06/07/2017 3:40PM

Sunday Silence still making an impact with Epicharis in Belmont Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Epicharis is a grandson of the great racehorse and stallion Sunday Silence.

For all the accomplishments in his remarkable career, including victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup Classic, 1989 Horse of the Year Sunday Silence also lives in racing notoriety for one of his losses – an eight-length defeat at the hands of archrival Easy Goer in the Belmont Stakes, extending the Triple Crown drought of the time.

Still, Sunday Silence had done enough to ensure himself a spot in racing’s Hall of Fame, getting there a year ahead of Easy Goer, and went on to cement his immortality in his second career. Shadai Farm founder Zenya Yoshida acquired the young stallion and brought him to Japan, where he became a breed-shaping sire for that nation’s blooming Thoroughbred industry. On Saturday, his influence will be apparent as the Japanese-bred Epicharis takes on the Belmont Stakes, looking to tie up a loose end in his paternal grandsire’s story.

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Sunday Silence, who died in 2002 at the young age of 16, was Japan’s leading sire on 13 occasions, siring 172 stakes winners, including 25 champions. He also managed to assure his legacy as a sire of sires. His son Deep Impact, Japan’s Triple Crown winner and two-time Horse of the Year, has taken up his mantle as a perennial leading sire.

Agnes Tachyon and Manhattan Café also have led the nation by earnings, while his other outstanding sons at stud have included Dance in the Dark, Fuji Kiseki, Gold Allure, Heart’s Cry, Neo Universe, Stay Gold, and Zenno Rob Roy. Sunday Silence’s impact also extends through his daughters; he was Japan’s leading broodmare sire eight times, with runners in that category including Group 2 winner Lani, third in last year’s Belmont.

Epicharis is among several stakes performers this year for Gold Allure, who died in February at Shadai Stallion Station. During his own 3-year-old season, Gold Allure won a trio of Group 1 events going 1 1/4 miles on dirt: the Derby Grand Prix, Japan Dirt Derby, and Tokyo Daishoten. He followed up by winning the Group 1 February Stakes, one of Japan’s most prestigious dirt events, the following year.

His best runners include Japanese champion dirt horse Copano Rickey, a two-time winner of the February; Japan Cup Dirt and February winner Espoir City; Japan Dirt Derby winner Chrysolite; and February winner Gold Dream.

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