01/07/2011 11:46AM

Buena Vista honored as Horse of the Year in Japan

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Buena Vista was named Horse of the Year by the Japan Racing Association on Friday despite having lost her last two starts. Trained by Hiroyoshi Matsuda for Sunday Racing Co. Ltd., the 4-year-old daughter of Special Week began the year with a victory in the Grade 2 Kyoto Kinen, but was then an unlucky second to Dar Re Mi in the Dubai Sheema Classic. Back in Japan she won a pair of Grade 1’s, the Victoria Mile and the Autumn Tenno Sho, before crossing the line first in the Japan Cup, only to suffer a controversial disqualification for which she was placed second to Rose Kingdom. On Dec. 26 she closed with a rush in the Arima Kinen, only to fall a nose short of catching Victoire Pisa.

Buena Vista was also named best older filly or mare. She is being prepared for a race in Dubai, probably the Dubai Sheema Classic.

The winner of the Japanese 2000 Guineas, the 3-year-old colt champ Victoire Pisa was third in the Japanese Derby, seventh in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and third in the Japan Cup. Older horse honors went to Nakayama Festa, the Arc runner-up to Workforce who had previously beaten Buena Vista by a half-length in the Takarazuka Kinen.

The Sakae Kuneida-trained Apapane, a daughter of King Kamehameha, parlayed victories in the Japanese 1000 Guineas, Japanese Oaks and the Shuka Sho into the 3-year-old filly championship. The winner of five graded sprints, the best of them the Sprinters Stakes, Kinshasa no Kiseki was a shoo-in in the voting for best sprinter. The best 2-year-old colt was Futurity Stakes winner Grand Prix Boss. Juvenile filly honors went to the undefeated Matsuda-trained Reve d’Essoir, Sunday Racing’s winner of the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies who also beat colts in the Daily Hai Nisai Stakes, among them Grand Prix Boss.

Espoir City, the winner of the February Stakes and the Kashiwa Kinen who led into the stretch in the Breeders’ Cup Classic before fading to 10th, was named champion dirt horse.