Bloodlines Presented By Mill Ridge Farm: Dubai World Cup Success Pays Off Decades-Long Investment For Japan’s Breeders by Frank Mitchell|03.30.2022|11:32am Japan-based Crown Pride wins UAE Derby The story of the 2022 Dubai World Cup was the string of successes earned by the racehorses and highly adventurous owners from Japan. They won five races on the card and placed in several others, including a third in the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup itself. The victors were Bathrat Leon (Godolphin Mile), Stay Foolish (Dubai Gold Cup), Crown Pride (UAE Derby), Panthalassa (Dubai Turf in a dead-heat with Lord North), and Shahryar (Dubai Sheema Classic). Of the eight principal events, racers from Japan won five, were second in the Golden Shaheen with Red le Zele (by Lord Kanaloa), and third in the World Cup with Chuwa Wizard (King Kamehameha), who had been second in the World Cup last year as a 6-year-old. A string of successes such as this is akin to the multiple stakes wins by jockey Pat Day on the 1989 Kentucky Derby card, Frankie Dettori's Magnificent Seven, or the Phipps family breeding and racing six of the eight national juvenile champions of 1964 through 1967 in the U.S. All these are extremely difficult to achieve, nearly impossible to duplicate. All these accomplishments also possess several common characteristics: an intense focus on achievement, a consistent development of outstanding athleticism, and a determination to be the best. In the case of Thoroughbred breeders in Japan, there is also a decades-long investment in purchasing the best bloodstock available. Even though the program had started many years before and continues to the present, the most important single purchase came more than 30 years ago, when Zenya Yoshida purchased 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Sunday Silence (Halo) after Arthur Hancock had been unable to syndicate the wildly talented Horse of the Year in the U.S. during the Great Bloodstock Depression. Sunday Silence became the greatest sire in the history of breeding racehorses in Japan, and he is in the pedigree of four of the five winners bred in Japan on World Cup day. Sunday Silence's near-contemporary and breeding rival King Kamehameha (Kingmambo) and his high-class son Lord Kanaloa also proved a major influence on the day, particularly in connection with Sunday Silence and his sons. In part as a result of the influence of these two world-class stallions, Sunday Silence and King Kamehameha, Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Japan is on a par with any in the world. One could, in fact, make a strong case that the breeding there is the best in the world. And why would that be, a curious reader might ask? In addition to the stunning exceptionalism of Sunday Silence and his sons, another large part of the equation is the willingness by breeders in Japan to buy first-class mares out of the top of the bloodstock market around the world. That is how G1 winner Wind in Her Hair (Alzao) went to Japan, where she produced Black Tide, the sire of champion Kitasan Black, and Black Tide's full brother Deep Impact, who became the most successful sire by Sunday Silence and his internationally important heir. That is how G1 winner Saratoga Dew (Cormorant) went to Japan. Bred in New York by Penny Chenery, Saratoga Dew was a $10,000 sale yearling who won eight of 11 starts, including the G1 Beldame and Gazelle; was named champion 3-year-old filly of 1992; and then, in foal to leading sire Storm Cat, sold for $850,000 at the 1995 Keeneland November sale. The resulting foal, Lady Blossom, was born the following year in Japan and won five of 24 starts. Lady Blossom produced Lord Kanaloa in 2008; he won 13 of 19 starts, approximately $9.8 million, and is one of the best stallions in Japan. His son Panthalassa won the Dubai Turf. Annually, dozens more mares of quality pedigree and performance have been going into the breeding pool in Japan for decades. Last year alone, approximately four dozen broodmares were acquired for export to Japan. One of these was the Tapit G2 stakes winner Pink Sands, who sold for $2.3 million in foal to Into Mischief; the buyer was Masahiro Miki. In 2019, G1 Alabama Stakes winner Eskimo Kisses (To Honor and Serve), in foal to leading sire Curlin, sold for $2.3 million to Shadai Farm. This is a thoroughly logical program of buying the best producers and performers in an effort to breed the best racehorses in the world. And it works. From the Roaring Twenties into the leadup to World War II and afterward, breeders in America bought some of the best bloodstock in Europe. Sir Gallahad III, his brother Bull Dog, St. Germans, Pharamond, his brother Sickle, Blenheim, his son Mahmoud, Alibhai, Heliopolis, Nasrullah, Royal Charger, his son Turn-to, Ribot, Sea-Bird, and many others came across the Atlantic to enrich breeding and racing here in the States. American breeders purchased mares enough to fill the paddocks from Lexington to Paris, Ky. We know that such a logical approach works because American breeders have already proved that it works.