Tokai Teio, sired by Symboli Rudolf, passed away on 30th August 2013 at the age of 25 years. He is one of the most well known horses in Japan, and most probably known to common people who are not so interested in KEIBA, because his racing performance is still vividly sensational after the 20 years from his retirement.
Actually, Tokai Teio has opened the door to horse racing for me, so I could not help writing how sensational he was.
One day, I happened to have an opportunity to start a horse racing forecast in the Christmas season, and I looked for the winner of the Arima Kinen, the grand prix race in Japan mostly held at the last fixture of the year. It was 1993, when I was a teenager.
I had not had any knowledge about horse racing but as other people did, I knew his name and his previous career as celebrity and struggle. Tokai Teio was a first crop of Symboli Rudolf, an undefeated triple crown horse, and he was also undefeated when he won the second crown, Japanese Derby. He was highly expected to win the last crown and follow his father, but unfortunately he broke his leg and had to take a rest for several months. At that time, his career was 6 wins out of 6 runs.
Tokai Teio came back to the turf and won one race with a new partner, OKABE Yukio, a highly respected Jockey in Japan. The bay 4yo horse aimed at Tenno Sho Spring, the most prestigious race in Japan. But he was denied by Mejiro Mcqueen, a great stayer, at the race. After the race, the trainer found that he had got injured in the race. Anyway, this was his first failure.
After 6 months, Tokai Teio tried at Tenno Sho Autumn, but he struggled at the crazily high pace and sank to the 7th. Every racegoers thought that Teio was over.
However, a miracle happened. He came back to his best performance and won the first international race in Japan, Japan Cup. In that race, there were a lot of worldwide famous horses to celebrate the new international graded 1 race, but every horse was defeated by Tokai Teio.
Yet, Tokai Teio did not have a good stamina to win another race. He burned out in the Japan Cup, and in the next race, Arima Kinen, he was placed 11th, and again fractured. That time again, everyone thought "Teio was over finally."
Tokai Teio managed to come back to the turf for the first time in 1 year and made an entry to Arima Kinen 1993, but the duration was good enough to make his fame sepia. Racegoers thought, if he were to win the graded 1 race(jpn1) after one year break, it would had been a miracle. I agreed with them totally.
You know what happened in the Arima Kinen? Well, this became a very long story, so "to be continued."