Barbara J. Bayer

Japan's King Still Rules

The Nippon Derby (Jpn-I) was, as it is many years, a heady mix of emotional extremes. It was a day of records, dashed dreams, and tragic contradictions; a day, bright and hot, on which favorite King Kamehameha once again ruled supreme, rewriting the books with a record time of 2:23.3.

Daiwa el Cielo Posts Japanese Oaks Upset

The top picks failed to make the money in Sunday's Japanese Oaks (Jpn-I), with Daiwa el Cielo (Sunday Silence--London Bridge, by Dr Devious) emerging as the surprise victor in the 65th running of the fillies' classic at Tokyo. Daiwa el Cielo topped a full gate of 18 by three-quarters of a length, clocking 2:27.2 seconds over 2,400 meters of slightly yielding turf.

The Search for Ferdinand

By Barbara Bayer -- Over six months have passed since I reported the tragic tale of Ferdinand. When I set about getting the story, I had little idea of what it would lead to, what far-reaching repercussions the story would have as it set off a conflagration of emotion across the U.S. that spread quickly to Japan and back to me.

Favored Symboli Kris S Wins Emperor's Cup

Race favorite American-bred Symboli Kris S (Kris S.--Tee Kay, by Gold Meridian) answered fans expectations Nov. 2 with a record win of the fall version of the prestigious Emperor's Cup at Tokyo Racecourse. It was the first time in the race's 64-year history that a horse has won the fall version two years in a row, the third year in a row foreign-bred runners have topped the field.

Big Taste Takes Nakayama Grand Jump

Nakayama Racecourse was host to another group I event over the Easter weekend. April 19 saw the fifth running of the Nakayama Grand Jump, (Jpn-I) an international invitational whose field of 16 this year included six foreign participants representing four countries.

Sunday Silence Colts One-Two in Guineas

Sunday Silence progeny continued their sweep of this year's group I races as Japan's equivalent of the 2,000 Guineas, the Satsukisho (Jpn., I), went to race favorite Neo Universe (Sunday Silence -- Pointed Path, by Kris) by a head over second pick Sakura President (Sunday Silence -- Sedan Forever, by Maruzensky).

Mi Cielo Juvenile Colt Sets Course Record in Japan

Eighth pick Eishin Champ (Mi Cielo-Eishin Michigan, by Manila) pulled off a record-setting upset Dec. 8 and gave rider Yuichi Fukunaga his second group I win in a week with a neck win over Sakura President in Japan's 2-year-old colts' showcase, the Asahi Cup Futurity Stakes (Jpn-I).

Fine Motion Wows Them Again in Japan

She's Japan's new star and she's being touted as perhaps the best female Thoroughbred in the world. The Irish-bred Fine Motion (Danehill -- Cocotte, by Troy) wowed packed stands again, extending her number of winning runs to a perfect six with a victory Nov. 10 in the country's top distaff, the 2,200-meter Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Jpn-I) at Kyoto.

New Japan Star is Poetry in Motion

A new star has stepped into the spotlight for Japan. Stealing hearts and causing racing veterans to shake their heads in admiring disbelief, Irish-bred Fine Motion romped away Oct. 13 in Kyoto with a 3 1/2-length, race-record-tying win of the Shukasho (Jpn-I), the final leg of the triple crown for fillies.

Report From Japan: On-the-Scene Account of Sunday Silence's Battle

HAYAKITA, HOKKAIDO, JAPAN (August 13) -- It's the ninth anniversary of the death of Zenya Yoshida, the founder of Shadai Farm. Rain has fallen for most of the day, growing stronger toward evening and the mood is grim at Shadai Stallion Station. In a barn set back from the others, a barn that was especially built to accommodate the aging Northern Taste, Sunday Silence battles what appear to be his longest odds yet.

From the Print Edition: Gaining Admiration in Japan

Admire Don emerged as Japan's champion 2-year-old colt with a three-quarter-length win of the 1,600-meter Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (Jpn-I) at Nakayama Racecourse on Dec. 9. Unbeaten in his previous two starts, the son of Timber Country went postward a strong favorite in the 16-horse field of classic hopefuls for 2002.

Desormeaux Aboard For Historic Japanese Oaks Win

Kent Desormeaux made history at Tokyo Racecourse Sunday when he brought Lady Pastel from far back to post a neck win in a thrilling stretch drive of the filly classic Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, Jpn-I). With the win, Desormeaux, who is only the second foreigner to ride in a classic race in Japan, became the first to win one.

Japan Racing Report: Agnes Tachyon is Popular Winner

The first jewel of Japan's Triple Crown went to the fans' No. 1 choice, as Agnes Tachyon took the Satsukisho (Jpn-I) by 1 1/2 lengths April 15 at Nakayama Race Course. Agnes Tachyon (Sunday Silence--Agnes Flower, by Royal Ski) clocked 2:00.30 over the 2,000 meters of very firm turf, netting ¥97 million ($781,313 U.S.) for owner Takao Watanabe. Dantsu Flame (Brian's Time--Inter Pyrenee, by Sanquirico) crossed the line in second place, easily holding off Jungle Pocket (Tony Bin--Dance Charmer, by Nureyev).

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