01/25/2010 12:00AM

Vodka named Japan's best again


Vodka won her second consecutive Horse of the Year award on Monday from the Japan Racing Association in a vote of Japanese racing journalists. A 5-year-old mare trained by Katsuhiko Sumii for Yuzo Tanimizu, Vodka won the 1 1/2-mile Japan Cup on Nov. 29 to cap a campaign that included victories in a pair of Grade 1 miles, the Victoria Mile and the Yasuda Kinen.

Vodka also took honors as Japan's best older filly or mare for the second consecutive year. Japan's leading juvenile filly in 2006, she received a special award from the racing association in 2007 for her victory in the Japanese Derby. The winner of a Japanese record-tying seven Grade 1's during her career, Vodka has won 10 of- 25 lifetime starts for earnings of $13,147,826, second on the all-time list behind T.M. Opera O's $16,200,237.

A victory in the Dubai World Cup, which will be her last race before she is bred to Sea the Stars, would make Vodka the leading earner in Thoroughbred history.

Logi Universe, winner of the Japanese Derb, was voted the best 3-year-old colt, while Buena Vista, winner of the Japanese 1000 Guineas and Japanese Oaks, was named best 3-year-old filly. Dream Journey, who captured the Arima Kinen and the Takarazuka Kinen, was the best older horse, while Company, the winner of two Grade 1's and two Grade 2's, received a special award.

Laurel Guerreiro, winner of both the Sprinters Stakes and the Takamatsunomiya Kinen at six furlongs, was elected best sprinter or miler. The Japan Cup Dirt winner, Espoir City, who like Vodka is being aimed at the Dubai World Cup, was the leading dirt horse. The King Kamhameha colt Rose Kingdom was named best 2-year-old colt, while Apapane, also by King Kamahameha, took the 2-year-old filly title.

The jockey title was split three ways, as Yutaka Take took the earnings crown with $33.3 million from 147 wins out of 801 rides. Hiroyuki Uchida won the most races with 153 from 1,024 mounts. Katsumi Ando had the best winning percentage at .22 with 92 wins from 426 mounts.