01/22/2007 12:00AM

Deep Impact repeats as year's best in Japan

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Deep Impact landed his second consecutive title as Japanese Horse of the Year on Monday with his near-unanimous selection by the Japan Racing Association. A son of Sunday Silence, he was also named Japan's best older horse of 2006, adding to his 2005 title as best 3-year-old.

His 287-1 margin over Daiwa Major in the horse of the year category was matched by his 288-1 victory over the the same horse in the vote for best older horse. Trained by Yasuo Ikee for Kaneko Makoto Holdings, Deep Impact won 5 of his 6 starts last year, failing only when he was third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, from which he was disqualified for a drug positive. His victories included four Grade 1 races: the two-mile Spring Tenno Sho, the 1 3/8-mile Takarazuka Kinen, the 1 1/2-mile Japan Cup, and the 1 9/16-mile Arima Kinen.

The Japanese 2000 Guineas and Japanese Derby winner Meisho Samson was named champion 3-year-old colt. Kawakami Princess, who won the Japanese Oaks and the Shuka Sho, was voted leading 3-year-old filly as well as best horse by a Japanese-bred sire, in this case the Dancing Brave stallion King Halo.

Dance in the Mood, winner of the CashCall Mile and Victoria Mile, was voted leading older filly or mare. Daiwa Major was named best sprinter or miler, while Japan Cup Dirt winner Alondite took honors as champion dirt performer.

The Stay Gold colt Dream Journey and the Tanino Gimlet filly Vodka were named champion 2-year-olds.

Yutaka Take, who won 19 graded stakes, six of them Grade 1's, swept all three jockey categories, races won (184), winning rate (22.2 percent) and earnings (approximately $40.6 million). Trainer honors were split between Hideyuki Mori (training technique and races won, 63), Hiroyoshi Matsuda (earnings, approximately $13.5 million), and Dream Journey's trainer, Yasutoshi Ikee, the son of Yasuo Ikee (winning average, 18.4 percent).