Deep Impact collected 287 of a possible 289 (97.9%) total votes in winning the 2006 Japanese Racing Association's Horse of the Year Award for the second year in a row.
The retired champion exceeded his total of 285 out of 291 in 2005. The Sunday Silence colt is the fourth horse in JRA history to claim the Horse of the Year title in back-to-back years, joining Hoyo Boy (1980/1981), Symboli Rudolf (1984/1985) and Symboli Kris S (2002/2003).
After a remarkable 3-year-old season in 2005 when he claimed all three Triple Crown races and was undefeated in all but the Arima Kinen (Jpn-I), Deep Impact kicked off his 4-year-old campaign with three wins (two gr. I and one gr. II).
He then went to race in Europe and, though he was unable to give his best performance overseas, he returned to Japan and scored convincing victories in his last two runs – the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) and the Arima Kinen (Jpn-I) – before retiring.
Deep Impact was also just one vote short of a unanimous selection as the JRA’s Best 4-Year-Old Colt. The lone vote was cast for Daiwa Major, who captured two grade I titles during the year and was named the season’s Best Sprinter or Miler title with 200 votes.
Tsutomu Setoguchi trained two award winners in 2006, his last season before retirement. He saddled Best 3-Year-Old Meisho Samson to victory in two of the Triple Crown races and also captured the principle steeplechase event with Maruka Rascal, voted best in that division.
Nine out of 11 awards given to horses this year were won by vote totals exceeding 200. The only marginally close vote was for Best Dirt Horse, won by Alondite (143 votes) over runner-up Blue Concorde (94 votes), who also was a group I winner, but was defeated to ninth to Alondite in the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I).
Trainer Hideyuki Mori captured his fourth JRA annual award, while fellow trainers Yasutoshi Ikee and Hiroyoshi Matsuda received their first awards. Jockey Yutaka Take, although unable to extend his streak of more than 200 victories to four seasons, was the clear winner among national jockeys with 184 wins and nearly 4.8 billion yen in purses. He has earned at least one JRA award in 17 different years since being named the Best Newcomer Jockey in 1987, and has claimed nine JRA Grand Prize Jockey awards for leading in wins, winning percentage and purses.
2006 JRA Award Winners
Horse of the Year: Deep Impact (JPN)
Best Older Colt or Horse: Deep Impact (JPN
Best 2-Year-Old Colt: Dream Journey (JPN)
Best 2-Year-Old Filly: Vodka (JPN)
Best 3-Year-Old Colt: Meisho Samson (JPN)
Best 3-Year-Old Filly: Kawakami Princess (JPN)
Best Horse By Homebred Sire: Kawakami Princess (JPN)
Best Older Filly or Mare: Dance in the Mood (JPN)
Best Sprinter or Miler: Daiwa Major (JPN)
Best Dirt Horse: Alondite (JPN)
Best Steeplechase Horse: Maruka Rascal (JPN)
Best Trainer: Hideyuki Mori (Training Technique); Yasutoshi Ikee (Winning Avg.); Hiroyoshi Matsuda (Earnings)
Grand Prize Jockey: Yutaka Take
Best Jockey: Yutaka Take (Wins, Winning Avg., Earnings; Makoto Nishitani (Steeplechase)