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There’s been a bit of chat on the interwebs and hinterblogs about who was the best colt not to win the Triple Crown. Most of the consideration has been on Spectacular Bid, Point Given, Afleet Alex, and to a lesser extent (if you can believe it) Sunday Silence.

All were smacking good racehorses, as were Risen Star, Tim Tam, Damascus, Native Dancer, and a few others who never made the Triple like Buckpasser, Dr Fager, and Kelso. Yet we can argue till we faint dead away, and nobody can prove which was the absolute best. But I can, however, tell you which was the best at stud (although Afleet Alex has many chapters left to write): Sunday Silence.

The winner of two-thirds of the Triple Crown, the BC Classic, and Horse of the Year, Sunday Silence was much better than that when put to stud in Japan as the supreme legacy of the great breeder Zenya Yoshida.

Simply put, Sunday Silence was the best stallion in the history of Thoroughbred breeding in Japan, and he became known as one of the best in the world, although few of his offspring left the most lucrative racing and breeding program in the world.

Although lost relatively young, Sunday Silence still rules the breeding world in Japan. As evidence of the stallion’s absolute dominance, Keiblog notes: “every single horse in [tomorrow’s Japan Derby] field is related to Sunday Silence. 16 are by stallions whose sire is Sunday Silence. Cresco Grand and Belshazzar have Sunday Silence as their broodmare sire.”


There are several reasons for Sunday Silence’s success in Japan, not least being that his physique and character suited their racing program so well. But don’t let anyone tell you it was because he was playing in a sandlot. The Japanese have world-class racing, and their stock races impressively when taken into other environments.

The old black pest* was simply the best.

*(I was a fan of Easy Goer)