Horse Racing Pedigree has a huge effect on a foal’s potential. Among the top bloodlines in Japan, Deep Impact’s crops dominate the active roster of racers. The two-time Horse of the Year awardee is also the leading sire for the past decade. Many of his progenies became famous in their own right, often becoming multi-million yen earning steeds and sires or dams.
In the present day, there are over 800 registered progenies sired by Deep Impact both inside and outside of Japan. Plenty of his foals have retired from professional racing to work in breeding farms. Nevertheless, he still has plenty of representatives for this year in all age brackets. Here are some of the top Deep Impact progenies racing in 2021:
Ages 4 and Up
The year 2020 was an amazing year for the JRA. It held two undefeated champions of the Japanese triple crown series: Contrail representing the colts and Daring Tact for the fillies. It was also the year that Almond Eye won her 9th G1 title before retirement.
It was also the year when all three of them faced-off in Japan Cup 2020 which earned the title ‘race of the decade’. It was surely a tough act to match for this year but not impossible.
Here are some veteran horses that could make the year interesting:
Starting off the list is last year’s Japan triple crown champion. His undefeated status ended when he won second place in the Japan Cup 2020 after Almond Eye. He proved to be one of the most promising progenies of Deep Impact after successfully emulating his father’s 3-year-old season. He is currently one of the top favourite 4-year-old horses racing for 2021 in the JRA.
Gran Alegria is the JRA award winner for the best sprinter and miler of 2020! She was also nominated for Horse of the Year along with Contrail and Almond Eye. She is more active in sprinter and miler stakes as she didn’t even participate in the Japan Cup against her top rivals. It will be different this year as she’s set to face-off against Contrail for the Osaka Hai.
Salacia is among the best mares in Deep Impact’s brood despite her not so stellar performances at first glance. She’s placed at the top four in most of her races which may not sound impressive to spectators. The main issue that she had to deal with was how she had to ride against top performers of the previous years such as Lucky Lilac, Chrono Genesis, and Almond Eye. The six-year-old mare still has the potential to be a top contender for 2021.
Danon Premium is a six-year-old horse with a great record stained only by his two races in Yasuda Kinen G1 where he didn’t make the top ten. However, he has a great early career and an amazing record from recent races. He struggled racing against Almond Eye and his siblings. He is still considered a top-liner amongst this year’s racehorses.
World Premiere is only five years old with five races in his records which is likely attributed to multiple postponements of races. There were times when he was groomed to campaign for an upcoming race but owners had to pull him back due to poor performances in training. Despite this, he is far from being an underperformer as a racer. He just needs to stop favouring his right foreleg to become one of the best sprinters on the roster.
Glory Vase is another Deep Impact offspring who suffers having one bad record in his history—he achieved 17th place in Takarazuka Kinen 2020. His other races are completed with great placings. He won 1st place twice and 3rd place once while his lowest placing is 6th. He also suffers from having to contend with the other top-performing racehorses such as Fierement, Chrono Genesis, and Almond Eye. He is six years old this season, making him one of the oldest members of the year’s roster.
Fierce Impact is a Deep Impact progeny racing for the Seymour Bloodstock Syndicate in Australia. He has relatively great performance but not enough to become a favourite in the top races. He is also seven years old this season with only 10 races in his career. He might be retired soon after this year to become a sire but the owners wish to push for another great campaign.
Loves Only You
The DMM Dream Club doesn’t always appear among the top ranks but that may change with Loves Only You. This promising five-year-old mare has an impressive record of earning mostly top three placements in her races. She’s been up against Lucky Lilac, Chrono Genesis, Salacia, and Almond Eye just to name a few top racers of the decade. She is qualified for both the Dubai Turf and Dubai Sheema Classic but no news gives a clue which one she’ll be most likely to participate in.
Three-Year-Old Colts and Fillies
The three-year-old seasons of individual horses are tough to predict. This is often the official start of their career before they became serious contenders at ages four and beyond. The cases of Contrail and Daring Tact weren’t predicted at the beginning of the season, either. They only caught attention after finishing their second leg of the triple crown series.
That being said, it is easier to handpick a few Deep Impact foals from among the litter of 2019. Here are 3-year-old colts and fillies that are worth keeping an eye on this season:
Satono Reinas has a great start with a 1st and 2nd placement in the first two races in her career. She was outrun by Sodashi who debuted around the same time as her. However, the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies is already Sodashi’s fourth race while it is still Satono Reinas’ sixth. The Deep Impact foal was defeated by Kurofune filly with more experience. Regardless, Satono Reinas’ performance as a two-year-old still shows promise for her three-year-old season.
Unlike Satono Reinas, Honneur had an easier competition when starting. She won first place in the Newcomer Stakes and Han Allow respectively. This does not open up many opportunities for G1 races for her 3-year-old season since neither races are graded stakes. She has to participate in smaller races before vying for a spot in the triple crown series.
Snowfall just turned three years old this year but she already has six races in her history. Her placings weren’t impressive since her highest spot is third place in a G1 race while her lowest is 9th—Also G1. However, not falling beyond the top ten in graded stakes races at age two is a promising feat that could translate to an amazing three-year-old season.
Harajuku is a three-year-old filly in Ireland who took on a G1 race on her second run. Unfortunately, she only placed eighth out of twelve racers but she did win first place on Maidens’ Fillies. She also won second place in the ParisLongchamp which took place in between her first and latest events. There’s not much news about her owners’ future plans but it’s a sign that she’ll be in high stakes racing for this year.
Who Is Deep Impact?
Deep Impact is best known for his racing career. He is one of the JRA Hall of Fame racehorses as he was inducted in 2008. He is a two-time awardee of being JRA Horse of the Year, one of which he achieved at the same time as his title for Best Three-Year-Old Colt of the Year in 2005. The second Horse of the Year award was received at the same time as his Best Older Male Horse award in 2006.
Deep Impact is also one of the record-holders for winning seven G1 races throughout his career among six others until it was broken by Almond Eye in 2020. He is also the second undefeated champion of the Triple Crown series after Symboli Rudolf. This was a feat recently emulated by his son, Contrail.
Deep Impact retired early at five years old to become a stud in the Northern Farm. His first crop debuted in 2008 but he didn’t start winning the title of Japanese Champion Sire until 2012. Since then, he won the same title for consecutive years until 2020. Whether or not his children can get him the title for 2021 is yet to be determined.
Deep Impact is also known for being a ‘skilled breeder’. One of his peculiarities is his relatively small frame as a stallion. In contrast, mares that are frequently offered to him are often tall and with well developed hind sides. This type of scenario often leads to disaster. Firstly, small horses had to be assisted for the genitals to be aligned. Secondly, broodmares tend to fight if they are not comfortable.
Strangely enough, breeders note that Deep Impact doesn’t show any issue with broodmares. There is also little need for assistance when mating. Breeders at the Northern Farm would often remark that he has amazing hip flexibility for mounting.
Aside from mating, Deep Impact also had to have his semen stored and frozen for shipment. He has a high demand overseas, especially in Australia. Japan has always had a great relationship with Australia as they often trade champion horses and foals. Today, Deep Impact has many progeny racing in Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, Great Britain, and the United States.
Unfortunately, Deep Impact died on 30 July 2019. He suffered from a cervical fracture severe enough that he had to be euthanized. Despite this, the Northern Farm has reserved some of his semen for more crops in the following years. However, his win streak for the title of Japanese Champion Sire might be cut-off soon as amazing horses from other bloodlines begin to perform amazingly in the JRA.
Deep Impact’s Bloodline
Deep Impact is largely credited for the performances of his direct descendants. What about the rest of the bloodline? The truth is that Deep Impact came from a long line of Champion horses.
His sire, Sunday Silence, was a black Champion stallion hailing from Kentucky, USA. He was the US Champion 3-Year-Old Colt and Horse of the Year in 1989. He is also the leading bloodhorse at the time he was imported to Japan.
His dam was Wind in Her Hair. She was an Irish-born mare with an amazing record in G1 races. What makes her even more amazing is that she is a descendant of Northern Dancer—the sire of the world’s leading bloodline!
A rough estimation of 9.3% of all stakes winners and 7.8% graded stakes winners are Deep Impact’s children around the world. Regardless, only a few of them became famous and wealthy.
Gentildonna and Vivlos are the most successful out of Deep Impact’s children. These are both mares who have won awards and broken records throughout their career. Gentildonna is a Hall of Famer inducted in 2016 and two-time winner of the Horse of the Year award. Vivlos only won the Best Older Filly or Mare award once but her track record made her the second-highest earning Deep Impact foal. Both of them now work as broodmares to continue the bloodline.
Gentildonna has over ¥1.8 billion while Vivlos has over ¥967 million earnings. Contrail already has ¥831 million after his race in the Japan Cup, making him the third-highest earning Deep Impact foal while he is just a 3-year-old. Out of all the Deep Impact progenies, Contrail has the best chance at surpassing Gentildonna’s earnings before the end of his career.
Horse Racing Pedigree is one of the key factors to being competitive in the sports of horse racing. This is why so many people put such a high value on the genetic code of a specific horse. The only question is whether or not this generation of Deep Impact progenies will perform well enough this year to keep their sire’s streak as the Japanese Champion Sire.