|Name / Japanese||Keystone / キーストン|
|Dam (Sire)||Little Midge (Migoli)|
|Other site link||JBIS / en.netkeiba|
|Awards||Keishusha Award for Best Two-Year-Old Colt (1964)
Keishusha Award for Best Three-Year-Old Colt (1965)
Keishusha Award for Best Sprinter (1965)
|Kyoto Sansai Stakes||2||1|
|Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby)||2||1||▲ / G|
|Sankei Osaka Hai||9||5|
|Tenno Sho (Spring)||2||5||G|
|Hanshin Daishoten||3||\||▲ / G|
In 1964 (age 2)
- In his debut race, he won by 10 lengths.
- In his fourth race after his debut, he defeated Dai Koter who would later become his rival.
- He won the Best Two-Year-Old Colt with five straight wins from his debut.
He broke the record time three times (including two course records) in 1964.
In 1965 (age 3)
- He was the leading contender to win the classic races.
- In the Yayoi Sho, he won by 3 lengths.
It was the first major race win for him and his jockey, Shoji Yamamoto.
- In the Spring Stakes, he lost to Dai Koter by 1+3/4 lengths.
He was reportedly beaten by the distance because the press thought he was not good at long distance races.
- In the Satsuki Sho, the first classic race, he finished 14th.
(Chitose O finished 1st and Dai Koter was 2nd.)
It was said that the reason for his heavy loss was that he failed to adjust to the conditions, as he lost 14 kg from the previous race.
After this race, his owner suggested changing the jockey, but the trainer did not agree and decided to continue having Shoji Yamamoto riding.
- Before the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), Dai Koter was purchased by another owner for more than twice the price of the first prize of the Derby.
Therefore, there was controversy over whether the Derby could be bought with money.
By the way, it is known that the new owner who purchased Dai Koter had approached the owner of Keystone about purchasing it prior to the Satsuki Sho, but Keystone’s owner had refused.
- In the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), he was the 2nd favorite.
He took the lead right at the start of the race.
In the home stretch, Dai Koter was chasing him, but he won the race by 1+3/4 lengths over Dai Koter.
He became the 32nd Japanese Derby horse.
It was also jockey Shoji Yamamoto’s first and last victory in the eight major races.
- In the Kikuka Sho, he lost to Dai Koter and finished 2nd.
- Keystone won the Best Three-Year-Old Colt.
However, the handicap rate was higher for Dai Koter.
Dai Koter did so poorly from next year onward that it was eventually run in a steeplechase race.
Dai Koter would become successful as a stallion after his retirement.
In 1966-1967 (age 4-5)
- In the Tenno Sho (Spring), he was the 2nd favorite and finished 5th.
He rested after the Tenno Sho to prepare for the autumn season, but injured his leg and had to rest for more than a year.
- He finished second in his first race back from injury, but went on to win four straight.
His connections deemed him fully recovered and registered him to run in the year-end Arima Kinen.
However, his connections later decided that a trip to the Kanto region would be too much of a burden on his legs and changed the race to the Hanshin Daishoten in his home region of Kansai.
(Unlike today, the Hanshin Daishoten was held in December.)
- In the Hanshin Daishoten, he was the 1st favorite.
He remained in the lead going through the final turn and into the home stretch.
About 300 meters before the finish line, Keystone slipped forward and his jockey, Shoji Yamamoto, fell off his horse.
Yamamoto hit his head during the fall and temporarily lost consciousness.
Keystone also moved forward a bit from that point and then fell.
After that, Keystone got up and walked on three legs to the side of the fallen Yamamoto as if worried about him.
Keystone’s left front leg was severely dislocated, his hoot was swinging in mid-air, and it was clear to everyone that Keystone had sustained a fatal injury.
Keystone did not lash out in pain and spent his last moments with Yamamoto, who was temporarily regaining consciousness at this time.
Keystone’s gesture moved many people to emotion and brought tears to their eyes.
The TV commentator tearfully described the scene.
Yamamoto had one last talk with Keystone, and then lost consciousness again as he let someone approaching him take the reins.
When Yamamoto regained consciousness again, Keystone had already been euthanized.
After his death
- His last actions became a touching story of trust and friendship between man and horse, and still remains in the history of Japanese horse racing today.
However, his death itself should not be made into a more beautiful story than necessary.
It should also be remembered that he was a Derby winner and a great thoroughbred who won a total of 18 races in 25 starts.
- Yamamoto retired as a jockey in 1973 and became a trainer.
He said, “If Keystone had lived, I would have stayed a jockey longer, looking forward to riding his crops.
He also said, “I didn’t impress anyone as a jockey, but it was Keystone that made me memorable to people, and it has helped me since I became a trainer.”
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