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Tracing Japan Filly Triple Crown Winner Liberty Island

Porter on Pedigrees

Liberty Island winning the Shuka Sho at Kyoto Racecourse

Liberty Island winning the Shuka Sho at Kyoto Racecourse

Masakazu Takahashi

Japan has been blessed with some exceptional distaff performers in recent years, with six of the seven winners of the Triple Crown for fillies coming since 2003. The latest of these is Liberty Island, who on Sunday completed the hat trick of Oka Sho: Japanese 1,000 Guineas (G1), Yushun Himba-Japanese Oaks (G1), and Shuka Sho (G1). The classics are the only three starts for Liberty Island in 2023, but she also earned a title of champion 2-year-old filly of 2022, winning on two of her three outings, including the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1), and missing by just a neck in the Artemis Stakes (G3).

Liberty Island is from the third crop of the late Duramente, who sadly died in 2021 at the age of just 9. Duramente was by King Kamehameha, a son of Kingmambo who was imported to Japan in utero and who won seven of eight starts there, including the NHK Mile Cup (G1), by five lengths, and the Tokyo Yushun-Japan Derby (G1), where he established a course record. Twice Leading Sire in Japan, King Kamehameha is also an important sire of sires, notably with other grade 1 sires Lord Kanaloa—an outstanding sire whose offspring include another Japan Filly Triple Crown heroine, Almond Eye, and Rulership.

The champion 3-year-old of his crop, Duramente made nine starts over three seasons, winning five of them and taking second in the other four. Although his second season ended in May, he had already stamped himself at the head of his generation with victories in the Satsuki Sho-Japanese 2,000 Guineas (G1) and Tokyo Yushun-Japanese Derby (G1), in which he broke his sire's course record. Subsequently, he was found to have suffered distal fractures to both forelegs, which kept him away from the races for nearly nine months. On his return at 4, Duramente took the Nakayama Kinen (G2) before proving his merit on an international stage, taking second to Postponed in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1). In his only other start, Duramente finished second, beaten a neck in the Takarazuka Kinen (G1).

Duramente has three crops of 3-year-olds and up and has made a very good start with 16 stakes winners, 11 graded, including champion Japanese 3-year-old colt Titleholder; champion 3-year-old filly Stars On Earth, successful in the Yushun Himba and Oka Sho; Champagne Color, who took the NHK Mile Cup (G1); and the Hopeful Stakes (G1) scorer Dura Erede.

Liberty Island's dam, Yankee Rose, was also stellar runner, albeit in Australia, where she was champion at 2 and 3. A daughter of the Red Ransom stallion All American, Yankee Rose cost just AU$10,000 as an auction yearling but captured the ATC Sires' Produce Stakes (G1) and Spring Champion Stakes (G1), and took second in the ATC Golden Slipper (G1) and third in the W.S. Cox Plate (G1), each of those races against males. Yankee Rose is half sister to the Australian group winner Miravalle and to the dam of Isotope, who is a black-type winner and group placed in that country.

Liberty Island's second dam, Condesaar, is from a shuttle crop by European champion 2-year-old colt Xaar, a son of the Gone West stallion Zafonic. She was half sister to a high-class horse named Redoute's Dancer, successful in the New Zealand Derby (G1) and ARC Championship Stakes (G2). Condessar is out of the unraced but very well-bred Condescendance, a daughter of El Gran Senor and Condessa, winner of the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) and Musidora Stakes (G3) and runner-up in the Irish Oaks (G1). Condescendance is also half sister to the Danzig horse Biko Pegasus, a top-class sprinter in Japan in an era prior to races in that country being acknowledged as graded stakes for international cataloging purposes. In addition to producing Biko Pegasus, Condessa also appears as third dam of the Dewhurst Stakes (G1) captor Tout Seul and of Japanese stakes winner Symboli Gran.

Liberty Island comes from a branch of a famous family. Her sixth dam, Silken Slipper, produced both the Irish Oaks captress Silken Glider and Allangrange, successful in the Irish St. Leger. Silken Slipper's dam, Carpet Slipper, is half sister to Dalmary, who won the Yorkshire Oaks, and who after being imported to the United States produced Rough Shod II, dam of the famous quartet of Moccasin, Ridan, Lt. Stevens, and Thong, and ancestress of a legion of important horses, headed by Sadler's Wells and Nureyev.

Liberty Island owns an interesting pedigree pattern, as she has the brothers Try My Best and El Gran Senor 5x4. In addition, her granddam is inbred 3x4 to Best in Show, who is granddam of not only Try My Best and El Gran Senor, but also of Condessar's sire, Xaar. Despite Try My Best having limited success, and El Gran Senor having serious fertility problems, the siblings are found together in 19 stakes winners, 10 graded, including other group or grade 1 winners Ramonti, Masked Crusader, and Grace Hall.