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Japanese Horse Fetches Record Bid (August 21, 2006)

To The Victory 2006 at the Select Sale 2006 (Japan Racing Horse Association)
The Select Sale 2006 auction of major top-breed racehorses was held on July 11 in Tomakomai city, Hokkaido, where To The Victory 2006, a foal born this spring at Northern Farm in Abira town, Hokkaido, was sold for a record fee of ¥600 million ($5.2 million at ¥115 to the dollar). The sum was a reflection of the growing interest in Japanese racehorses from around the world.

Record Sale Stuns Crowd
To The Victory 2006 has an impressive pedigree. The mare's father, King Kamehameha, won the 2004 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), while its mother, To The Victory, won the G1/Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup. With such breeding the foal was expected to fetch a high price, but no one predicted that the price would skyrocket to such stratospheric proportions.

Bids for the horse started at ¥80 million ($700,000), and then immediately began climbing. Five groups of buyers repeatedly raised the ante: from ¥80 million to ¥85 million ($740,000) to ¥90 million ($780,000) and beyond. Things started heating up as the price continued to climb, from ¥100 million ($870,000) to ¥200 million ($1.7 million) and then ¥300 million ($2.6 million). Once the price reached the ¥400 million ($3.5 million) range, the auction turned into a battle between the two remaining bidders. When the appraiser's gavel finally dropped, the price had reached ¥600 million, easily eclipsing not only the previous record-high bid of ¥230 million ($2,000,000) for a mare set by Admire Groove, but the previous all-time high of ¥490 million ($4,260,000) as well. At the conclusion of the auction, a stunned hush fell over the venue, followed by applause.

The most attractive feature of To The Victory 2006 is its beauty, particularly its eyes. "Even those not knowledgeable about horses should be able to grasp its beauty just by looking at it, and pros will desire this horse the minute they lay eyes on it," said an agent for the winning bidder. Due to various circumstances, the name of the new owner has not been revealed.

Deep Impact after winning the Takarazuka Kinen race (Jiji)

A Bright Future
In recent years, the performance of Japanese-bred horses abroad has been remarkable. As evidence, look no further than Deep Impact, ranked number one in the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities' recently released ranking of the "Top 50 World Leading Horses," the first Japanese horse ever to earn this distinction. Today's Japanese racehorses are highly valued in terms of both their breeding and their racing prowess.

Deep Impact is scheduled to run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe GI on October 1 in France. Japanese racing fans are looking forward to his continued success.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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