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Forty Niner Fertility Failing In Japan
Former US & Japanese champion sire Forty Niner (Mr Prospector-File, by Tom Rolfe) "may be reaching the end of a career that has yielded progeny earnings of more than US$104 million & a reputation as a potent sire of sires," reported racingpost.co.uk. According to breeders in Japan, Forty Niner was bred to about 45 mares this year "but fewer than 6 have been confirmed in-foal". A spokeswoman for the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association (which has stood the 21-year-old stallion at its Shizunai Stallion Station since 1996) commented: "It is something that comes with age. We haven't made it (specific details about his latest fertility rate) public to any party yet." However she confirmed Forty Niner's book was "curtailed this year due to his age & no plans have been set for the 2007 season"; in the meantime, he "is in good health & remains at the JBBA's main stallion complex on the island of Hokkaido" (along with European champions Opera House & Bago, & American Classic winners Charismatic & Silver Charm). Forty Niner (1987 champion US 2YO male, who won 4 Gr1 races & finished runner-up in 3 others including the Kentucky Derby) retired to Claiborne Farm in Kentucky (which bred & raced him) after his 3YO campaign. He was 1992 US leading freshman sire before Claiborne sold him to Japanese breeders in 1995; he subsequently finished as 3rd leading US General Sire in 1996 & his major Gr1 stars include Editor's Note (Gr1 Belmont Stakes), Gold Fever, Coronado's Quest, Ecton Park & Marley Vale. In Japan, Forty Niner was 2003 Champion Dirt Sire, 6th leading sire overall in 2004, 11th last year & currently 20th on the 2006 list; his leading earner is 6YO multiple Japanese Gr1 winner Utopia (who won the Godolphin Mile at the Dubai World Cup in March) with US$4,823,265 (plus 3 other Japanese-breds Koolinger, Meiner Select & Biwa Shinseiki have earned more than US$3 million each). Overall Forty Niner has sired 54 stakes-winners in 15 crops of racing age. Meanwhile his sire-sons include: Distorted Humor (sire of dual American Classic winner Funny Cide); Roar (Argentina's leading sire in 2005); & End Sweep (1998 leading US freshman sires list before being exported to Japan, where he ranked among the Top 10 sires in 2004 & 2005 after his death in 2002). At least 30 sons of Forty Niner were scheduled to stand in the US in 2006, with others in Japan, Australia, South Africa & Peru.