When the field goes to the post for the Kentucky Derby, Master Fencer will be the first Japanese-bred horse to make his start in the Run for the Roses. For owner Katsumi Yoshizawa, the event will be a new achievement for a formidable stable.
Kate Hunter, the Japan-based representative for Breeders' Cup, Keeneland, the Kentucky Derby, and other American entities, wrote in America's Best Racing this week that owners are rarely profiled extensively ahead of big races in Japan, so the American public may not know much about Katsumi. Katsumi grew up riding at an equestrian club in Sapporo, Hokkaido but left his hobby behind when he became a businessman. Then, a friend introduced him to horse racing and he changed careers to work in the office at a training facility.
In an unconventional move, Katsumi opened his own training facility in the mid-1990s, housed within the Japan Racing Association's Bloodhorse Training Center. The operation trains Katsumi's own horses as well as those of outside clients like Godolphin Japan, and has been home to Group 1 winners Gold Ship and Just a Way as well as Japanese Derby winner Tanino Gimlet.
Master Fencer is one of 26 horses in Katsumi's ownership, not counting those he owns in partnership. Sharp observers of the Keeneland sales may recognize Katsumi, who has been in attendance in recent years buying yearlings.
Read more at America's Best Racing
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