T.M. Opera O, Japan's Horse of the Year winning the Japan Cup.<br> <br>

T.M. Opera O, Japan's Horse of the Year winning the Japan Cup.

Japan Cup Winner Unanimous as Country's Best Horse

Japanese superhorse T.M. Opera O was the unanimous choice for 2000 Horse of the Year in his native country, according to the list of champion released by the Japan Racing Association. A son of Opera House, T.M. Opera received all 296 votes for Horse of the Year. Winner of the Japan Cup (Jpn-I), T. M. Opera O was undefeated in eight starts last year, with earnings of ¥1,036,004,000 (about US$9,466,254) as he was also named champion older horse.

When he won the Japan Cup, T.M. Opera O became the richest horse in Japanese racing with 1,216,477,000 yen (more than $11 million in converted earnings). That exceeds the North American earnings record held by Cigar of $9,999,815 and the previous Japanese record of 1,092,623,000 yen won by Special Week. The horse closed out his 2000 season with a victory in the Arima Kinen (Jpn-I) and has won 12 of 19 career starts, with earnings of US$12,677,309.

2000 Japan Champions

Horse of the Year, Best Older Horse: T.M. Opera O (1996 horse, Opera House--Once Wed, by Blushing Groom)
Best 2-year-old colt: Mejiro Bailey (Sunday Silence--Reru du Temps, by Maruzensky)
Best 2-year-old filly: T.M. Ocean (Dancing Brave-- River Girl, by Rivlia)
Best 3-year-old colt: Air Shakur (Sunday Silence--I Dreamed a Dream, by Well Decorated)
Best 3-year-old filly: Cheers Grace (Sunday Silence--Cheers Flower, by Al Nasr)
Best Older Mare: Phalaenopsis (1995 mare, Brian's Time--Catequil, by Storm Cat)
Best Dirt Horse: Wing Arrow (1995 horse, Assatis--Sanyo Arrow, by Mr C B)
Best steeplechaser: Gokai (1993 horse, Judge Angelucci--Yu Miroku, by Katsurano Haiseiko)
Best Sprinter, Best Horse Sired by Domestically (Japan) Bred Sire: Daitaku Yamato (1994 horse, Daitaku Helios--Daitaku Brains, by Tesco Bay)