Looking Inside Yoshida's 'Jewel Box'

by Michele MacDonald

   Tucked away on a quiet corner of Shadai Farm on Japan’s island of Hokkaido is a broodmare barn known as “Terry’s Jewel Box.”

     When a visitor to Teruya Yoshida’s more than 1,200-acre nursery gets a peek inside this barn, the meaning of the nickname is immediately clear. The mares who live here are all gems of the rarest kind, grade or group I winners or producers from around the globe, including the United States.

     They are all celebrities of the female equine kind; their names are familiar to anyone who follows racing and many of them have cost Yoshida more than $1 million.

     As they are led out one by one to have their photos taken, the power of the Yoshida brothers in today’s Thoroughbred industry becomes increasingly clear. For several years, both Teruya and his younger brother, Katsumi, have been buying the crème dela crème of mares at auction and privately as they pursue their goal of breeding racehorses that will be the best in the world.

     Among the many young residents of the jewel box is Pennsylvania-bred Sahpresa, a now seven-year-old daughter of Sahm and the Pleasant Tap mare Sorpresa who traveled to France as a juvenile. From there, she embarked on a European career capped by three consecutive victories in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (Eng-gr. I) from 2009-2011, six placings in group I races in Japan, Hong Kong and France, and earnings of more than $2 million.

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      Sahpresa is one of the more than two dozen mares that Teruya Yoshida has sent this season to first-season Shadai Stallion Station headliner Victoire Pisa, who scored Japan’s most significant victory in international competition when he won the $10 million Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (UAE-gr. I) last year.

Victoire Pisa
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     “He has gotten about 160 mares this year in his first season, and I sent many good ones to him,” Yoshida said. “He is an internationally proven racehorse and he is going to have a good chance (at stud).”  

     Another of the mares in the jewel box who is in foal to Victoire Pisa, a son of Neo Universe bred by Yoshida who earned titles as Japanese champion male in both his three- and four-year-old seasons, is Princess Olivia, the dam of I’ll Have Another’s sire Flower Alley.

Princess Olivia
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      An $825,000 Keeneland November purchase in 2005, Princess Olivia already has produced in Japan the stakes-winning full brothers by Deep Impact named Tosen Ra, a Japanese classic-placed earner of more than $1.8 million, and Spielberg, a three-year-old who has banked more than $618,000 to date.

      Other gleaming jewels in Yoshida’s barn include a trio of group I winners, all bred for the first time this year and now in foal to Deep Impact, who currently is the world’s leading sire by progeny earnings with his oldest offspring just four. They are:

•    Lily of the Valley, by Galileo, winner of seven consecutive races in France, including the 2010 Prix de l’Opera (gr. I) over Stacelita, who went on to become America’s champion turf female last year. Stacelita may well wind up in the jewel box herself as she also was acquired late last year by Yoshida, who opted to breed her to Smart Strike in Kentucky this season;

•    Dubawi Heights, by Dubawi, who won the 2011 Gamely (gr. I) and Yellow Ribbon (gr. I) Stakes in California and was a $1.6 million acquisition at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale, and

Dubawi Heights
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•    French champion Sarafina, a daughter of Refuse To Bend bred and raced by the Aga Khan who won three group I events including the Prix de Diane (French Oaks). In just her fifth career start, she finished third against males as a three-year-old in the 2010 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (gr. I), behind only Epsom Derby (Eng-gr. I) winner Workforce, who just completed his first season with about 150 mares at the Shadai Stallion Station, and Japan’s Nakayama Festa, by Sunday Silence’s international group I winner and now top Japanese sire Stay Gold. In separate races last year, Sarafina defeated eventual Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) hero St Nicholas Abbey and British Champion Stakes (gr. I) winner Cirrus des Aigles, and she banked more than $2.2 million.

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       While the jewels are brilliant sparklers, Yoshida’s vast mare holdings also include many other stars in many other Shadai barns. It is much the same at Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm, where the likes of Horse of the Year Azeri, champion Stardom Bound, Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) winner Wonder Lady Anne L, Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Lilacs and Lace, Eclipse Award finalist Hilda’s Passion and numerous others reside, but that is a story for another day.

       All told, the Shadai Group consisting of Shadai and Northern Farms and the Oiwake Farm of youngest brother Haruya Yoshida, as well as their jointly-held Shiraoi Farm, maintains about 1,500 mares.

       Here is a brief sampling of some of Teruya Yoshida’s many other Shadai jewels and their status after the breeding season:

•    Dalicia, dam of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Animal Kingdom, produced a colt this year by Yoshida-bred Heart’s Cry, another international group I winner by Sunday Silence, and is back in foal to Deep Impact;

Dalicia, dam of Animal Kingdom, and her 2012 colt by Heart's Cry
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•    Laragh, a daughter of Tapit who won the 2008 Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I), foaled a colt by Deep Impact in March and is back in foal to him;

Laragh and her 2012 colt by Deep Impact
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•    Ollagua, a daughter of Pure Prize who was twice a champion in her native Argentina and won five group I races, delivered a filly by Smart Strike on Valentine’s Day and is now in foal to Stay Gold;

•    Canadian grade I and English group I winner Serious Attitude, by Mtoto, a $1.85 million purchase at Fasig-Tipton in 2010, is in foal to Deep Impact after producing her first foal, a Zenno Rob Roy colt, this year;

•    2010 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. I) winner Ave, a $1.4-million Keeneland January purchase, delivered her first foal, a Deep Impact colt, on April 1;

•    Gabby’s Golden Gal, winner of the 2009 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) and a $1.25-million acquisition at Fasig-Tipton in 2010, had her first foal, a filly by Heart’s Cry, in April;

•    Dynaformer’s daughter Gozzip Girl, winner of the 2009 American Oaks Invitational Stakes (gr. I), this spring delivered a black colt by Deep Impact, her first foal;

•    Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French One Thousand Guineas) (Fr-gr. I) winner Rose Gypsy, by Green Desert, was bred to Victoire Pisa after foaling a Zenno Rob Roy filly;

•    Oaks d’Italia (Ity-gr. I) winner Dionisia, by Tejano Run, was also sent to Victoire Pisa following the death of her 2012 foal by Deep Impact;

•    Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) winner Buy the Sport, by Devil’s Bag, a $1.4 million purchase at the 2007 Keeneland November sale, visited Victoire Pisa after foaling a colt by Neo Universe in February that sold for $765,432 at the Japan Racing Horse Association sale in July, and

•    Air Thule, dam of 2008 Japanese classic winner Captain Thule, was bred to Victoire Pisa after foaling a Deep Impact filly in April.


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