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The Legacy of Sunday Silence Lives On

Photo: Kate Hunter
Back in May when I saw the same horse that won the Satsuki Sho, or Japanese 2000 Guineas, had come back to win the Tokyo Yushun, or Japanese Derby, I immediately scanned his pedigree. Sure enough, I found what I was looking for. The horse, Orfevre, was a descendant of the great Sunday Silence.
Not only was Sunday Silence the Horse of the Year in 1989, and personally one of my all-time favorite race horses, but he became one of the most influential sires the world has ever seen. So dominant a sire in Japan was Sunday Silence that it became difficult to find a big race where his sons of daughters were not the ones to beat. The former American great was the leading sire in Japan no less than ten times, and his progeny earned and incredible figure of approximately $800 million. Today, the legacy of Sunday Silence was strengthened yet again, when his grandson Orfevre won the Kikuka Sho, or Japanese St. Leger, at Kyoto Racecourse.
In so doing, the son of Sunday Silence’s son Stay Gold, became the first racehorse to win Japan’s Triple Crown since the great Deep Impact swept the series in 2005, and only the seventh to win it overall.
Under jockey Kenichi Ikezoe, the heavily favored Orfevre took command as the 18-horse field entered the stretch run of the 3,000-meter marathon, and quickly sprinted away from the rest on the way to cruising to a 2 ½ length victory over late running runner-up Win Variation. Despite the long gap in between races, the St. Leger exacta was the same as the result of the Japanese Derby, and for the winner it assured his place in Japanese racing history.
It remains to be seen whether the young star will earn the popularity, or enjoy the overall career of the last Triple Crown winner, Deep Impact, but clearly he is off to an amazing start. And in case you didn’t know, Deep Impact, arguably Japan’s greatest ever runner, is a son of Sunday Silence.
It’s been more than nine years since Sunday Silence was taken away from the world far too early at the age of 16. After losing a prolonged battle with laminitis, we may no longer be privileged to see the sons or daughters of Sunday Silence on the track, but with the ongoing excellence of his bloodlines, and sires like Stay Gold, and Deep Impact, and runners like Orfevre, we know he will not soon be forgotten. Not bad for a horse most American breeders had little interest in.


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Older Comments about The Legacy of Sunday Silence Lives On...

Makes one wonder just what his legacy would be had he lived a few more years! His is a record that won't be broken any time soon! Memo to American breeders: you might want to acquire a couple of Sunday's sons and daughters to fill your barns with some winners! It really is fun to read his progeny charts and see all the millionaires. Will need a currency converter to understand the amounts ($1 = 78 JPY Yen!)!!
And the beat goes on, Sunday Silence was fantastic back in 1989, beating Easy Goer out of that years Derby,then his offspring were excellent and now his grandchildern, what a wonderful bloodline.
One of the most beautiful horses I've ever laid eyes on. What a horse, glad to see his offspring representing in Japan.
Sunday Silence....what a horse. My favorite racing horse so far...I love to watch his horse run.
Thanks so much Zip! Sunday Silence was one of my all time favorites! Good to see the successful progeny.
Back in the day I was firmly aboard the Easy Goer bandwagon While still loving him I soon came to appreciate the wonderful Sunday Silence.I have it in me to be a fan of one horse but still see the greatness in others That is as it should be My hat is off to Japan for recognizing something in SS that American breeders overlooked and I am happy that the greatness that was in Sunday Silence continues one in his progeny no matter what country they may be in

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