07/23/2007 11:00PM

Darley purchases Japanese star

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Admire Moon, winner of the Takarazuka Kinen and the Dubai Duty Free in 2 of his last 3 starts, has been purchased by Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stud for $33 million, the Japanese racing press reported on Tuesday.

A 4-year-old Japanese-bred son of End Sweep, Admire Moon won the Group 1, $5 million Duty Free going 1 1/8 miles at Nad Al Sheba with Sheikh Mohammed present in the grandstand. Two starts later, on June 24 and back in Japan, he won a high-class renewal of the 1 3/8-mile $2 million Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin.

Trained by Hiroyoshi Matsuda, Admire Moon was owned by Riichi Kondo. It remains uncertain whether Admire Moon would be leased back to Kondo and continue to be trained by Matsuda for the remainder of the year before going to stud. That was the scenario with Darley's purchase of this year's Kentucky Derby winner, Street Sense, and its runner-up, Hard Spun, as well as the Epsom Derby winner, Authorized.

Last week, it was reported in the Racing Post that Darley's application to the Japan Racing Association for an owners' license would be confirmed before the end of the year. In that case, Sheikh Mohammed would soon be able to run his horses in Japan in his own Darley colors.