His sixth crop is just emerging into its three-year-old spring but it already features Danon Touchdown, second in the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity in December, as well as Bellagio Opera, unbeaten in three races including the G2 Spring Stakes over 1800m at Nakayama last weekend, a win that pegged the colt as a likely classic contender.
Lord Kanaloa was Japan’s champion first-season sire in 2017, a year when he had 32 individual winners of 39 races from 94 individual runners; those numbers continued to rise naturally as he consolidated his status and more of his stock entered the system, so that by 2022, his number of individual starters was up to 585, producing 273 winners of 448 races and prize money of ¥4,298,573,500.
This year, Lord Kanaloa has had 403 starters, with 80 of those horses winning 94 races. The title is determined by prize money and his offspring’s prize money accrued at this early stage comes in at ¥1,016,162,000, placing him top of the standings ahead of Deep Impact with ¥835,623,000.
It looks a lot like the emergence of a new champion stepping into the vast void left by Deep Impact. But is that what we are seeing?
There is a school of thought that should Lord Kanaloa clinch the title, he will be more like his sire, King Kamehameha, or Manhattan Cafe, or Agnes Tachyon, the three that took the champion sire crown in the four years between the incredible Sunday Silence and Deep Impact: a stop-gap champion, just keeping the throne warm until the next superstar stallion comes through.
That might well have been Duramente – another son of King Kamehameha – the champion first season sire in 2020, that produced the classic-winning Titleholder and Stars On Earth, as well as this week’s G1-winning UAE Derby contender Dura Erede, before his untimely passing at age nine in September 2021.