Reports from different areas of Japan have so far indicated no damage to major breeding farms on Hokkaido but significant damage to racetracks and offtrack betting outlets as a result of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“There do not seem to be any reports regarding damages to stallion operations, though we cannot collect all information from farms,” wrote Yutaka Yokoyama, senior manager of the Japan Racing Association, in an e-mail to The Blood-Horse.
Yokoyama added, however, there has been significant damage to the grandstands of Fukushima and Nakayama racecourses and some OTB facilities in Northeast district in Japan. At Fukushima and Nakayama, segments of the grandstands' ceilings have fallen down.
"Some glass windows are broken at Tokyo racecourse, and you can see other damage like a water pipe explosion in our various properties," he said.
There is limited water and electricity in the eastern area, which includes Miho training center. The damage will affect training schedules. Yokoyama said no injuries have been reported to either people or horses at the racetracks.
“Also, we have heard (that) horses in a training center named Yamamoto TC, which is owned and operated by Shadai Farm, are fine as well,” he said. The training center is one of the nearest farms to the epicenter, which is located coastwise in the Miyagi area.
An earlier report from Darley Japan indicated that facility had minimal damage from the disaster.
Almost all of Japan’s breeding operations are located in Hokkaido, one of the northernmost islands of Japan and which is a considerable distance away from the epicenter. Some of the Tsunami did reach the Pacific Ocean side of Hokkaido, however, Yokoyama said.
Michael Blowen, owner of the Midway, Ky.-based Old Friends equine retirement facility, which has brought back several American stallions from that country after their stud careers have ended, said he had received positive news from officials at JBBA Stallion Station.
The farm, which is based in Hokkaido and stands Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both gr. I) winners Charismatic (1997) and Silver Charm (1999), reported that both stallions, along with the rest of the horses at that farm, were doing fine. The farm sustained some flooding due to the tsunami, but otherwise did not have any significant structural damage.