12/26/2001 1:00AM

Dirt winner Kurofune retired


Kurofune, an overpowering winner of last month's Grade 1 Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo Racecourse, was retired to stud because of a tendon injury in his right foreleg, The Blood-Horse reported Tuesday on its website.

Kurofune, owned by Makoto Kaneko and Katsumi Yoshida, will stand at Yoshida's family's Shadai Stallion Station on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. His 2002 stud fee is reported at approximately $38,500.

Kurofune, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred, will join his sire, French Deputy, at Shadai Stallion Station.

In his only two starts on dirt, Kurofune set track records in the Japan Cup and the Grade 3 Masuchino Stakes in Tokyo on Oct. 27, he ran the mile in 1:33.30 en route to a nine-length score. Kurofune, who was trained by Kunihide Matsuda, won the Japan Cup Dirt by seven lengths as the favorite and completed the 1 5/16-mile race in 2:05.90.

Kurofune was purchased by Yoshida as a 2-year-old from Calder's Fasig-Tipton February sale for $430,000 and is a full brother to Bella Bellucci, who finished third in this year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.