That’s what “I’ll Have Another" is in Japanese. Or roughly, because I used Google Translate and you know how that goes.
It’s been a good few years since the Far East snapped up one of our Triple Crown winners, and while I’m saddened to see our Cookie Monster set sail for a new land, I have to wonder what impacted this sale. No doubt, there have been offers in the past for other Triple Crown leg champs, so what was the big sell point? Was it the [likely] possibility that I’ll Have Another’s value at stud would be abysmal? Was it the soundness issue that threatened? Let’s look at past winners bought by Japan:
- Empire Maker - The heavy favorite for the 2003 Kentucky Derby came in second to Funny Cide after some hoof issues likely plagued his trip. He roared back to win the Belmont Stakes in the slop before shuttling to Japan in 2010 to begin a powerful career at stud, siring winners such as In Lingerie, It’s Tricky, Royal Delta, Bodemeister, Grace Hall, and Pioneerof the Nile. Big mistake, U.S.
- War Emblem - The almost-Triple Crown winner of 2002, while War Emblem has a short progeny list due to lack of interest in breeding, he already has a few millionaires to his credit and shows all signs of a great influence on the Japan industry. He likely would not have been as sought-after in the States, but nonetheless, had some intriguing potential in his pedigree.
- Sunday Silence - The black almost-Triple Crown winner of 1989 is no doubt one of Japan’s most influential foundation sires period, with more than a decade topping the national sire list and multi-generational winners spanning the globe. His conqueror Easy Goer, who stayed in the States, was also successful but not even close to this degree. I mourn that hit.
I don’t personally think I’ll Have Another will have as large an impact as these past Triple Crown leg winners; if anything, I would compare him to other sales made by Japan with Roses in May and Conduit— nice horses, but nothing awe-inspiring seen in their long-term influence. The purchase by Japan was completed largely for financial reasons, as no one farm in Kentucky was willing to make a decent offer on I’ll Have Another in comparision to Big Red Farm in Hokkaido.
Our loss, their gain I guess. It’s all just a disappointing end to a disappointing Triple Crown run.