Jul 18

Yoshida family legacy a breeding empire

Katsumi Yoshida at Northern Farm in Hokkaido, in Japan’s north. Photo: Sankei Shimbun Katsumi Yoshida at Northern Farm in Hokkaido, in Japan’s north. Photo: Sankei Shimbun

Katsumi Yoshida at Northern Farm in Hokkaido, in Japan’s north. Photo: Sankei Shimbun

Katsumi Yoshida at Northern Farm in Hokkaido, in Japan’s north. Photo: Sankei Shimbun

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Japan’s stocks in the breeding stakes took a leap in 1993. The focal point was Northern Farm in Hokkaido, owned and run by 66-year-old Katsumi Yoshida.

Northern Farm was launched in 1993 after Katsumi’s father Zenya Yoshida, a legendary horseman and pioneer in the globalisation of racing and breeding, died.

Zenya had owned and run Shadai Farm, a breeding operation. After his death, it was divided into several parts and taken over by his three sons.

Teruya Yoshida, the eldest son, took the brand name Shadai and started his breeding operation at the Chitose branch. The second son, Katsumi, took over Hayakita branch, renamed it Northern Farm and started his breeding operation. The third son, Haruya Yoshida, took over Oiwake branch and started Oiwake Farm.

Zenya had owned about 300 mares and these were spread between his son’s farms. However, the stallions stayed at the same place, Shadai Stallion Station, and a new company Shadai Corporation, which is owned and run by the three brothers together, was created as the management company of the stallions.

Zenya was very keen to recruit well-bred mares from the United States and Europe, and during his last three years when Zenya had problems with his heart and lived with a pacemaker, Teruya acted on his behalf at the sales in Newmarket and Kentucky. However, it was Katsumi who attended a December sale at Newmarket in 1992 and bought two mares.

One of them was Ballet Queen, an unraced four-year-old mare by Sadlers Wells out of Sun Princess, winner of group 1 races the Epsom Oaks, St Leger and Yorkshire Oaks, who cost 100,000 pounds. The following spring, Ballet Queen foaled a colt by Caerleon, who was Fusaichi Concorde, the Japanese Derby winner in 1996.

The other mare that Katsumi bought was Rosa Nay, winner in France by Lyphard, who cost 130,000 pounds. Rosa Nay subsequently became the ancestor of many Graded Stakes winners including Rose Kingdom, champion juvenile in 2009 and winner of the Japan Cup in 2010. Katsumi Yoshida is a very good judge and was a successful buyer from the day one.

He was convinced through those experiences that the introduction of quality mares was a key factor in establishing a successful breeding operation, and became the keenest among three brothers to invest at the sales in Europe, the US, and Down Under, to expand his operation.

The horses bred by Katsumi Yoshida at Northern Farm have been running well in the past two decades, or I should say running better than horses bred by Zenya Yoshida, as Northern Farm has bred the winners of almost all major races in Japan and some very important races abroad.

The most notable horse Katsumi has bred so far is Deep Impact, by Sunday Silence out of Wind In Her Hair, who won the Triple Crown for three-year-olds in 2005 and other four Graded One Stakes in 2006, including the group 1 Japan Cup. Katsumi won four more derbies as the breeder, by Admire Vega in 1999, Jungle Pocket in 2001, King Kamehameha in 2004, and Logi Universe in 2009.

The horses Katsumi bred and who completed successful foreign campaigns include Cesario who won American Oaks in 2005, Utopia who won group 2 Godolphin Mile in 2006, Delta Blues who won Melbourne Cup in 2006, Admire Moon who won Dubai Duty Free in 2007, Ruler Ship who won Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2012, Gentildonna who won Dubai Sheema Classic in March this year, and Admire Rakti who won on Caulfield Cup.

Admire Rakti by Heart’s Cry is the second foal out of Admire Teresa, who was also bred by Katsumi Yoshida. Admire Teresa by Helissio is the winner of five races and placed in group 2 Hanshin Himba Stakes in Japan.

Heed by Caveat, dam of Admire Teresa, is the winner of six races in the United States including G3/Nijana Stakes at Saratoga, and Katsumi Yoshida bought her at the Keeneland November Sale in 1996 for $210,000.

Admire Rakti, who was born at Northern Farm on February 22, 2008, was offered at the yearling session of JRHA Select Sale in 2009 and bought by Riichi Kondo, the most important client for Katsumi Yoshida and one of the biggest spender at JRHA Sale for years, for 32,000,000yen, approximately A324,000.

The pedigree of Admire Rakti might suggest he would be winner of major races over a mile and half, as his sire is winner of Dubai Sheema Classic, broodmare sire is winner of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, sire of second dam is winner of Belmont Stakes, and sire of third dam is Nijinsky, winner of Epsom Derby, all of whom are great mile and half winners.

Katsumi’s passion to establish the broodmare band with the highest quality is still burning. He kept buying horses and kept acquiring lands from neighbours. As the result, Northern Farm is now boarding nearly 700 mares.

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