daishogai aboard subsequent 2008 Best Steeplechase Horse King Joy, with whom he had finished second in the same race the previous year. The pair also finished second in the Nakayama Grand Jump in 2009. Takada continued to show his jump jockey skills in a runner-up effort with Dear Majesty in the 2011 Nakayama Daishogai.

An Osaka native and freelancer since November 2009, Takada entered the JRA record books by winning the 2010 Niigata Jump Stakes to become the first jockey to claim at least one grade-race title at all six courses where graded steeplechases are held in Japan. He set another record in 2013 by capturing his third consecutive Kokura Summer Jump with Osumi Moon, following with M S World in 2012 and Don Gracias in 2011.

SPECIAL AWARD

Yutaka Take

Yutaka Take
Age : 44 (March 15, 1969)
License Issued : 1987
First Race : March 1, 1987 (Agnes Dictor; 2nd)
First Win : March 7, 1987 (Dyna Bishop)
Season Record : 649 starts, 97 wins, 62 seconds, 58 thirds
Career Record : 18,138 starts, 3,594 wins, 2,564 seconds, 2,065 thirds
Winning Average in 2013 : 0.149
Earnings in 2013 : ¥ 2,300,237,000
Principal Wins in 2013 : Mile Championship (G1, Tosen Ra),
    Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, Kizuna),
    Sapporo Kinen (G2, Tokei Halo), Kyoto Shimbun Hai (G2, Kizuna),
    Kyoto Kinen (G2, Tosen Ra), Fantasy Stakes (G3, Bel Canto),
    Kokura Kinen (G3, Meisho Naruto), Hakodate Kinen (G3, Tokei Halo),
    Naruo Kinen (G3, Tokei Halo), Mainichi Hai (G3, Kizuna),
    Tulip Sho (G3, Kurofune Surprise)

Yutaka Take was presented with a second Special Award for further accomplishments in his illustrious career, securing his milestone 3,500th win early in the season and then riding his fifth Japanese Derby winner, Kizuna, in May. The same pair also went overseas to claim the Prix Niel title prior to finishing fourth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. In yet another memorable achievement, Take captured his 100th career G1 win by claiming the Mile Championship with Tosen Ra in November.

The third son of jockey-turned-trainer Kunihiko Take, Yutaka started riding at 10 and has continued to renew practically every record available. He debuted in 1987 and immediately stood out with 69 wins. A champion jockey for 18 years, including from 1992 to 2000 and 2002 to 2008, he exceeded 200 wins for three consecutive years starting in 2003, culminating with a record 212 wins in 2005. By 2007, he had become the youngest to reach a number of milestones, including an unprecedented 3,000 wins. He completely dominated the JRA Awards for jockeys by earning the Grand Prix (tops in wins, money and average) a stunning nine years between 1997 and 2006, missing out just once by not finishing first in wins in 2001. His last JRA award, however, was for Best Jockey (Money Earned) in 2009.

His first G1 and Classic win was with Super Creek in the 1988 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) and his first Derby title came with Special Week 10 years later. Take became the first JRA jockey to ride a G1 winner overseas when he claimed the 1994 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp with Andre Fabre-trained Ski Paradise. He also rode the first Japanese-trained G1 winner abroad when guiding Seeking the Pearl to victory in the 1998 Prix Maurice de Gheest. He has 20 wins overseas at the group-race level, including seven G1 events in the United Kingdom, France, Hong Kong and Dubai combined.

Having concluded the season with 3,746 career wins, including designated wins at NAR and overseas, Take aspires to further success, perhaps in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, his only unclaimed G1 title in JRA, or possibly overseas, where he would love to claim Japan's first title in the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

 

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JRA EQUINE CULTURE AWARD

The JRA Equine Culture Award recognizes noteworthy achievements and contributions to Japanese equine culture. Nominations for the 2013 award included cultural events and publications relating to horses that were published, broadcast or held between November 2012 and October 2013. The award was presented to “Ryukyu Horse Racing Lost—In Search of Legendary Champion Hikoki” written by Harumitsu Umezaki.

Winner: “Ryukyu Horse Racing Lost—In Search of Legendary Champion Hikoki”
Umezaki’s nonfiction book introduces the history of horse racing in Okinawa as a unique and important part of local culture for some 400 years, from the Ryukyu Kingdom up to World War II, when the sport vanished. Ryukyu Racing was not a contest of speed but a series of two-horse match races contested by small, native breeds. The entrants were decorated with strappings and judged by the smoothness of their ambling gaits and the beauty of their movements. Racing was held at more than 160 racetracks scattered around the islands.

The author, who had always held a deep interest in the history of Okinawa, learned of the region’s equine sport and a white pony named Hikoki (the Japanese word for airplane), whose flowing strides made him a legendary champion during the peak era of the sport from the late 1920s. Umezaki’s research involved studying massive amounts of historical records, interviewing elderly people with recollections of the sport and touring former racing sites. The 344-page book is an intriguing travel journal as well as a detailed reprise of a long-lost part of Okinawan culture. It also proved to be of great help to an Okinawan zoo that revived the sport for the first time in some 70 years.

Recipient: Harumitsu Umezaki
Harumitsu Umezaki, 51, is a Tokyo native who began reporting on horse racing two years after joining Sports Nippon Newspaper in 1986. He also is an amateur singer and player of the sanshin, a three-string instrument from Okinawa, and has been awarded for his musical skill by the Ryukyu Folk Song Association. Umezaki’s accolades now include recognition of his contribution to the history of Okinawa.

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Results of the 2013 JRA Awards (Total Votes: 280)

Horse of the Year
Place Horse Votes
1 Lord Kanaloa (JPN) 209
2 Orfevre (JPN) 69
3 Gentildonna (JPN) 1
  None 1
  Best Two-Year-Old Colt
Place Horse Votes
1 Asia Express (USA) 279
2 One and Only (JPN) 1

  Best Two-Year-Old Filly
Place Horse Votes
1 Red Reveur (JPN) 279
2 Harp Star (JPN) 1
         
Best Three-Year-Old Colt
Place Horse Votes
1 Kizuna (JPN) 242
2 Epiphaneia (JPN) 38
  Best Three-Year-Old Filly
Place Horse Votes
1 Meisho Mambo (JPN) 280

  Best Older Colt or Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Orfevre (JPN) 176
2 Lord Kanaloa (JPN) 104
         
Best Older Filly or Mare
Place Horse Votes
1 Gentildonna (JPN) 274
2 Verxina (JPN) 3
  None 3
  Best Sprinter or Miler
Place Horse Votes
1 Lord Kanaloa (JPN) 280

  Best Dirt Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Belshazzar (JPN) 154
2 Hokko Tarumae (JPN) 122
3 Espoir City (JPN) 1
  None 3
         
Best Steeplechase Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Apollo Maverick (JPN) 261
2 Osumi Moon (JPN) 5
3 Basel River (JPN) 1
3 Blackstairmountain (IRE) 1
  None 12
 
   

2013 JRA Trainer Ranking
*Including NAR and overseas starts

Place Name 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Below Rides Win Ratio Earnings
1 Katsuhiko Sumii 56 49 39 33 23 174 374 0.150 ¥ 1,773,267,000
2 Hideaki Fujiwara 54 35 29 24 22 116 280 0.193 ¥ 1,210,086,500
3 Yoshito Yahagi 50 63 30 38 24 300 505 0.099 ¥ 1,213,011,000
4 Yasutoshi Ikee 49 38 29 25 28 176 345 0.142 ¥ 1,564,805,000
5 Takayuki Yasuda 46 41 24 26 24 166 327 0.141 ¥ 1,302,798,500
6 Kazuo Fujisawa 43 33 28 27 18 135 284 0.151 ¥ 859,617,000
7 Hiroyoshi Matsuda 41 34 34 44 32 161 346 0.118 ¥ 882,695,000
8 Sakae Kunieda 38 30 34 25 32 189 348 0.109 ¥ 802,941,000
9 Noriyuki Hori 38 27 18 17 21 115 236 0.161 ¥ 734,867,000
10 Mitsugu Kon 35 33 14 12 17 116 227 0.154 ¥ 536,722,000

2013 JRA Jockey Ranking
*JRA only
Place Name 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Below Rides Win Ratio Earnings
1 Yuichi Fukunaga 131 103 103 71 70 366 844 0.155 ¥ 2,619,274,000
2 Yuga Kawada 120 95 85 74 63 287 724 0.166 ¥ 2,060,982,000
3 Suguru Hamanaka 119 101 88 88 73 393 862 0.138 ¥ 2,314,722,000
4 Hiroyuki Uchida 114 103 77 80 79 444 897 0.127 ¥ 2,348,051,000
5 Keita Tosaki 113 94 88 72 75 424 866 0.130 ¥ 1,965,428,000
6 Yasunari Iwata 111 111 80 68 98 386 854 0.130 ¥ 2,496,264,000
7 Hiroshi Kitamura 101 85 83 81 82 466 898 0.112 ¥ 1,691,367,000
8 Yutaka Take 97 62 58 62 47 323 649 0.149 ¥ 2,300,237,000
9 Hironobu Tanabe 88 67 81 85 59 499 879 0.100 ¥ 1,463,614,000
10 Masayoshi Ebina 86 81 83 66 41 416 773 0.111 ¥ 1,952,110,000

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