Expectations High for Latest Addition to Japan Stallion Ranks

Great expectations are hovering over Japanese Triple Crown winner Deep Impact as he prepares for his first season at stud, with Shadai Stallion Station officials hoping he will help ignite global interest in Japanese-bred horses.

At least 150 mares are awaiting Deep Impact, who has settled in well at Shadai following his career-closing victory in the Arima Kinen on December 24 and has successfully completed test breeding.

Eisuke Tokutake, a spokesman for the Hokkaido farm, said Deep Impact, who he regards as in “a category of his own,” has the potential to sire offspring that will be “highly appreciated on a worldwide scale.

“We would be grateful to receive many foreign buyers at our Japan Racing Horse Association select sale (of foals) in July 2008, when the first crop of Deep Impact will be on sale so that his offspring will receive a chance to prove his ability on racecourses all over the world,” he said.

Depending on how Deep Impact handles his new duties, he could serve up to 180 mares, Tokutake said. Some of those already reported to be in his first book include 1997 Japanese Horse of the Year Air Groove and Mejiro Dober, a champion in each year from 1996-’99. Air Groove, a daughter of Tony Bin, already has produced a world record foal, a colt by Dance in the Dark purchased by Fusao Sekiguchi at the 2004 JRHA sale for 490 million yen ($4,537,037), an amount that was surpassed last year when a King Kamehameha filly was sold to Globe Equine Management Co. for 600 million yen ($5,217,391).

There has been so much interest in Deep Impact that applications “flooded” Shadai after the son of Sunday Silence won the Japan Cup on Nov. 26 and the farm “had to turn down all proposals since early December,” said Tokutake, who described the five-year-old out of the Alzao mare Wind in Her Hair as “an extremely composed horse” since his arrival at the farm.

Syndicated last fall for a Japanese record of 5.1 billion yen (about $42.7-million), Deep Impact is viewed by Shadai as “one of the last masterpieces” by the legendary Sunday Silence following a career in which he won 12 of 14 starts and earned $12,825,285. He and international Group 1 winner Heart’s Cry, the only Japanese horse to ever defeat Deep Impact and another son of Sunday Silence, both will be marketed aggressively by Shadai, Tokutake said.