The world’s last great horserace of 2017, Sunday’s $5.63 million Arima Kinen at Nakayama, had the international stage all to itself last week, and it produced the result that most people - certainly most people in Japan - had been hoping for.
Kitasan Black has been racking up G1 wins for more than two years now, becoming the most popular horse in his horse-crazy home country in the process, so his mighty all-the-way victory at a shade of odds-on had a crowd of close on 100,000 in raptures (see YouTube video below).
It was one of just four Group or Graded events worldwide last week (the others were a G2 in Australia, a G2 in Japan and a G3 in the U.S.) so it was the only race that caused much of a ripple in the TRC Global Rankings.
Perhaps the most notable beneficiary was superstar rider Yutaka Take, who produced a masterclass of pace judgement on the son of Black Tide. Watch how he controls the race from the get-go. Have you ever seen a more exemplary display of front-running? As a result, Take moves up two places to world #12 in the world jockeys’ standings with a four-point week-on-week gain.
There were six-point gains for the rest of Kitasan Black’s connections. Owner Ono Shoji climbs four places to #18, trainer Hisashi Shimizu is up 13 to #53, and Black Tide, a full-brother to world #3 stallion Deep Impact, is now #55 in the sires’ standings, up from #80.
And, of course, the result means the Sunday Silence run, referred to here last week, continues. Black Tide, of course, is a son of the 1989 U.S. Horse of the Year, who is now the sire or grandsire of 13 of the last 14 winners of the Arima Kinen.
This was Kitasan Black’s final race in a career that has featured seven G1 victories, including the 2016 Japan Cup. He retires to stand at Shadai Stallion Station alongside his illustrious uncle and some of the leading runners of the last two decades as the fourth-highest earning Thoroughbred in the history of international racing.
Only Arrogate, from the U.S., and the Japanese pair Gentildonna and Orfevre (who also stands at Shadai), are ahead of him in the all-time list, which TRC compiles using pounds sterling (rather than, say, U.S. dollars or Japanese yen) as the currency, based on the official overseas exchange rates issued by the British Horseracing Authority in the first week of every January.
The top 40 all-time world prize money earners
According to the Japan Racing Association, Sunday’s payday took Kitasan Black to the top of the Japanese all-time money list (for earnings in Japan alone), overtaking T M Opera O, who was also campaigned exclusively at home. Both Gentildonna and Orfevre won substantial prize money abroad. Fifth-placed Buena Vista also ran twice at Meydan.
Since TRC last published the above table (on November 5, after Gun Runner entered the list by winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic), the other significant mover has been the Irish-trained Highland Reel, Europe's all-time money leader, who is now up to 12th (from 18th) because of his victory in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin earlier this month.
Click here for a list of all last week’s biggest TRC Global Rankings points gainers.
Click here for a list of all the week’s Group and Graded winners.