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Champion racehorse Kaburaya O, who captured the first two legs of Japan’s Triple Crown series in 1975, died Saturday at the age of 31 (about 90 years in human terms) at the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders Association Stallion Station in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture. His death was attributed to old age.

Kaburaya O was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old in 1975 after ending the year with a perfect six for six record. Following his win in the Satsukisho in April that year, Kaburaya O extended his winning streak to eight the next month with a thrilling high-paced wire-to-wire victory in the Nippon Derby, with jockey Yasuo Sugawara up.

Unfortunately, tendinitis prevented Kaburaya O from making a bid for the Triple Crown in that fall’s Kikkasho. Trainer Tamejiro Shigeki went so far as to bring the horse to Kyoto in the hopes of racing but in the end decided not to take the risk of further injury.

After a year off, Kaburaya O returned to the track for an additional four races and three wins before retiring with a stellar career record of 11 wins in 13 starts. Kaburaya O (Pharamond–Kaburaya, by Darannour) was bred at Tokachi Ikusei Bokujo in Hokkaido’s Niikappu.

According to Dr. Teruyuki Imahara of the JBBA, the horse’s body will be used for research at the JRA Equine Research Institute in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture. Sanitation laws prohibit the burial of horses in Japan.

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