Sunday Break's impressive victory in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) did more than solidify the chances of a potential spoiler in War Emblem's Triple Crown bid. The Neil Drysdale-trained colt notched a big milestone for the Japanese breeding industry when he became the first horse bred in Japan to win a graded stakes race in the United States. Ten or 15 years ago a Japanese-bred winning such a race would have been accompanied by great fanfare. A contingent of racing writers and photographers from Japan would have been on hand, and members of a Sunday Break fan club might have traveled from Tokyo to cheer the horse on. Such wasn't the case for the Peter Pan. Sunday Break has only raced in the U.S., having been sent from breeder/owner Koji Maeda's farm in Japan to Drysdale before his career debut in California last fall. So the Forty Niner colt never developed a following in Japan.
Besides, Japanese horses winning major races abroad isn't that big a deal anymore in Japan. They've won in Europe, Dubai, and Hong Kong, and it was just a matter of time before they won in the U.S. Still, Maeda called it his "big American dream" to win a major stakes in the U.S. with a horse he bred in his homeland. He's watched Japanese baseball players like Ichiro Suzuki succeed in the U.S., and saw no reason the same could not be true with horses. Maeda has 120 in training in Japan, but Sunday Break is his only runner in the U.S. Other Japanese horsemen soon will try to follow in Maeda's footsteps. Leading trainer Kazuo Fujisawa is pointing several horses for Arlington's three grade I races Aug. 17, the Million, Secretariat, and Beverly D. Stakes. Eyeing the Secretariat are the two-three finishers in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, Jpn-I), the Kris S. colt Symboli Kris and the Sunday Silence colt Machikane Akatsuki. Fujisawa has the Million in mind for the Seattle Slew colt Matikane Kinnohosi, and the Beverly D. for the Sunday Silence filly Diamond Biko. Sunday Break will not be the nation's one-hit wonder.