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Repole: Japan Has Caught Up to Us on Both Turf and Dirt

Top American owner/breeder Mike Repole came away from the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1) with a revelation: “I think Japan has caught up to us on both turf and dirt.”

Less than a week after Japan’s T O Password  finished fifth and Forever Young  ran a gallant third—missing the win by two noses in a roughly run Kentucky Derby—Repole made a purchase out of Japan’s Chiba Thoroughbred Sale, going to ¥33 million (US$211,200) for a 2-year-old Orfevre  filly out of his former multiple grade 2 winner Unlimited Budget .

The Street Sense   mare Unlimited Budget, out of the Valid Appeal daughter Unlimited Pleasure, won four of 12 starts and earned $758,837 for Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher from 2012-14. She won her first four starts including the 2012 Demoiselle Stakes (G2), 2013 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G3) and 2013 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) leading up to a third-place finish behind Princess of Sylmar  and Beholder  in that year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1).

At the conclusion of her career, Repole entered Unlimited Budget in Fasig-Tipton’s November mixed sale, where Shadai Farm bought her for $1.3 million. She has five named foals in Japan. All five have raced, but the only stakes performance so far came from her Heart’s Cry  colt Portafoglio, who finished third in a local grade 2 jump race.

Repole plans to bring the Orfevre filly to America and she will be trained by Pletcher.

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“Hopefully she is a graded stakes winner and Oaks filly like her dam,” Repole said.

Caption: Unlimited Budget works and scenes at Churchill Downs near Louisville, Ky. on April 26, 2013, during Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks week. 1Works4_26_13 image797 Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Unlimited Budget training ahead of a third-place finish in the 2013 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs

Repole said the Chiba sale purchase was facilitated by Pat Cummings and Alex Soils II. 

“I’ve been so impressed with the Japanese breed,” Repole told BloodHorse. “I actually bought some Deep Impact mares last year. Obviously I raced the mare Unlimited Budget, so that was a big factor. I also like the sire.”

Repole said he has no problem with the Japanese buying American mares, “as long as we have the ability to buy mares in Japan for the U.S.”

“I would love to trade some of my mares for some Japanese mares. I want to buy more Japanese horses. I think they have done a better job with the breed than we have.”

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