2014 JRA Award
Horse of the YearBest Older Filly or Mare:
Best Two-Year-Old Colt:
Danon Platina (JPN)
Best Two-Year-Old Filly:
Shonan Adela (JPN)
Best Three-Year-Old Colt:
Isla Bonita (JPN)
Best Three-Year-Old Filly:
Harp Star (JPN)
Best Older Colt or Horse:
Just a Way (JPN)
Best Sprinter or Miler:
Snow Dragon (JPN)
Best Dirt Horse:
Hokko Tarumae (JPN)
Best Steeplechase Horse:
Apollo Maverick (JPN)
TRAINERS & JOCKEYS
Best Trainer (races won):
Best Trainer (winning average):
Best Trainer (money earned)
Best trainer (training technique):
Best Jockey (races won)
Most Valuable Jockey:
Best Jockey (winning average):
Best Jockey (money earned) :
Best Steeplechase Jockey:
Best Jockey (newcomer):
JRA EQUINE CULTURE AWARD
Winner: “The Golden Journey-Stay Gold, the Horse that Far Exceeded Expectations”
Recipient: Toshinori Ishida
AWARD OF MERIT
Recipient: The Jockey Club (UK)
Gentildonna Honored with Second Horse of the Year Title
The Japan Racing Association will present its 2014 Horse of the Year title to the mare Gentildonna, who collected her second such title in three years by earning 231 out of 285 votes for another year of outstanding achievements, including wins in the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Arima Kinen. The annual JRA Awards, which will be handed out in a ceremony at Tokyo on Monday, January 26, recognize horses, trainers, jockeys, other individuals and organizations for accomplished performances or achievements in the thoroughbred racing season.
Gentildonna, previously Horse of the Year in 2012, is the eighth horse in JRA history to claim this highest honor twice and is only the second mare following Vodka, who won in 2008 and 2009. Gentildonna was also a unanimous selection for 2014 Best Older Filly or Mare. The Best Two-Year-Old selections for colts and fillies were also unanimous. Just a Way, who earned international recognition by reaching the top of the World's Best Racehorse Rankings, was chosen Best Older Colt or Horse with 242 votes (85%), while Hokko Tarumae amassed 276 votes (97%) as Best Dirt Horse.
JRA Best Trainer Awards are presented for Wins, Money Earned and Winning Average based on JRA races and designated NAR and overseas races. Yoshito Yahagi won his first JRA Award for Races Won, while Katsuhiko Sumii claimed his second-straight titles for Money Earned and Training Technique, both of which he has now won five times. Kazuo Fujisawa returned to the winner's podium for the first time in five years by leading in Winning Average, resulting in his 38th career JRA Award.
Best Jockey Awards are presented for Races Won, Winning Average, Money Earned, Steeplechase and Newcomer based on accomplishments in JRA races alone. The Races Won award went to Keita Tosaki, who claimed his first title in only his second season as a JRA jockey, and Yuga Kawada won his second straight award for Winning Average. Yasunari Iwata earned his first title in two years and fourth overall for Money Earned, while Shinya Kitazawa captured his first award in two years for Best Steeplechase Jockey. After three seasons in which no rookie rider had met the minimum requirements for an award, Fuma Matsuwaka took home the Best Jockey award for Newcomer.
In addition to Best Jockey for Races Won, Keita Tosaki was presented with the Most Valuable Jockey award, which was established in 2013 to recognize the jockey with the most outstanding accomplishments overall in JRA races and designated races held by NAR or overseas.
The Equine Culture Award was given to Toshinori Ishida, a freelance writer who penned the nonfiction work “The Golden Journey-Stay Gold, the Horse that Far Exceeded Expectations.” The Equine Culture Award of Merit went to The Jockey Club (UK) for its generosity in granting special permission for 10 of its most treasured and famous paintings to be exhibited for a special event of the JRA Racing Museum at Tokyo Racecourse in October 2014.
Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) (G1 - English)
Gentildonna scored an impressive victory in the 2014 Arima Kinen to round off her career with a grand finale. While she was unable to defend her streak of consecutive Japan Cup titles after successes in 2012 and 2013, she avenged the defeat in the Arima Kinen by out-dueling the Japan Cup victor with the kind of determined performance that has characterized her outstanding racing style. She also turned in a successful overseas challenge in the Dubai Sheema Classic early last year and then a runner-up effort in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) in November. Her career record of seven G1 titles over four seasons ties her with four other turf runners including her legendary sire Deep Impact, and her career earning places her second only to T. M. Opera O but highest among female runners.
With a win and a second in two starts as a two-year-old, the bay filly quickly showed potential against male runners in her first grade-race victory in the Shinzan Kinen (G3, 1,600m). Gentildonna made claiming the Fillies’ Triple Crown look easy, including with a record five-length victory in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1, 2,400m). Her historic achievement as the first three-year-old filly to claim the Japan Cup-her first G1 test against top older male rivals-sealed her selection as Horse of the Year in 2012. The next year she followed up by being named Best Older Filly or Mare thanks to an unprecedented repeat victory in the 2013 Japan Cup.
The Deep Impact mare kicked off 2014 with a sixth in the Kyoto Kinen, which was not her only disappointing result during the year, but Gentildonna always managed to perform well when she needed it the most. This included her besting a field of world-class turf runners with a record-breaking victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic, and turning in a terrific closing to her stellar career in the Arima Kinen. She will begin her new career as a broodmare to be serviced at Northern Farm where she herself was bred.
Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1 - English)
Danon Platina responded well to expectations in capturing the year’s Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes to top his generation and claim the season’s Best Two-Year-Old title.
The Deep Impact colt finished second in his debut in September, then recorded impressive wins in his next two starts-a maiden race in which he scored his first career victory over 1,600 meters by four lengths and the Begonia Sho, also over a mile, where he bested the field by a dominating three-length margin.
Sent to post race favorite in the two-year-old G1 event, the gray colt broke sharply from an inner stall but, unlike his previous starts where he was positioned around fourth to sixth, Masayoshi Ebina reserved him near the rear early before allowing the powerful colt to hit the gas and mow down his rivals along the outside. Danon Platina took command in the last 200 meters and held off a fast-closing rival by 3/4 length-a racing style closely resembling his sire.
His three-year-old campaign commences with the Spring Stakes (G2, 1800m) on March 22, heading toward the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m).
Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1 - English)
Shonan Adela scored her third consecutive win by claiming the champion two-year-old filly title in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies. Second by a neck in her debut against male counterparts in August at Niigata Racecourse, the bay filly broke her maiden in her following start at Tokyo and came into the Juvenile Fillies with another easy win in an allowance race, the Karamatsu Sho.
Shonan Adela did not break well in her first grade-race challenge, but Masayoshi Ebina took the opportunity to test her versatility by racing farther back than mid-field, unlike in her three previous starts. When the race commenced in earnest as they turned for home, Shonan Adela found a clearing when a rival cleared a path approaching mid-stretch, then she shifted further out and launched an impressive charge before pinning the same rival in the final strides for a 1/2-length victory.
Shonan Adela, another outstanding filly sired by Deep Impact, will head either directly to her first three-year-old filly classic, the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, G1, 1,600m), or kick off her 2015 season with a prep race depending on her progress in spring.
Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) (G1 - English)
While each Triple Crown title was taken by a different horse, Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) victor Isla Bonita topped his generation with additional achievements, including runner-up in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) and third place against his seniors in the Tenno Sho (Autumn).
The Fuji Kiseki colt scored three wins and a second out of four starts as a two-year-old, including his first grade-race title in the G3 Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes (1,800m). He then kicked off his three-year-old season with another G3 win in the Kyodo News Service Hai before claiming the first leg of the Triple Crown-his 2014 highlight-in April, rallying strongly with three other colts in an uphill climb before he pulled away in the last furlong for a comfortable 1-1/4-length victory.
Although settling for second place in the Tokyo Yushun, the dark bay colt matured well over the summer and promptly won the following St. Lite Kinen. His connections, however, rather than entering him in the 3,000-meter Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1), decided to race him in the 2,000-meter Tenno Sho (Autumn) as a test against older G1-caliber rivals. Sent off race favorite despite being the only three-year-old in the field, he was overtaken by Spielberg in the last strides, but he dueled strongly with Gentildonna to the wire to finish a head behind the multiple-G1 mare in third.
He missed the board for the first time in his career in the Japan Cup, his last start of the 2014 season, but has proven himself in competition at the highest level and should be one of the JRA’s most highly regarded runners in his four-year-old campaign. He is expected to start with the Nakayama Kinen (G2, 1,800m) on March 1 and onto the Sankei Hai (G2, 2,000m) on April 5 before the Yasuda Kinen (G1, 1,600m) on June 7.
Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1 - English)
Harp Star was named Best Three-Year-Old Filly for her accomplishment in claiming the season’s Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) as well as a runner-up effort in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks). She was also highly acclaimed for her challenge against top seniors in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where she bested the two other Japanese contenders after displaying a belated but eye-catching charge from behind to finish sixth.
Claiming her debut race as a two-year-old, Harp Star gained immediate recognition when she overtook the whole field from traveling last, leaving runner-up and subsequent Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) winner Isla Bonita three lengths behind for her first grade-race title in the Niigata Nisai Stakes (G3, 1,600m). She was an overwhelming race favorite in the following Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1, 1,600m) but struggled to come out of traffic and finished a nose second behind Red Reveur.
Harp Star kicked off her three-year-old season with a win in the Tulip Sho and claimed her first G1 title in the first leg of the Fillies’ Triple Crown, the Oka Sho, finishing strongly, this time a neck in front of Red Reveur. Hopes for a second crown in the Yushun Himba, however, were not realized as she was unable to exert her usual late charge, falling short by a neck while pulling up with a loose shoe.
Given a three-month break, the filly bounced back to form, holding off a strong charge by multiple-G1 winner Gold Ship to register another grade-race victory in the Sapporo Kinen in August. After returning from the Arc, her comeback start in the Japan Cup also did not work her way as she bumped with a rival and was late in reaching the leaders. Nevertheless, she is headed to take on more challenges, both in Japan and overseas, in her four-year-old season. She will begin with the Kyoto Kinen (G2, 2,200m) on February 15, then possibly the Dubai Turf (G1, 1,800m) or the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1, 2,410m) in March.
Yasuda Kinen (G1 - English)
Just a Way made history in becoming the first Japanese-trained thoroughbred to sit alone at the top of the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings following his performance in the 2014 Dubai Duty Free, where he demonstrated a jaw-dropping victory against some of the world’s top turf runners and shortened the previous course record by more than two seconds. He added another G1 victory back home in the Yasuda Kinen over 1,600 meters, but was defeated to eighth in his other overseas challenge, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, his first start in almost two years over 2,400 meters. Thereafter, however, he proved competitive at the same distance in the Japan Cup, after which he capped off his racing career with a close fourth over 2,500 meters in the Arima Kinen.
Registering his first win in his two-year-old debut, the son of Heart’s Cry captured his first grade-race title early in his three-year-old season in the Arlington Cup (G3, 1,600m). However, it was not until the fall of his four-year-old campaign that he captured his first G1 title in the 2013 Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m), where he held down 2012 Horse of the Year and eventual two-time Japan Cup winner Gentildonna with a dominating four-length victory.
Just a Way was given the rest of the season off and kicked off his five-year-old campaign in February of 2014 with an easy 3-1/2-length win in the Nakayama Kinen prior to his spectacular Dubai Duty Free triumph and subsequent success in the Yasuda Kinen.
Retired from his memorable racing career, he will begin his new career at stud at Shadai Stallion Station.
Sprinters Stakes (G1 - English)
Snow Dragon made a successful comeback to turf racing this season to capture his first G1 title in the Sprinters Stakes. The victory, which validated his runner-up performance in the spring sprint G1, the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, gave him the edge over four other sprinters/milers, including a very strong candidate, Just a Way, that were contesting for the JRA Award for Best Sprinter or Miler.
Debuting as a two-year-old, Snow Dragon finished second in his first three career starts and won two in a row after switching to dirt at the end of the season. Since then, he was returned to turf just once in three seasons, during which time he registered 5-6-3 out of 25 starts and had yet to claim his first grade-race victory. He added another win on dirt in January to kick off his 2014 season, but following a heavy defeat in the Negishi Stakes, he was tried over turf in the Ocean Stakes and turned in the fastest finishing time over the last three furlongs to finish second. He proved just as effective in his first G1 challenge in the following Takamatsunomiya Kinen, roaring past his rivals wide and from behind to best all but the winner, who had already pulled away early in the stretch for a big advantage.
The gray six-year-old was sent to post 13th favorite in his fall sprint G1, having come off a close eighth-place finish in the Keeneland Cup, but he came forth from his usual position behind to join a good number of rivals and then win out a blanket finish, giving himself and trainer Noboru Takagi their first G1 triumphs. Takagi commented that he will make his best effort to condition his prized sprinter to live up to his reputation in 2015, beginning either in the Hankyu Hai (G3, 1,400m) or the Ocean Stakes in March before his main sprint target, the Takamatsunomiya Kinen.
Champions Cup (G1 - English)
Hokko Tarumae validated his outstanding performances on dirt during the past seasons by finally landing his first Champions Cup title (formally named the Japan Cup Dirt), having finished third in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of the JRA dirt G1. Already a multiple-G1 winner in JRA-NAR exchange races prior to this, the son of King Kamehameha kicked off the 2014 season with his fifth G1 victory in the Kawasaki Kinen, and then a runner-up effort in the February Stakes. In his first overseas challenge-the Dubai World Cup-he was heavily defeated to 16th and then treated for stress-induced colitis before flying back to Japan. He still was not back to his best in his bid to defend his 2013 JBC Classic title, but he regained his top form for the Champions Cup and concluded the season by successfully claiming his second consecutive G1 triumph in the Tokyo Daishoten.
Unraced as a two-year-old, Hokko Tarumae broke his maiden in his second career start in January of his three-year-old season and registered his first graded victory in the Leopard Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,800m). His potential as a top dirt runner was recognized when he finished third against his seniors in the 2012 Japan Cup Dirt (G1, dirt, 1,800m). He continued to display impressive bursts of speed to score 7-1-2 out of ten grade-race starts during 2013, which included four G1 titles, but he succumbed to third in the fall dirt G1 held by the JRA and then second in the 2014 February Stakes.
He will aim to defend his title in his kick-off start, the Kawasaki Kinen on January 28, and then proceed to the Dubai World Cup (G1, dirt, 2,000m), which is scheduled to change its surface from all-weather to dirt this year.
Nakayama Grand Jump (J-G1)
Apollo Maverick continued with another successful season to claim his second consecutive JRA Award for Best Steeplechase Horse in 2014. He won the Nakayama Grand Jump and then attempted to defend his December 2013 victory in the Nakayama Daishogai for a triple in as many J-G1 starts. He almost made it by assuming command before the last fence, but he was overtaken by Red Kingdom in the last 100 meters for second. These achievements, plus a win in the Pegasus Stakes early in the season, earned him a good majority in votes against Red Kingdom, who had four wins, including the Nakayama Daishogai, but did not make his obstacle-race debut until April and was not in the Grand Jump lineup.
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 and scored his first steeplechase victory in his second start. Less than three months later, he registered his first grade-race victory in the Tokyo Jump Stakes (J-G3, 3,110m) and captured his first J-G1 title in the Nakayama Daishogai, which earned him his first JRA Award of 2013.
His connections, continuing to train the smart jumper, are targeting another Grand Jump-Daishogai double in 2015.
Yoshito Yahagi claimed his first JRA Award for Best Trainer (Races Won) in this, his tenth season since opening his yard in 2005.
The son of Kazuto Yahagi, a former trainer at NAR’s Ohi Racecourse, Yoshito was never far from horses. At first, his father did not approve of him becoming a horse trainer, but he finally agreed on the condition that Yoshito would strive to become a JRA trainer and that he would first learn the art of training outside Japan. His father’s advice helped him to acquire important basics in training while spending time in Australia, where he worked at Randwick, NSW, Flemington, Victoria and Toowoomba, Queensland, after which he also trained in Britain. Upon his return to Japan, he introduced the interval training method while helping at his father’s yard, then enrolled in the stable employee course at JRA Horse Racing School.
After working as a stable lad, Yahagi became an assistant trainer for a number of JRA trainers, including Sadataka Sugaya, from whom he learned the business side of running a successful training yard. While it took him more than 10 years to pass his license examination, it was not long before his unique training philosophy and staff management proved effective. He made the top 10 in the national rankings in his fourth season as a trainer, achieved the runner-up position in the following year and has exceeded well over 40 wins in the past three seasons.
His efforts have produced a number of outstanding grade-race winners, such as Grand Prix Boss, Super Hornet and 2012 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner, Deep Brillante.
Kazuo Fujisawa, while just three wins short of Races Won, landed his ninth award for Winning Average during 2014, giving him a total of 38 JRA Awards in four categories combined over 27 years as a licensed trainer. His major titles during the season include his 22nd career G1 title in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) with Spielberg.
Recognized as one of the pioneers in the internationalization of Japanese horse racing, Fujisawa learned the techniques of thoroughbred training under Prichard Gordon at Newmarket, England. He acquired his training license in Japan and quickly claimed his first JRA award for Winning Average in 1991. His first grade-race winner was Shinko Lovely, who brought him six titles, including his first G1 victory in the 1993 Mile Championship. Since then he has accumulated over 90 grade-race titles in and outside Japan, including his biggest international success with Taiki Shuttle in the 1998 Prix Jacques le Marois (G1, 1,600m).
A regular among the national ranking leaders and holder of the most JRA awards among trainers all-time, Fujisawa led in Races Won for the first time in 1993, then consecutively from 1995 through 2000, Winning Average and Money Earned in 2001, and Races Won from 2002 to 2004 and then again in 2007. Most recently, he bested the competition in Races Won and Winning Average in 2009. Fujisawa has also claimed the title for Training Technique nine times, and most notably, walked away with all four titles in both 1996 and 1997.
His string of JRA award winners includes Shinko Lovely (1993 Best Older Filly or Mare), Bubble Gum Fellow (1995 Best Two-Year-Old Colt), Taiki Shuttle (1997 Best Sprinter or Miler, 1998 Horse of the Year, Best Older Colt or Horse and Best Sprinter or Miler), Stinger (1998 Best Two-Year Old Filly), Symboli Kris S (2002-2003 Horse of the Year, 2002 Best Three-Year-Old Colt and 2003 Best Older Colt or Horse), Zenno Rob Roy (2004 Horse of the Year and Best Older Colt or Horse), and Dance in the Mood (2004 Best Three-Year-Old Filly and 2006 Best Older Filly or Mare).
Katsuhiko Sumii missed by two wins in his bid to claim his fourth consecutive title for Races Won, but he nevertheless secured the JRA Awards for Money Earned and Training Technique. He has now amassed 13 JRA Award titles, including Money Earned (2005, 2008, 2010 and 2013), Training Technique (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013) and Races Won (2011, 2012 and 2013). He has 13 grade-race victories, including G1 triumphs in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup with Lachesis, his second Japan Cup title with Epiphaneia, and the JBC Ladies’ Classic with Sambista.
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 leading in Races Won for three straight seasons beginning in 2011. 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 (2004 Best Horse by Home-Bred Sire), Cesario (2005 Best Three-Year-Old Filly and Best Horse by Home-Bred Sire), Hat Trick (2005 Best Sprinter or Miler), Kane Hekili (2005 Best Dirt Horse and 2008 Best Dirt Horse), Vodka (2006 Best Two-Year-Old Filly, 2007 Special Award, 2008-2009 Horse of the Year and Best Older Filly or Mare), Tall Poppy (2007 Best Two-Year-Old Filly), Victoire Pisa (2010 Best Three-Year-Old Colt and 2011 Best Older Colt or Horse), and Aventura (2011 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 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. Rulership presented him with his fifth title by claiming the Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2012.
Keita Tosaki has continued with his success as a JRA jockey, having already reached the top of the national standings by 10 wins over the runner-up in only his second season since transferring from NAR. He hit the 100th mark in annual wins and reached his milestone 300th career win, both in September. Although he just missed the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) by a neck to Harp Star aboard Red Reveur, Tosaki’s capped his outstanding 2014 season with a victory in the year-end Arima Kinen aboard Gentildonna.
Tosaki’s jockey career began in 1998 at Ohi Racecourse as a stable jockey for trainer Kazutaka Katori. He rode his first winner in April that year, reached his 100th win in 2002 and landed his first major title in the Twinkle Lady Sho with Koei Sophia in 2005. He nearly doubled his wins from 74 in 2005 to 123 the following year, then rose to third on NAR’s national jockey rankings with 212 in 2007, the year in which he also scored his first JRA win at Hanshin Racecourse in July. This began a remarkable string of successes as the four-time national leader in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. He gained even wider recognition with NAR’s star runner, Furioso, who brought him his first G1 victory in the 2008 Teio Sho and three other G1 titles thereafter.
Given opportunities on JRA mounts, Tosaki scored his first grade-race win in 2010 when he won the Musashino Stakes (G3) with Glorious Noah, after which he recorded his first JRA-G1 victory with Real Impact in the 2011 Yasuda Kinen. His third big win came in July 2012 in the Radio Nikkei Sho (G3) with Final Form.
Tosaki was quick to place himself among the top five jockeys on the national rankings with 113 wins in 2013, including a G1 title with Red Reveur in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies and four other grade-race victories, earning recognition as a reliable jockey who is offered a ride in almost every G1 event.
Yuga Kawada stamped his claim as one of the most reliable riders in the JRA racing circle with his second consecutive JRA Award for Best Jockey (Winning Average). Among his 95 wins out of 573 rides during 2014 were G1 victories in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) with Harp Star and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup with Lachesis. He also made an overseas challenge in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where he finished sixth with Harp Star.
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. He leapt up in the jockey rankings to place among the top 10 (ninth) with 83 wins in 2010, and then he surpassed the century mark for the first time the following year, finishing third with 109 wins.
Kawada has become a regular in big events by proving his skills when given the opportunity, including by guiding Gentildonna to victory in the 2012 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1) in place of regular rider Yasunari Iwata, who had been suspended. His appearances in the winner’s circle of major races tripled to nine in 2014, up from three in 2013 when he earned his first JRA Award.
Yasunari Iwata not only set two outstanding records this season, he accomplished both on the same day. In the third race on May 25th, Iwata became the first former NAR-turned JRA jockey to reach 1,112 JRA career wins, breaking the record set by former jockey Katsumi Ando, which he extended to 1,200th wins by December. Then, eight races later, he captured the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1) with Nuovo Record, becoming the first former NAR and seventh jockey overall to win all of Japan’s classic races. He has registered nine grade-race victories in JRA alone, including a G1 title in the Mile Championship with Danon Shark, as well as two JRA-NAR exchange G1 events-the JBC Sprint with Dream Valentino and the JBC Ladies’ Classic on board Sambista.
Iwata started his career in 1991 as an NAR jockey and quickly became one of the top riders at Sonoda Racecourse in Hyogo Prefecture. He was champion jockey in the Hyogo district in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005, during which time he reached his 3,000th career win. His ambitions then led him to the JRA, where he became the first NAR jockey to capture a classic title in 2004, in the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1) with Delta Blues. He finally transferred his license to the JRA in 2006.
The highlight of his first JRA season was a victory in his first overseas campaign, the Melbourne Cup (G1) with Delta Blues. Since then, he has claimed numerous titles with gifted mounts, such as Admire Moon, Vodka, Victoire Pisa, Buena Vista, Lord Kanaloa and Gentildonna, who have helped him register 23 G1 titles among a total of 70 grade-race wins in JRA. Most notably, in 2012 he not tied a record with six JRA G1 titles in a single year, he also grabbed the NAR’s Tokyo Daishoten (G1) and earned international acclaim by bringing home the Hong Kong Sprint (G1) title with Lord Kanaloa. He also received the JRA Best Jockey (Races Won) in 2011 and 2012, and this is his fourth title for Best Jockey (Money Earned), the others coming in 2008, 2011 and 2012.
Shinya Kitazawa captured his first J-G1 title in the Nakayama Daishogai with Red Kingdom and claimed his second JRA Award for Best Steeplechase Jockey with 12 wins (steeplechases only) during 2014.
Starting as an apprentice jockey under trainer Mitsuo Ogino, he scored his first win on the flat a week after his debut in March 1990. He finished fifth in the 1995 Tenno Sho (Autumn) with Yamaninsky mare Posy before becoming a freelance jockey that year, but it was not until 1996 that he reached his 100th win. Thereafter, he was retained by Yoshiyasu Tajima and Mitsuru Hashida, but then he went freelance again in 2012.
Kitazawa’s first ride over obstacles was in March 1998 and his first steeplechase win was in August that year. It was around that time when he began to devote the majority of his efforts to steeplechase.
He finished third in his first major jump-race event with Eiyu Dumbo in the 1998 Kyoto Daishogai (forerunner of the graded Kyoto Jump Stakes and the Kyoto High-Jump). His first grade-race victory was with Millennium Suzuka in the 2002 Hanshin Jump Stakes (J-G3).
Steadily increasing his number of wins and proving consistent in his place rate, he registered 12 victories in 2010 to rank second in the national steeplechase jockey standings, including his second grade-race victory with Towa Vega in the Hanshin Spring Jump (J-G2). He was named Best Steeplechase Jockey for the first time in 2012 with 13 wins, his personal best, which included his third grade-race title in the Tokyo Jump Stakes with Denko Octopus. He added two more wins in 2014-his first J-G1 victory and the Niigata Jump Stakes (J-G3) with A Shin Whity.
Fuma Matsuwaka aspired to become a jockey at an early age, influenced by his father’s involvement with racehorses as a farrier, and began riding horses in elementary school.
Graduating from JRA’s Horse Racing School in February 2014, he became a stable jockey for Hidetaka Otonashi and was fourth in his debut start at Hanshin Racecourse on March 1. He registered his first win in his second career ride aboard Toreno Kachidoki on the following day at Kokura Racecourse and reached his 20th win in July 27 before concluding his debut season with 47 wins.
With most wins among the first-season jockeys and without any suspension throughout the year, he was also given the JRA Kansai Broadcasting Press Club Award for Newcomer.
The JRA Equine Culture Award recognizes noteworthy achievements and contributions to Japanese equine culture. Nominations for the 2014 award included horse-related cultural events and publications relating that were published, broadcast or held between November 2013 and October 2014.
Stay Gold, a perennial runner-up in G1 races, was nicknamed “The Silver Medal Collector” during his racing career. He was owned by Shadai Race Horse of the Shadai Group, which was run by Japan’s leading owner/breeder, the Yoshidas, who had an eye for quality studs beginning with Northern Taste and Sunday Silence. Stay Gold, one of the many progenies of Sunday Silence, finally managed to land a G1 title in the final start of his career, the Hong Kong Vase. He was almost released from Shadai’s ownership after his retirement. But he stayed in the Yoshida fold and went on to sire Triple Crown winner Orfevre, as well as other notables such as Dream Journey, Arc runner-up Nakayama Festa, Gold Ship, Fenomeno and Red Reveur, making Stay Gold one of the greatest sires in JRA history. Author Toshinori Ishida, formerly a Sankei Sports newspaper horseracing journalist who possesses deep knowledge of the sport, tells this amazing story while analyzing the secrets of breeding and pedigree, which are the ingredients of success.
Toshinori Ishida, born in 1966 and graduated from Waseda University’s Faculty of Letters, covered horse racing for Sankei Sports newspaper before becoming a freelance writer in 1993. He writes a biweekly column, “KEIBA Watching,” for Tokyo (Chunichi) Shimbun newspaper and a serial column, “Keiba Hatsu Historia,” for Yukan Fuji newspaper. His award-winning book is based on articles he penned for a monthly horse racing magazine, Gallop, in 2012.
Recipient:The Jockey Club (UK)
The Jockey Club’s influence and involvement in British horse racing spans four centuries. Her Majesty the Queen is the Jockey Club’s patron and current/former members include prime ministers, members of the aristocracy and other influential individuals.
The Jockey Club Rooms, a private members club located in Newmarket, has been at the heart of British horse racing for over 260 years. In addition to playing an active role in the day-to-day business of the Jockey Club, it houses an incredible collection of sporting art and racing memorabilia gifted or bequeathed by members or their families. The collection features significant works by many of the key figures in British sporting art, such as George Stubbs, and includes paintings of some of the turf’s greatest racehorses and larger-than-life individuals integral to the history of racing and The Jockey Club.
The Jockey Club, which rarely opens its art collection to the public, granted special permission for 10 pieces to be shipped to JRA Racing Museum for the JRA 60th Anniversary Special Exhibition “Treasured Paintings of the Jockey Club” in 2014.
The exhibition, located in the JRA Racing Museum at Tokyo Racecourse, attracted more than double the museum’s usual number of visitors. Fans were delighted to experience the roots and culture of thoroughbred racing portrayed in precious artwork made available through the generosity of The Jockey Club.
2014 JRA Trainer Ranking
2014 JRA Jockey Ranking
© Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book (JAIRS). All Rights Reserved.