07/14/2015 3:16PM

Japan Racing Horse Association yearling sale posts record figures, draws American buyers


The Japan Racing Horse Association select sale closed Tuesday with record returns in the yearling market, a slightly muted weanling market, and significant activity from a prominent U.S. buyer and by notable U.S. pedigrees.

The two-day sale was held at Northern Horse Park in Hokkaido, Japan.

The yearling session was held Monday, with an all-time high gross of $57,708,482 (7,104,500,000 Japanese yen) from 210 horses sold. That marked an 18 percent increase from the previous sale, when 255 yearlings brought $48,947,939 (6,028,000,000 yen). The average sale price also reached a record $274,705 (33,830,952 yen), up 21 percent from $227,690 (28,037,209 yen) last year.

Also hitting a record low was the buyback rate, which finished at 12 percent.

"This is an amazing market,” said Katsumi Yoshida of consignor Northern Farm. “The most impressive is the clearance rate, and I am so happy to have so many buyers at this market. I thought the quality of the consignments from my farm was the best ever, and I had high expectation. But this result is far better than my expectation."

Topping the session was a Deep Impact colt out of the Group 3-placed stakes-winning Rossini mare Jioconda, who sold to Haijme Satomi for $1,903,880 (235,000,000 yen).

The bay colt is a sibling to three winners from five foals to race out of Jioconda, including English Group 1 winner Lightening Pearl, Japanese Group 2 winner Satono Crown, and Irish Group 3-placed Jolie Jioconde. His family includes Group 1 winners Classic Cliche and My Emma.
Kentucky-based WinStar Farm was an active buyer at the JRHA sale, buying a trio of colts, including two by former U.S. stallion Empire Maker, sire of WinStar stallions Pioneerof the Nile and Bodemeister.

Leading WinStar’s purchases was a Heart’s Cry colt out of the Grade 1-winning Canadian Frontier mare Hilda’s Passion, who hammered for $761,908 (94,000,000 yen). Hilda’s Passion sold to Yoshida’s Northern Farm for $1,225,000 at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale.

The sale was also highlighted by a Tapit colt out of multiple Grade 1 winner Champagne d’Oro, who sold to Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co. Ltd., for $1,864,405 (230,000,000 yen), tying for the second-highest price of the session. Champagne d’Oro, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro sold to Shadai Farm for $2.7 million at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Yukihito Morio went to $648,331 (80,000,000 yen) to secure a half-brother to 2013 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice by Mineshaft, out of the stakes-winning Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor. The dam sold to Northern Farm for $1.1 million at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Also of note, the yearling sale featured offerings from the first crop of dual classic winner I’ll Have Another, who stands at Japan’s Big Red Farm. A pair of colts were went through the ring, with one selling for $162,075 (20,000,000 yen).

The weanling session held Tuesday showed a slight decline, with 232 horses selling for a combined $49,184,929 (6,069,000,000 yen), down 7 percent from 2014, when 189 horses brought $53,058,656 (6,547,050,000 yen). The average sale price decreased 5 percent, from $280,730 (34,640,476 yen) to $267,298 (32,983,696 yen). The buyback rate rose from 14 percent to 21 percent.

Danox Co. Ltd. purchased the session-topper, a Deep Impact filly out of the multiple Grade 1 winner Weemissfrankie, for $1,458,808 (180,000,000 yen). Weemissfrankie was sold privately to Japanese interests in 2012, and her two foals, both by Deep Impact, have fetched $1.3 million or more at auction in Japan.

"Mikki Queen, owned by my wife [Mizuki Noda], won the Japanese Oaks earlier this year, while I have not won a classic for 3-year-olds,” said Masahiro Noda of Danox. “I would really like to win the Oaks and worked hard to find an Oaks candidate, and I found this filly should be the horse to win the Oaks for me."

WinStar Farm made a pair of weanling purchases. The most expensive was an Empire Maker colt out of the Grade 2-placed Street Cry mare Allicansayis Wow, who left the ring for $299,700 (37,000,000 yen). The dam sold to Paca Paca Farm for $375,000 at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

WinStar also purchased a Stay Gold colt out of the Grade 1-placed High Yield mare Nan for $259,200 (32,000,000 yen). Nan was also purchased at auction by Paca Paca Farm, changing hands for $150,000 at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

"I am very happy to see international buyers are so active,” said JRHA vice chairman Teruya Yoshida. “I think the quality of foals and yearlings offered here this year was better than last year. On the other hand, as last year's market was very strong, I thought it might be difficult to surpass last year's figures. Hence, it is a pleasant surprise to see the gross sale increased and set a new record again. I really appreciate the support by buyers from all over the world."