(Photo : Mikiko Ueda)
In tandem with a decline in the economy, the breeding industry shows a 34% drop in the number of mares being bred since the peak of 1992.
Michele MacDonald writes in Owner Breeder that in a remarkably parallel arc to the grim economic downturn, breeding in Japan has contracted. With statistics showing that Japan’s economy shrunk at the end of 2008 more than at any time since 1974, the Japan Racing Association reported that the nation’s registered foal crop was only about 6,800, which marks the lowest number since 1974.
Since Japan produced 10,309 foals to hit its peak in 1992, production has plunged 34%. The number of stallions has also fallen by more than half; 603 in 1991, the year the largest foal crop was conceived, to 281 in 2008.
Of that group, 104, or 37%, had been imported, with breeders relying on America more than any other country. Perhaps most interestingly, ten of the 281 stallions standing in Japan last year covered about one-fifth of the nation’s 11,360 mares that were bred, and each of those ten, all of whom stood at the Yoshida family’s Shadai Stallion Station, was bred to more than 200 mares.
Six of the ten most active stallions are sons of Sunday Silence, including the three leaders, Agnes Tachyon, Daiwa Major and Fuji Kiseki, thus further concentrating the blood of Japan’s all-time most significant sire, whose daughters also remain a big part of the breeding pool.
Agnes Tachyon has made a bid to be his sire’s successor after earning his first leading sire title in 2008, with Fuji Kiseki second in last year’s rankings by progeny earnings.
However, some challengers are emerging, with Japanese Derby winner King Kamehameha ranking as leading freshman sire last year and Symboli Kris S, the leading first-year sire of 2007, standing atop Japan’s 2009 general sire list up to early March.