You might expect that the greatest certainty in the classics for 2016 is that a son of Uncle Mo will win the Kentucky Derby or that a son of Galileo will win the English Derby. But no, the greatest certainty in classic racing is that Shadai’s great son of Sunday Silence, Deep Impact, will have more runners in the Japan Derby than any other sire and that one of them is likely to win the race.
More than any other son of Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence (by Halo), classic winner Deep Impact has captured the imagination of the racing public in Japan, both during his excellent racing career and during his near-legendary time at stud.
Deep Impact was a star on the racetrack, winning 12 of his 14 starts. The winner of his only start at 2, Deep Impact was the best horse in Japan as a 3-year-old and 4-year-old. He won the Japanese Triple Crown, consisting of the Satsuki Sho (2,000 Guineas), Tokyo Yushun (Derby), and Kikuka Sho (St. Leger) in 2005, winning at distances from 2,000 meters to 3,000 meters (approximately 10 to 15 furlongs). Then this outstanding racehorse won four more G1 races as a 4-year-old and retired to stud at Shadai’s prestigious breeding complex on the Northern Island of Hokkaido.
A grand-looking horse by Japan’s favorite stallion, Deep Impact had exceptional opportunities, and he has made the most of them. The stallion ran true to his pedigree, being by classic winner and Horse of the Year Sunday Silence out of a high-class G1 filly in Europe, and Deep Impact stayed as well as that pedigree suggested or a little better. At stud, he has been a force for high class and for stamina, although some of his best offspring have shown top form at distances as short as a mile.
In previous seasons, the now 14-year-old Deep Impact has sired winners of the Japan Cup, the classic events for 3-year-olds, and the primary G1 races for all-ages. With 79 stakes winners so far, the classic winners by Deep Impact include Gentildonna (Japanese Oaks), Kizuna (Japanese Derby), Mikki Queen (Japanese Oaks), and Harp Star (Japanese 1,000 Guineas).
The most recent classic winner by Deep Impact came on April 17, when Dee Majesty won the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) by 1 ¼ lengths from a pair of previously unbeaten Deep Impact colts: Makahiki and Satono Diamond. Dee Majesty has won three of five starts and is now unbeaten in two starts in 2016.
Bred in Japan by Masaru Shimada, who also races the colt, Dee Majesty is the first stakes winner out of the unraced Hermes Tiara, a daughter of Florida Derby winner and Preakness Stakes second Brian’s Time (Roberto).
Hermes Tiara is a half-sister to two stakes winners, and their dam Shinko Hermes (Sadler’s Wells) is a full sister to English Oaks winner Imagine and a half-sister to Generous (Caerleon), winner of the English Derby, Irish Derby, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
This family has been producing top performers around the world, and its classic qualities match well with those of Deep Impact.
Deep Impact is out of the major European winner Wind in Her Hair (Alzao), winner of the G1 Aral-Pokal in Germany and second in the Oaks at Epsom. The mare has produced four stakes winners, including Deep Impact’s full brother Black Tide, who was a G2 stakes winner and is now a sire.
The second dam is the fairish racer Burghclere (Busted), although she is better known as half-sister to Height of Fashion (Bustino), who was highweight 2-year-old filly in England in 1981 and won the 1982 Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket. At stud for Sheikh Hamdan, Height of Fashion produced five stakes winners, most notably Nashwan (Blushing Groom), winner of the 2,000 Guineas, Derby, Eclipse, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
This is a high-quality classic family, and Deep Impact’s third dam is Highclere, one of two classic winners by Queens Hussar (the other being Brigadier Gerard). Highclere won the 1974 1,000 Guineas and Prix de Diane for Queen Elizabeth II. The stallion’s fifth dam is Hypericum, who won the 1945 Dewhurst and 1946 1,000 Guineas for owner-breeder King George VI.
Hypericum was a daughter of English Derby winner Hyperion, bred and raced by Lord Derby, and the breeding lines of his stud, especially Hyperion, Swynford, his half-brother Chaucer, Phalaris, and the latter’s sons Fairway and Pharos cast an influence that is both broad and deep across the pedigree of Deep Impact.