Mares in Japan Part 3: American Royalty, with Kate Hunter

Journalist Kate Hunter continues her visit with mares in Japan.

Like any big breeding operation, the Yoshida brothers are looking for mares who have performed at the highest level and impressively so. Turf has always been the most important surface in Japan, but they know, better than most, that a dirt horse can rule the turf. Case and point: Sunday Silence. So top level dirt mares are not excluded when the Yoshida brothers go shopping.

These American mares were treated with the utmost love and kindness while I was there. There were always 3 or 4 people working consistently throughout the day at each of the dozens of broodmare barns owned by the Yoshidas. Few of the 15 horses I saw were kept in the same barn. Combined the brothers have over 1300 broodmares, but each barn of 10 to 20 broodmares was pristine with handlers that cooed at and loved all over them.

Stardom Bound (2006, Tapit x My White Corvette, Tarr Road) was 2008 Eclipse Award Champion 2 Year Old Filly after scoring three G1 wins that year including the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She won two more G1s during her career and was bought privately by Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm in 2010 while in foal to Big Brown, and produced a colt last year. She gave birth to a King Kamehameha colt this spring before being bred to Deep Impact. Unfortunately she is not in foal this year. Her sale price was never disclosed to the public and when I asked what it was, my response was a big smile and a shake of the head. I guess we will never know!


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 Ginger Punch (2003, Awesome Again (CAN) x Nappelon (CAN), Bole Revenue (CAN)) who won five G1 races including the 2007 Breeders' Cup Distaff, which led to her being named the 2007 Eclipse Award Champion Older Female. Northern Farm bought her for $1.6 million at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale while in foal to Bernardini. The resulting foal, was the filly Ginger Mist, who raced for the first time on September 17th. Her second foal is a Zenno Rob Roy filly and her 2011 foal is a Manhattan Cafe filly. She is currently in foal to Deep Impact. You can be sure I'll visit her next year too. I was a big fan and really want to see a little Ginger Impact!

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 Azeri (1998, Jade Robbery x Zodiac Miss (AUS), Ahonoora (GB)) is known by all in the US as the 2002 Horse of the Year, a rare honor for a female. She was an Eclipse Award Champion Older Female for three consecutive years from 2002 to 2004. She produced 3 foals in the US before being bought by Northern Farm at the 2009 Keeneland November sale for $2.25 million while in foal to Distorted Humor. Her Distorted Humor filly is preparing for her debut later this year and is rumored, she still isn't registered, to be named Amelie. Azeri has a 2011 Zenno Rob Roy colt that sold for 84 million yen (over $1 million) at the 2012 JRHA Select Sale. She was not bred in 2012 because she foaled in May. They put her under light therapy and gave her the year off. She was bred to Deep Impact this season and has been confirmed in foal. That is another baby I absolutely want to see next spring! I was allowed to give her a good scratch and made sure to tell her it was from all of her fans back in the US.

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Leave a Comment:


Does the Ginger Punch baby have white on her shoulder? Interesting color.

So great to hear an update on all these regal ladies, and love seeing their babies. Hopefully some of the sales will bring some of these future stars back to the US eventually.

19 Dec 2012 4:44 PM

Gosh, hard to believe that Azeri is 14 now, almost 15!  Thanks for the picture of her. It's nice to see our favorite girls.

19 Dec 2012 5:59 PM
Karen in Texas

I appreciate the reports on these lovely mares! Thanks so much!

19 Dec 2012 6:34 PM
Past The Grandstand

I love this! These are some of my favorite mares. Thank you so much for this post.

19 Dec 2012 8:24 PM
Kate Hunter

Ginger Punch's baby had a rash or a scratch (can't remember which) and they shaved it's shoulder so they could treat it. As you can tell, it is all healed up in the photo. They take their equine care seriously.

19 Dec 2012 8:50 PM

Beautiful photos. Glad to see these grand ladies doing well. Small correction, Azeri is by Jade Hunter, not Robbery. Thank you for sharing.

19 Dec 2012 9:03 PM
J D 1

Lovely photos. Do you have any photos of Stardom Bound's Big Brown colt. I am curious how he is doing and what he looks like.

19 Dec 2012 9:08 PM

Thanks, Kate. Now that you say that, I can totally see what you mean. I was getting excited thinking she threw loud colored babies :)

19 Dec 2012 9:19 PM
Mary Jo in Florida

Kate, I always love your articles and pictures. If you can, please keep us posted on Tapitsfly in the future. She is a favorite of mine. It is too bad that it is so difficult to get information on the mares once they leave the track, no matter what country they go to since fans really want to know how they are doing.

20 Dec 2012 8:08 PM

Thank you for the photos and article on these lovely mares.  Good, IHA has some fine possible dating candidates over there.  Ginger Punch and Azeri are real beauties and the foals are precious.  I did not realize that Azeri was that old already either or even in Japan.  What I think has to happen in breeding though is for us to start importing huge talent here from other countries, not us exporting all over the place.

Happy Holidays to all.

20 Dec 2012 10:13 PM

Kate, I wonder if you saw Dubai Majesty at Yoshida's North Farm?  It broke my heart when she was sold just a day or 2 after winning her BC Sprint.  She's such a magnificent-looking mare, really something special...

22 Dec 2012 1:22 PM

Kate, beautiful photos.

Now.....we can all bow our heads and think about Ferdinand (Ky Derby winner '86).  Remember how he was sold to slaughter only to end up on dinner plates? His Japanese owner thought he would be more profitable as a tasty treat.  No way to treat a Ky Derby winner!

My what a short memory we have in this country.

NOT a big fan of ANY horse being moved to Japan, sorry.

24 Dec 2012 1:28 PM

thank you for these beautiful photos of our wonderful American girls.  I do hope the owners take note of how many of us are still very interested in how they are doing.  Lovely mares and babies.  These three especially are so dear to our hearts.

24 Dec 2012 1:51 PM

Love the article.  My champion mare, Musical Romance, was just purchased and sent to the Yoshida farm.  How can I get some news on her?  Is she OK and who are they going to breed her to?  I would love to hear about her.

24 Dec 2012 7:25 PM
Stellar Jayne

Hi Kate,

Thank you so much for the update on Stardom Bound, she was a great racing filly!  She looks so good and happy.  Her foal is just gorgeous!  Looks to have good bone already.  It just warmed my heart this holiday season to see them both.

Love seeing Ginger Punch and her adorable foal also!  They look so healthy and well cared for.  Brings tears to my eyes.  She was great on the track and I hope her babies will be very successful as well.

Azeri has maintained that Look of Eagles, she is a beauty!  Any news on how her earlier babies are faring on the racing ovals?

Thank you so very much for the updates on these three beautiful queens of racing and current pictures of them and some of their babies.

I wish you Happy Holidays and a  Healthy and Happy 2013.

24 Dec 2012 10:14 PM

Ferdinand should never be forgotten I hope the Yoshida brothers  realize this.

25 Dec 2012 6:50 AM

Which Stardom Bound colt is that in the pic?  Tapit or King Kamehameha... looks like he'll turn into a grey ?

27 Dec 2012 11:13 PM

Beautiful photos.  Stardom Bound's foal is gorgeous.  My favorite is Azeri I had forgotten she was over there.  I suppose even though Ferdinand is gone, the horses that are over there are safer now?  "Unfortunately she (Stardom Bound) isn't in foal this year" sounds strange because am I the only one that thinks a mare has to be in foal until she is pensioned is excessive???  I would hate to be a filly.  I've seen birth videos and feel so bad mares have to go through that EVERY year, just about.  Again gorgeous pictures.  I sure would like to keep tabs on Stardom Bound's foal (shown).

28 Dec 2012 6:34 PM
Kate Hunter

I am glad you all liked the updates. I hope to be able to do it again in a year or two.

Just a quick word to the anti-Japan crowd,

The Yoshidas had nothing to do with Ferdinand's sale to Japan, his stud career, or his untimely death. They offer forever homes to their mares/stallions.

Pretty much ALL Japanese stud farms now provide forever homes for their pensioned stallions.

There was ONE man who made the call on Ferdinand's life and he is the one to blame, not the country itself.

Let's not throw stones in glass houses shall we? Once America has a safe, loving home for every single OTTB, then you can attack the other countries, that you don't know anything about. Until you have lived here, worked with the people in Japan, you can't, with ANY authority, judge them, OK?

02 Jan 2013 9:30 PM

can you find info on a mare I used to train at turf paradise.she was sold to japan.her name is rapidasharina a close relative to curling. thanks

10 May 2013 11:58 PM

You were rather harsh, and possibly naive, in your response to willie1 Ms. Hunter. He is quite right to suggest the maintenance of a watchful policy towards Japanese breeders.

You are quite correct that the Yoshidas are very good horse farmers, as are the Okadas, the Paca Pacas, the Shimokobes and several others, all of which are best practice farms and treat their animals as well as you could expect anywhere in the world.

But for every one of them, there are possibly dozens of local farms that are still in the Dark Ages, who routinely mistreat, abuse and malnourish their horses.  And have absolutely no qualms about simply selling them off to the pet food factory when they are no longer productive. Or worse - and believe me, I have seen a lot worse.

Ferdinand should be remembered particularly, and kept in the forefront of thinking, because without his case, many more sad cases would have occurred. Another one closer to home, and even sadder in some ways, was the great Criminal Type. A deal had been done to get him back to the Old Friends Farm in Kentucky, but it was stretched by a greedy and very stupid owner who stretched the terms to try to get one more foal out of him before he went - and in the intervening period the years of abuse in the form of chronic malnourishment and other mistreatment caught up with him and he died of a ruptured stomach ulcer.

You are right to be optimistic about the future, but history says that the Japanese as a nation often respond best to outside pressure. You always need, as willie1 suggests, to keep one eye on the present and past.  And often you can see that sort of thing much better when you remove the rose colored glasses.

Thank you for the beautiful photos.  

06 Dec 2013 3:29 AM

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