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Top 5 Famous Horses in Japan

Top 5 Famous Horses in Japan

Fri Oct 16 2020 09:04:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Different forms of horse racing such as ban’ei or pull race have become an integral part of Japanese culture. The thousands of locals and tourists that visit racecourses to bet or spend quality time every weekend are testament to this. 

When a horse wins any of the major races, their status skyrockets in the industry. Having a legendary sire or dam also means sharing some of that celebrity glamour. Meet some of Japan’s most beloved celebrity horses below!

Deep Impact

Image from JBIS

The stallion, the myth, the legend. Deep Impact was Japan’s most beloved thoroughbred after winning the Triple Crown, Japan Cup, and Arima Kinen, which are some of the most prestigious tournaments in Japan and the world. 

After winning 7 domestic Grade One titles, Deep Impact retired at the end of 2006 and settled into the stallion life. He was one of the world’s leading sires and some of his offsprings that share legendary status are Smart Savarin and Kizuna. The former remains undefeated in Group 3 Prix d'Aumale in Europe while the latter won the 2013 Japanese Derby.

King Kamehameha

Image from JBIS

Considered as the best colt of his generation in 2004, Japanese thoroughbred King Kamehameha captivated thousands of horse racing enthusiasts. He had a total of 7 wins under his belt including a five-race streak in colt races such as Mainichi Hai and NHK Mile Cup. After retiring from racing because of an injury in his tendon, King Kamehameha became a stud. He later earned the title as the leading sire in Japan in 2010 and 2011.

Almond Eye

Image from JBIS

King Kamehameha was such an excellent stallion that one of his progenies, Almond Eye, inherited her grandsire’s skills and won the Japan Cup in 2018. That year proved to be a record-setting time for the filly when she completed the Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown by winning the Oka Sho, Yushun Himba and Shuka Sho competitions. 

Still running and racing up to this day, Almond Eye’s best years are just starting. Among the racehorses born in 2015, she remains the highest-earning racehorse in the world. 

Glory Vase

Image from JBIS

Sitting at the 2nd spot in the four-year-old and upwards ranking, Glory Vase takes after his legendary sire Deep Impact in terms of dominating the racecourse. The horse currently holds 4 wins to its name including Kyoto Daishoten, Tenno Sho, and Kikuka Sho, all won in the past two years. 

Glory Vase finished in first place at the Hong Kong Vase-G1 in 2019, marking its first finish in its young career. There’s still more to see with this horse and its performance in the coming years.

Lys Gracieux

Image from JBIS

Currently the first at the best four-year-old and upwards ranking, Lys Gracieux’s impressive performance is proven by her Japanese Horse of the Year 2019 title. Some of her major wins include the Tokyo Shimbun Hai, Queen Elizabethan II Cup, and the Hong Kong Vase. In 2018, Lys Gracieux received the JRA Award for Best Older Filly or Mare.

2019 proved to be her best year yet in local and international races when she won the Takarazuka Kinen in Japan and the Cox Plate in Australia. Impressive records prove that this young filly deserves all its titles. 

Find Your Favourite Horse

Horse-racing remains one of Japan’s most beloved sport and past time. Its long tradition traces back to the 19th century, back when the Yokohama Port first opened its shores to foreign traders in the West. 

Fast forward to the present time, Japan reigns as one of the most renowned breeders of horse-racing champions. Colts and filly bred from legendary Japanese sires and mares run across racetracks in Europe and Australia, giving honour to the Land of the Rising Sun. 

Japan not only participates in international championships, but they also host global competitions, welcoming jockeys from all over the world. Famous for their impressive work ethics and rich cultural innovations, Japan takes pride in everything they do, including raising and breeding horses.


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Top 5 Famous Horses in Japan