Vodka Voted Japan's Horse of the Year

Edited press release

Vodka, a 4-year-old filly who won two grade I stakes against horses of all ages and of both genders, became the first filly/mare to claim the Japan Racing Association’s Horse of the Year title in 11 years. The filly received 180 of 300 total votes as she became the third distaffer, following Tomei (1971) and Air Groove (1997), to receive Japan’s top award. Vodka was also honored as top older filly/mare.

Second in the voting was Daiwa Scarlet with 79 votes, followed by Deep Sky.

Vodka, who the Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I) and Tenno Sho Autmn (Jpn-I) in seven starts, completed her season with a third in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) and is being prepared to begin her 5-year-old season in Dubai.

Six out of 10 awards presented to horses this year were won by vote totals exceeding 200, among which Deep Sky was unanimously voted best 3-year-old colt and Kane Hekili made a successful comeback to reclaim his first best dirt horse title since 2005. All of the award winners were bred in Japan.

Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee reached the top of the leader board to claim his first JRA trainer’s award for races won, adding to the winning average award he earned in 2006. Hideaki Fujiwara took his second consecutive winning average award and Katsuhiko Sumii won his second title for money earned, the first coming in 2005.

Superstar jockey Yutaka Take maintained his position as the leading jockey in races won and winning average, while Yasunari Iwata concluded the season with the largest total for purses. Makoto Nishitani reached the milestone of 100 wins over obstacles to claim his third consecutive steeplechase jockey title.

Jockey Kosei Miura broke Take’s longstanding record of 69 wins in a debut season in March 2008, and then went on to smash the old mark by more than 20 with 91 total victories.

The Equine Culture Award, which recognizes noteworthy achievements and contributions to Japanese equine culture, was presented to “It’s Another Day in the Life of Racing: a travel column for race lovers,” a book in which Takeshi Kamewada details his travels to nationwide and overseas racetracks, big and small, as well as the towns and people he experienced along the way

2008 JRA Awards
HORSE OF THE YEAR and BEST OLDER FILLY OR MARE:
VODKA
4-year-old, filly, by Tanino Gimlet-Tanino Sister (Rousillon)
Owner: Yuzo Tanimizu
Breeder: Country Bokujo
Trainer: Katsuhiko Sumii

BEST 2-YEAR-OLD COLT:
SEIUN WONDER
2-year-old, colt, by Grass Wonder-Seiun Kunoichi (Sunday Silence)
Owner: Takao Otani
Breeder: Yukifumi Tsutsui
Trainer: Masazo Ryoke
2008 Wins / Starts: 3 / 4
Career Wins / Starts: 3 / 4
2008 Earnings: ¥104,550,000

BEST 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY:
BUENA VISTA
2-year-old, filly, by Special Week-Biwa Heidi (Caerleon)
Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder: Northern Farm
Trainer: Hiroyoshi Matsuda

BEST 3-YEAR-OLD COLT:
DEEP SKY
3-year-old, colt, by Agnes Tachyon-Abi (Chief’s Crown)
Owner: Toshio Fukami
Breeder: Kasamatsu Bokujo
Trainer: Mitsugu Kon

BEST 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY:
LITTLE AMAPOLA
3-year-old, filly, by Agnes Tachyon-Little Harmony (Commander in Chief)
Owner: Shadai Race H.
Breeder: Shiraoi Farm
Trainer: Hiroyuki Nagayama

BEST OLDER COLT OR HORSE:
SCREEN HERO
4-year-old, colt, by Grass Wonder-Running Heroine (Sunday Silence)
Owner: Teruya Yoshida
Breeder: Shadai Farm
Trainer: Yuichi Shikato

BEST SPRINTER OR MILER:
SLEEPLESS NIGHT
4-year-old, filly, by Kurofune / What Katy Did (Nureyev)
Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Breeder: Northern Farm
Trainer: Kojiro Hashiguchi

BEST DIRT HORSE:
KANE HEKILI
6-year-old, horse, by Fuji Kiseki-Life Out There (Deputy Minister)
Owner: Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd
Breeder: Northern Farm
Trainer: Katsuhiko Sumii

BEST STEEPLECHASE HORSE:
KING JOY
6-year-old, horse, by Marvelous Sunday-Princess Able (Jade Robbery)
Owner: Takao Matsuoka
Breeder: Kawakami Bokujo
Trainer: Yutaka Masumoto
 

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