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June 22, 2020 (Mon)

2020 Freshmen Sires Preview

June brings with it the first two-year-old races in the JRA. While the NAR has had over 50 of juvenile races over the past two months, the two-year-old program for the JRA always begins in June after the pentacle of the three-year-old racing season is over, the G1 Japanese Derby at the end of May. With the beginning of the juvenile season comes with it, the latest group of freshman sires.

2019 brought with it several very exciting stallions. Kizuna(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) ended the year on top. The racing and breeding world gave a huge sigh of relief when Kizuna(JPN) started producing a decent number of winners and graded stakes winners. Deep Impact(JPN) death last year came when he had yet to leave a legacy in the breeding shed as he had on the track. Kizuna(JPN)'s first crop has continued to impress as three-year-olds, and even though they didn't capture any classic races, he did have several winners in the prep races leading up to those races. Second in the rankings last year was Epiphaneia(JPN) by Symboli Kris S(USA), and his impact on the classic season with his dual classic winning filly Daring Tact(JPN) has set him up to be a very promising young stallion. Real Impact(JPN) by Deep Impact(JPN) was third in the rankings last year but was the first son of Deep Impact(JPN) to sire a G1 winner, his son Lauda Sion(JPN) who won the G1 NHK Mile in May. These three young stallions have made their impact with their first crop, so let's look at what 2020's Freshman Sire Crop has to offer.

Two of the biggest names on the list are six-time G1 winner Maurice(JPN) by Screen Hero(JPN) and three-time G1 winner & G1 Japanese Derby winner Duramente(JPN) by King Kamehameha(JPN). Maurice(JPN) has not had a runner before June, but it is hard to imagine he won't have the best of opportunities to perform well after having covered mares like Oaks winners Gentildonna(JPN), Shinhalite(JPN), and Buena Vista(JPN) as well as multiple G1 winner Verxina(JPN) and multiple graded stakes winner Donau Blue(JPN) who is also Gentildonna's full sister all in his first season. Overall he has 176 registered foals to look forward to watching on the track.

Duramente(JPN) has had a few runners in the NAR as of the first of June and one winner. As a son of King Kamehameha(JPN), there are relatively decent odds he will perform well. Lord Kanaloa(JPN) and Rulership(JPN) were both leading freshman sires when their first crops debuted. History is on his side to be a successful stallion. With 189 registered foals in his first crop, there will be many opportunities for him to continue his sire's record of being the sire of sires.

King Kamehameha(JPN) produced a lot of quality racehorses in his day, and with his pensioning and passing last year; he had already beaten Deep Impact(JPN) in producing proven stallions. He has three other big-name horses other than Duramente(JPN) to look forward to. Lovely Day(JPN) has a lengthy resume of quality performances in graded stakes and G1s between 2012 and 2016 over distances from 1400 to 2400m. Such a versatile and sound horse has great potential at stud. Lovely Day(JPN) has 101 registered foals in his first crop. Hokko Tarumae(JPN) was one of the best dirt horses in the past decade, winning 10 G1s and JPN1s. After two months of juvenile races in the NAR, he is already in second place on the 2020 freshman sire rankings. A promising start to a very talented dirt horse with 110 registered foals going to the track this year. Leontes(JPN) will have a lot to live up to after his half brother Epiphaneia(JPN)'s first crop's success over the past year. He has had only one runner, but that colt has already placed in one of his three starts. He has the blue-blooded pedigree to be a really promising stallion and has 133 registered foals in his first crop.

King Kamehameha(JPN) passed last year after he had been formally pensioned from stallion duty, but Deep Impact(JPN) was at the height of his power when we lost him to a neck injury last year. Luckily for him, two of his sons Kizuna(JPN) and Real Impact(JPN), have been performing well over the past year. This gives hope that with the limited number of colts who have gone to stud recently and could go in the next few years that one or more of them will be able to live up to his tremendous ability to produce champion racehorses. He has three top-notch sons with their first crops debuting this year, though they don't have the crop sizes you would expect to see. A Shin Hikari(JPN) might be the highest-profile of the bunch, a G1 winner in Hong Kong, and France, the flashy grey who, like Kizuna(JPN), is from the highly successful cross of Deep Impact(JPN) and a Storm Cat(JPN) mare. As of the first of June, he already has had his first winner in the NAR but has a relatively small crop of only 53 registered foals in his first crop. Mikki Isle(JPN) was a G1 winning miler who missed out on becoming Deep Impact(JPN)'s first G1 winning sprinter by just a head. He has not had any runners yet and has a first crop of 72 registered foals. Danon Shark(JPN) was hitting the track long after many of his contemporaries had retired to stud, racing until he was eight years old. With only 28 registered foals, he is going to be at a slight disadvantage, but after seven seasons racing soundly on the track at the highest level and winning a G1 to boot, there is no reason he can't have a successful stallion career.

There are also four foreign-bred stallions of note making their debut this year. Asia Express(USA) was bought as a two-year-old in training and raced exclusively in Japan. He is a son of Henny Hughes(USA), who was himself imported into Japan after his son's success. That success was pretty impactful as he was the 2012 Champion Two-Year-Old after winning the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity on turf, and the following year he also won the G3 Leopard Stakes on dirt. This dual surface success has been a highlight in some of Henny Hughes(USA)'s Japanese-born progeny and likely helped attract a wide variety of mares to the young stallion. He has already had a winner in the NAR as of the first of June and has 118 registered first crop foals on the way to the races.

Creator(USA) by Tapit(USA) is registered as CreatorII(USA) in Japan since he is the second stallion of that name to stand here. Creator(USA) defeated the Japanese trained American Triple Crown contender Lani(USA), also by Tapit(USA), in the G1 Belmont Stakes in 2016. By the following spring, he was in here covering mares as the only son of Tapit(USA) at stud in Japan. He has already gotten his first winner in the NAR as of the beginning of June from two runners and has a first crop of 58 registered foals in the pipeline.

Discreet Cat(USA) had spent nearly ten years at Darley America with 22 black-type stakes winners at the time it was announced he was being sent to Japan for the 2017 breeding season. Of the twelve offspring that had been imported to Japan before his arrival, nine of them had been winners, and he had one G3 winner. As of the start of June, the son of Forestry(USA) had already attained his first winner in the NAR from five runners out of his first Japanese-bred crop of 96 foals.

Makfi(GB) by Dubawi(IRE) is already leading the charge on the freshman sire rankings for 2020 with two winners and three wins from four runners in the NAR as of the beginning of June. He was imported after six seasons in Europe and Australia, which have managed to produce five G1 winners and ten G3 winners through 2019. As the high profile wins abroad kept coming after his import to Japan, that helped to increase his interest alive during his first three seasons here. He has a first crop of 102 registered foals to make their mark on the Japanese racing scene over the coming months.

Of the stallions listed here Maurice(JPN), Real Impact(JPN) and Mikki Isle(JPN) all shuttled to Australia as well, so they will not only have first crops to watch in Japan but also Down Under.

Please contact our representative below for further details:
Satomi Oka (Ms)
Satomi Oka Bloodstock Pty Ltd
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Tel : +61 414 414 450