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Sunday Silence May Have Influence on Derby

Daily Racing Form

Upon his retirement, 1989 Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Sunday Silence attracted surprisingly little attention from American breeders but was sold to Japanese interests for $11 million, at the high end of the market at the time. It was a prudent move, as he went on to make innumerable contributions to that bloodstock industry. Now, more than a decade after his death, he could be adding some international intrigue to this Kentucky Derby.

Lani, a Kentucky-born but Japanese-based grandson of Sunday Silence, won the Group 2, $2 million UAE Derby on the Dubai World Cup card Saturday at Meydan. In the process, the colt, an early Triple Crown nominee, earned 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, guaranteeing him a spot in the starting gate.

“We always knew he was special,” Koki Maeda, the son of owner Yoko Maeda, said. “We would really like to win the Kentucky Derby, and based on how he ran over this [dirt surface at Meydan], I think he’ll be able to run well in Kentucky if we go. If there is nothing wrong with the horse after the race and Mr. Maeda wants to go, we will send him to the Kentucky Derby.”

Lani, a son of two-time reigning leading North American sire Tapit, is out of Japanese Group 1 winner Heavenly Romance, a daughter of Sunday Silence. The mare is the dam of six winners from as many starters; in addition to Lani, the group includes Group 3 winner Awardee and stakes winner Amour Briller.

Sunday Silence was Japan’s leading sire on 13 occasions and its leading broodmare sire eight times. He also has become a prominent sire of sires. His son Deep Impact, Japan’s Triple Crown winner and two-time Horse of the Year, is a three-time leading sire, while Manhattan Cafe and Dance in the Dark also have ranked on the list. His other outstanding sons at stud have included Zenno Rob Roy, Heart’s Cry, Fuji Kiseki, Stay Gold, and Neo Universe, to name only a few.

The influence of Sunday Silence’s sons and daughters was apparent throughout the Dubai World Cup program. Deep Impact is the sire of Real Steel, the winner of the Group 1, $6 million Dubai Turf. Duramente, who finished second in the Group 1, $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic, is out of the Sunday Silence mare Admire Groove.