12/14/2004 12:00AM

Northern Taste, 33, dies in Japan

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Northern Taste, Japan's leading sire for 11 consecutive years beginning in 1982, died Saturday at the Shadai Stallion Station on the island of Hokkaido, where he was pensioned in 1999. He was 33 and died of natural causes.

The stallion's death was reported in Japan Today and in other general media, an indication of the reverence in which Northern Taste, a son of Northern Dancer, was held.

Northern Taste was bred by E.P. Taylor's Windfields operation. Zenya Yoshida purchased him at the 1972 Saratoga yearling sale for $100,000. The colt went on to become a French Group 1 winner, capturing the 1974 Prix de la Foret as well as the Group 3 Prix Eclipse and Prix Thomas Bryon in 1973. Retired to Shadai, he helped make modern Japanese Thoroughbreds competitive in international racing.

Northern Taste's best foals included Japanese champions Big Taste, Northern Driver, Dyna Actress, Dyna Carle, Dyna Gulliver, and Global Dyna. From 24 crops to race, Northern Taste sired 19 Japanese graded-stakes winners from 974 horses of racing age.