Yoshidas the new world superpower of breeding

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By Michele MacDonald 12:19PM 8 AUG 2015

Teruya Yoshida And Princess Of Sylmar

Teruya Yoshida with $3.1 million Fasig-Tipton purchase Princess Of Sylmar  (PICTURE: Michele MacDonald )

IF THERE were plans for a Disney World of bloodstock, it could open almost immediately on the island of Hokkaido in Japan.

After years of collecting the best bloodlines from around the globe at a cost of more than $100 million, the Yoshida family has assembled what could be the most diverse and talented pool of broodmares in history to join a burgeoning group of stallions.

Following Disney’s Epcot design in Orlando, Florida, the Yoshidas could open pavilions featuring superior horses from worldwide racing, spanning Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, the US, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru and South Africa.

Even Disney’s top management principle of “make everyone’s dreams come true” seems somewhat relevant to Japan’s newly international thoroughbred industry.

Major owners and breeders from around the world are being drawn to Japan, as the past two Japan Racing Horse Association (JRHA) sales demonstrated, in search of stars from this rising magic kingdom of bluebloods.

Coolmore, the Niarchos family, Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Paul Fudge, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, trainer Gai Waterhouse, WinStar Farm and others have ventured into the once very foreign world of Japanese breeding, sales or other bloodstock ventures, with Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley having led the way with the biggest stake by a non-Japanese entity in farms, horses and racing.

“We have invested in very expensive mares for the last five to six years and now that is coming back to us,” observed Teruya Yoshida, JRHA vice-chairman and owner of Shadai Farm, during the sale conducted last month. The auction reached its third consecutive record turnover with the most extensive international participation in its 16-year history.

As Yoshida has said, the goal of Japan’s first family of racing is simple yet ambitious: to breed the world’s best racehorses.

Dominant vendors
Since the Yoshidas operate in the nation that offers the world’s highest prize-money through the Japan Racing Association (JRA) circuit, the value of their bloodstock is sustained. They can either sell young horses for income, place them in racing clubs that they control, or race the horses themselves, all of which are potentially hugely profitable and generate cash for more bloodstock investments.

At the recent JRHA sale, Shadai Farm sold 94 yearlings and foals for a total of ¥3.389 billion ($27,330,645), according to JRHA statistics. For perspective, that amount is comparable to the aggregate for the entire 2014 Arqana December Breeding Stock sale (€27.107m).
Yoshida’s brother, Katsumi, sold 165 horses through his Northern Farm and affiliates at the JRHA sale for the even more staggering total of ¥6.833 bn ($55,104,839).

Together, the Shadai and Northern sales proceeds topped the entire aggregate for the 2014 Tattersalls December mare sale, which reached 48,290,695gns ($80,244,600) for 658 horses sold.

Astonishing investment
The strength of the Yoshidas’ bloodstock holdings, which could be vaguely surmised by followers of world auction markets over the past decade, cannot be truly appreciated without a visit to the JRHA sale and to Shadai and Northern Farms.

But the enormity of the Yoshidas’ enterprise does not become fully revealed without a look at the annual publication of their combined broodmare holdings. The paperback edition dated February 2015 is a full two inches thick on fine paper and includes listings for nearly 1,500 mares under the banners of Shadai, Northern and the Oiwake Farm owned by another Yoshida brother, Haruya, as well as the trio’s Shadai Corp.

The numbers alone – which include a few mares boarded by other owners who are venturing into Japanese breeding – are stunning, but the quality is just as impressive.

At least 189, or approximately 13 per cent, of the mares are Grade/Group 1 winners or have finished second or third in Grade/Group 1 races in countries outside of Japan, with their credentials including wins in British, Irish, French, German and Italian Classics. There are also nine US champions and/or Breeders’ Cup winners, the cream of racemares from South America, and a sprinkling from Australasia.

At least 65 more mares with Group 1 credentials earned while racing in Japan also reside in the broodmare bands. Since the catalogue is printed in Japanese regarding the Japanese-bred horses, with English used only for imported horses, it is difficult to grasp all the details without a professional translator.

It is clear, however, that there are many more mares who are half-sisters to, daughters of, or have themselves produced Grade/Group 1 winners. Even more mares are winners of Graded or Group races and/or are producers at that level.

Growing sire power
This extraordinary collection of mares, joined with the world’s leading sire of progeny earnings since 2012, Sunday Silence’s Japanese Triple Crown-winning son Deep Impact, is a powerful force that is multiplied further by increasingly impressive sire power in Japan.

Among the most notable stallions, King Kamehameha, the Japanese Classic-winning son of Kingmambo from Blushing Groom’s female family, consistently challenges Deep Impact for the leading sire title. European-raced stars such as Harbinger, Dansili’s son who ranked as Japan’s champion freshman sire in 2014, and Monsun’s Ascot record-setting son Novellist, whose first foals were born this spring, have joined former top US sire Empire Maker and dual American Classic winner I’ll Have Another in the Japanese stallion ranks.

Katsumi Yoshida

Katsumi Yoshida: big spender  (PICTURE: Michele MacDonald)

Young Japanese-bred stallions who proved themselves on the international stage, such as Triple Crown winner and dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up Orfevre, Dubai World Cup winner Victoire Pisa and 2014 Dubai Duty Free record-setting winner Just A Way, leader of the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, offer a continuation of the Sunday Silence legacy.

The Yoshidas control most of the best stallions, standing Deep Impact, King Kamehameha, Harbinger, Novellist, Orefevre, Just a Way and others at their Shadai Stallion Station.

“The quality [of bloodstock] is increasing, and the skill of raising horses has improved a lot,” Teruya Yoshida said of Japan’s ongoing ascension while referring to Sunday Silence as “like a god” to Japanese racing. “We have been giving very intensive care to the horses – that is very important – and the foals are bigger than before.”

Sunday Silence legacy

The Yoshidas have kept a tight hold on the blood of Sunday Silence, the 1989 US Horse of the Year who revolutionised Japanese breeding while ranking above all sires in Japan for 13 years.

Sunday Silence’s heirs include many high-quality sons, led by Deep Impact and Just a Way’s sire, Heart’s Cry, as well as grandsons such as Orfevre, by Stay Gold, and Victoire Pisa, by Neo Universe. Many of Sunday Silence’s daughters are still in production; his blood is so prolific that more than 80 per cent of this year’s JRHA sale entries featured Sunday Silence within their first three generations.

Thus, Sunday Silence is both a spur to the Yoshidas – who must seek other blood to blend with this phenomenal line that works on dirt or turf and at many distances – as well as a magnet for international buyers.

“Obviously, Deep Impact and the legacy of Sunday Silence is something that is world renowned,” said WinStar Farm president Elliott Walden while purchasing a yearling colt by Heart’s Cry and a colt foal by Stay Gold in addition to three Empire Maker colts at the JRHA sale. “Japanese horses are winning all over the world and they have a lot of great bloodstock here.”

Shunsuke Yoshida, Katsumi Yoshida’s son who helps direct Northern Farm and its racing club affiliates, emphasised the success of Japanese-breds in premier races over distances beyond ten furlongs, noting Waterhouse’s decision to buy Japanese yearlings and foals for their potential stamina.

“We are sending racehorses to the good international races every year, and we think the Japanese horses are good over more than ten furlongs,” Shunsuke Yoshida said modestly.

“We have many broodmares with Sunday Silence in their pedigrees,” he added, “so that is why we have to buy these mares [from abroad].”

And buy they have, both privately and at the world’s leading sales.

No expense spared
Public auction records from the US, Britain and France show that Shadai and Northern Farms have acquired a total of 97 mares during the last five sessions of the Fasig-Tipton November, Keeneland November, Keeneland January, Tattersalls December and Arqana December sales. Haruya Yoshida has added four mares from those sales and the Shadai Corp has purchased two, making the brothers’ combined purchases of broodmares at those sales total 103 since 2010.

Fasig-Tipton has been their preferred shopping spot, with the Yoshidas spending a combined total of $42.07m starting with the 2010 November sale. They spent another $22.3m at the past five sessions of the Keeneland November and January sales combined, for an overall US spend of $64.37m.

In Europe, Tattersalls records show that Shadai and Northern, and/or their principals or primary agents, have spent 6,365,000gns at the December mare sale on 17 horses since 2010, while at Arqana’s breeding-stock sale in France, their totals reached €8.292m for 24 horses.

Adding in two mares acquired by jointly-held Shadai Corp, one each at Tattersalls and Arqana in 2010, and using the American Jockey Club’s conversion of the European purchase prices to US dollars, the Yoshidas’ auction acquisitions since 2010 surpass $86m (more than £55m at current exchange rates). With many private purchases featuring the likes of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream and US champion Proud Spell, the total is almost certainly more than $100m in just five years.

Going back further, in the years between 2005 and 2009 the Yoshidas spent another $45.285m at Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland alone for breeding stock.

Their dizzying high-dollar strategy works in Japan because the Yoshidas often can recoup the cost of many of the mares by selling just one or two foals from them by Deep Impact at the JRHA sale, and they can race others for the lucrative JRA purses.

They also will undoubtedly develop more stallions such as Eishin Flash, the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner now standing at the Shadai Stallion Station who was produced by Teruya Yoshida’s German St Leger winner Moonlady, a Tattersalls purchase.

While the dollar amounts spent by the Yoshidas are nothing less than mind-boggling, the sparkling names they have added to their broodmare bands are just as impressive.

The following glimpse of some of the mares under each of the Shadai Group’s banners offers a tantalizing introduction as to why the Yoshidas have to be considered the new world superpower.

Shadai Farm, owned by Teruya Yoshida

Ave, a British-bred, US Grade 1 winner by Danehill Dancer who was a $1.4m purchase at Keeneland. Her oldest foal is three-year-old colt Ambergris Caye, a winner by Deep Impact, and she has a juvenile filly by Victoire Pisa, a yearling colt by Stay Gold and a filly foal by Deep Impact.

In Lingerie, by Empire Maker, a US Grade 1 winner and $2.4m acquisition at Fasig-Tipton who has a yearling filly by Frankel and a filly foal by Deep Impact.

Dubawi Heights, a British-bred by Dubawi who won two Grade 1 races in America and was $1.6m purchase at Fasig-Tipton. The eight-year-old has a juvenile filly by Deep Impact named Reach the Heights, a yearling filly by Heart’s Cry and a filly foal by King Kamehameha. She is back in foal to Deep Impact.

Princess of Sylmar, five-year-old winner of the Kentucky Oaks, was bred for the first time this year after her $3.1m purchase at Fasig-Tipton, and the daughter of Majestic Warrior is in foal to Deep Impact.

Sarafina, an eight-year-old by Refuse To Bend who won the Prix de Diane and two other Group 1 races and finished third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, was a private purchase from the Aga Khan. She has a yearling colt by Deep Impact, which was sold at the JRHA sale for ¥160 million ($1,290,323), and a filly foal by Victoire Pisa.  {Sold privately by Eugenio Colombo}

Danedream, the seven-year-old German-bred daughter of Lomitas who won the Arc after a private transaction and was honoured as Cartier champion filly, has produced a yearling filly and a colt foal by Frankel while boarded at Newsells Park Stud.

Stacelita won four Group 1 races in France, including the Prix de Diane, and two Grade 1 events in the US, where she was voted champion turf mare in 2011. One of many top daughters of Monsun in the Shadai holdings, the nine-year-old was a private acquisition; she has a yearling filly by Frankel who is outstanding.

Champagne D’Oro, twice a Grade 1 winner in the U.S. and a $2.7m purchase at Fasig-Tipton, is an eight-year-old by Medaglia D’Oro who already has returned dividends. Her yearling colt by Tapit, her first foal, sold for ¥230m (about $1,872,200) at the JRHA sale, and she has a colt foal by Deep Impact.

Lily Of The Valley, a French-bred daughter of Galileo, winner of the Prix de l’Opera and a private buy, has produced juvenile colt Vanquish Run, by Deep Impact, a yearling colt by Deep Impact and a filly foal by Orfevre.

Ollagua, twice winner of Argentina’s equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and three other Group 1 races, is a ten-year-old daughter of Pure Prize and was a private purchase. Her three-year-old son by Smart Strike, Libertango, is a winner in Japan, and she has a yearling colt and a filly foal by Deep Impact.

Other Shadai Farm mares who do not have Grade/Group 1 race credentials include the likes of Tattersalls purchase Dalicia, dam of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and Japanese stakes winner Satono Messiah; May Kiersey, a three-parts sister to Derby winner Pour Moi bought at Arqana; Heart Shaped, a Storm Cat half-sister to Grade 1 winner A P Valentine who finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf before it became a Grade 1 event {Sold privately by Eugenio Colombo}; Mt. Kobla, a half-sister to young sire Quality Road acquired at Keeneland, and German 1,000 Guineas winner Electrelane, by Dubawi, a Tattersalls purchase.

Northern Farm, owned by Katsumi Yoshida

Azeri, America’s 2002 Horse of the Year and a $2.25m Keeneland purchase, is now 17 but she more than paid for herself with a pair of colt foals by Deep Impact who sold for a combined $4,802,942 at the 2013 and 14 JRHA sales. She produced another Deep Impact colt this year.

Shamrocker, a New Zealand-bred by O’Reilly who became the first filly in more than two decades to win the Australian Derby, was a private buy. Her 2014 filly foal by Deep Impact was bought by Sheikh Fahad at the JRHA sale for ¥92m ($901,961), and she produced a colt by Deep Impact this spring.

Lush Lashes, multiple Group 1 winner by Galileo who was sold privately by Jim Bolger. The now ten-year-old has produced a juvenile Oasis Dream colt named Lush Dreamer and a yearling colt and a colt foal by Deep Impact. The yearling was sold at the recent JRHA sale for ¥230m ($1,854,839).

Ginger Punch, a six-time Grade 1 winner and champion in the US. The now 12-year-old by Awesome Again was a $1.6m purchase at Fasig-Tipton in 2009 and she has produced a foal every year since arriving in Japan; her three-year-old filly Rouge Buck, by Manhattan Café, is a Group 3 winner and finished second in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks). She has a juvenile colt and a yearling filly by Deep Impact and a colt foal by Heart’s Cry.

Belle Watling, Chilean horse of the year by Dushyantor, winner of five Group 1 races and a private purchase. Her yearling colt by Daiwa Major sold for ¥64m ($516,130) and her colt foal by Deep Impact for ¥125m ($1,008,065) at the JRHA sale, and she also has a juvenile filly by Deep Impact.

Salomina, a six-year-old daughter of Lomitas who won the Preis der Diana (German Oaks) to become German champion filly, was bought privately. She produced fillies by Deep Impact in 2014 and 2015.

King’s Rose, New Zealand 1,000 Guineas winner and a daughter of top Australian sire Redoute’s Choice, was another private acquisition. Her yearling colt by Deep Impact sold for ¥195m ($1,572,581) at the JRHA sale.

Donna Blini, 12-year-old Cheveley Park Stakes winner, produced two-time Japanese Horse of the Year Gentildonna to the cover of Deep Impact and has foaled full sisters to the champion in 2014 and 2015. An older sister to Gentildonna, Donau Blue, was a multiple Group winner and twice Group 1-placed.

American champion Proud Spell, Kentucky Oaks winner and a ten-year-old daughter of Proud Citizen who was sold privately by Brereton Jones of Airdrie Stud. Already the dam of US stakes winner Indian Spell, she has produced a yearling colt by Creative Cause and a colt foal by Deep Impact in Japan.

Listen, a ten-year-old daughter of Sadler’s Wells who won the Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile for Coolmore and is a sister to Group 1 winner Sequoyah, dam of Henrythenavigator, and a half-sister to the granddam of Irish 2000 Guineas and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician. She has produced winner Ascolti, a filly by Danehill Dancer, and two fillies and two colts by Deep Impact while in Japan. Sheikh Fahad bought her JRHA sale-topping yearling of 2014 for ¥260m ($2,549,020), and that colt is in training with Roger Varian.

Some of the many other mares of note at Northern Farm that did not win or place at the Group/Grade 1 level include Palace Rumor, dam of Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice; Kalavinka, a half-sister to leading US sire Tapit; Shoah, a half sister to German Horse of the Year and sire Shirocco, and Silverskaya, a French Group winner who is the dam of Australian Group 1 winner and Irish Derby runner-up Seville.

Oiwake Farm, owned by Haruya Yoshida

Lady Shatzi, Peru’s 2009 Horse of the Year, is a ten-year-old by the Private Account stallion Privately Held. She has a yearling colt and a filly foal by Deep Impact.  {Sold privately by Eugenio Colombo}

Belle Royale, a seven-year-old by Val Royal, was a Grade 1 winner in the US for Michael Tabor and was acquired privately. She produced a yearling filly by Deep Impact but was barren this year.

Argentine-bred, multiple US Grade 1 winner Star Parade, a 16-year-old by the Caro stallion Parade Marshal. She has a juvenile filly by Stay Gold and a filly foal by Neo Universe.

Tanta Suerte, Chilean champion juvenile filly by Stuka, has produced six foals in Japan, with her last three, including a colt born in May, by Deep Impact.

Original Spin, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, was a private acquisition. The daughter of Distorted Humor has five offspring in Japan, including juvenile colt by King Kamehameha and a colt foal by Orfevre.

Shadai Corporation  {All mares listed below were privately sold by Eugenio Colombo}

Golden Doc A, US Grade 1 winner by the Nureyev stallion Unusual Heat and a private acquisition. She has produced multiple stakes winner and Group 2-placed Albert Dock, a three-year-old by Deep Impact, and she has a juvenile colt by Deep Impact and a filly foal by Orfevre.

German-bred and classic-placed Soberania, a nine-year-old by Monsun and a private acquisition, has a juvenile colt by Harbinger, a yearling filly by Stay Gold and a colt foal by Deep Impact.

Evita Argentina, a nine-year-old US Grade 1 winner by Candy Ride and a private acquisition, has produced multiple winner Santa Evita, by Smart Strike, and four other foals in Japan, including a juvenile colt by Victoire Pisa, a yearling colt by Daiwa Major and a filly foal by Orfevre.

Lady Of Venice, a 12-year-old French-bred daughter of Loup Solitaire who was Grade 1-placed in the US and bought privately, has produced multiple stakes winner Action Star, a JRHA sale graduate by Agnes Tachyon, and winners Portia and Veneto by Deep Impact. She has juvenile and yearling fillies by Deep Impact and a filly foal by King Kamehameha.

Sweet Hearth, a nine-year-old American-bred Touch Gold mare who was highweighted juvenile filly in Italy and finished second in the 2009 Prix de la Foret, has produced four foals in Japan, including a yearling colt and a filly foal by Deep Impact.

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