Katharine F. Hunter

Vodka Repeats as Japan Horse of the Year

Five-year-old mare received 246 of 287 total votes for top title

For the second year in a row, top race mare Vodka was voted Horse of the Year in Japan, becoming the first female to win the title twice.

Vodka, who has seven grade/group I victories to her credit, was also a unanimous selection Best Older Filly or Mare after winning three grade I races last year. In addition to securing her second Horse of the Year title, Vodka became the first female Japanese runner to capture the Japan Cup (Jpn-I). Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii said the 5-year-old mare will be retired this year after competing in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan in March, according to a release from the Japan Racing Association.
In the Horse of the Year polling by racing writers for horses that are registered by the JRA, Vodka garnered 246 votes, easily outdistancing second-place finisher Dream Journey, who received 26 votes on the basis of his two grade I wins in 2009. He was also voted Best Older Colt of Horse.
The JRA Awards for 2009 were:
2-Year-Old Colt—Rose Kingdom
2-Year-Old Filly—Apapane
3-Year-Old Colt—Logi Universe
3-Year-Old Filly—Buena Vista
Older Colt or Horse—Dream Journey
Sprinter or Miler—Laurel Guerreiro
Dirt Horse—Espoir City
Steeplechase Horse—King Joy
Horse of the Year/Older Filly or mare--Vodka
Special Award (given only in years where it is determined a horse displayed outstanding performance beyond the other specific categories)—Company, a two-time grade I winner in 2009 at age 8