01/23/2006 12:00AM

Deep Impact tops in Japan

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Deep Impact, winner of the Japanese Triple Crown last year, has been named 2005's Japanese Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old by the Japan Racing Association. The American Oaks winner, Cesario, took honors as champion 3-year-old filly.

Part of Sunday Silence's next-to-last crop, Deep Impact laid claim to the the Japanese Crown by winning the Japanese 2000 Guineas, Japanese Derby, and Japanese St. Leger. Trained by Yasuo Ikee and owned by Kaneko Makoto Holdings, he tasted defeat for the first time on Dec. 25 in the Arima Kinen, when he finished a half-length second to the year's champion older horse, Heart's Cry.

Cesario, a daughter of the Sunday Silence sire Special Week, had preceded her four-length victory in the American Oaks, the first by a Japanese-trained horse in a Grade 1 event in the United States, with a win in the Japanese Oaks. Trained by Katsuhiko Sumii for U. Carrot Farm, she will remain in training this year, as will Deep Impact.

Sumii, who led all Japanese trainers in earnings for the year, also trained Hat Trick, the Hong Kong Mile winner who was named Japan's leading sprinter/miler, as well as the Japan Cup Dirt winner, Kane Hekili, named champion Japanese dirt horse.

The Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup winner, Sweep Tosho, was named best older filly or mare. Fusaichi Richard was voted champion 2-year-old colt, while T M Precure landed the juvenile filly title.

Deep Impact's rider, Yutaka Take, swept all of the jockey titles with most races won, best winning percentage, and highest earnings.