Famous People in Japan

Matsunaga Mikio

Date of Birth 10 April 1967
Place of Birth Kumamoto

Mikio Matsunaga is one of the most famous jockeys in Japan. He became a jockey in March 1986. On the first of March 1986, he rode his first race, but he placed 12th. He got his first win on the 23rd of March on the horse Tsurumai Swallow. It was the 21st race for him.

He won the Hakodate Sansai Stakes, grade 3 on Southern Venus in 1988. It was the first time he won a grade race. He practiced riding horses more, and his technique improved. In 1989, he won Naruo Kinen,a level 2 race on Mr.Sikurenon.

1991 was one of most important years for him. He was asked to ride a female horse this year and won a grade 1 trial race on her. Her name was Isono Louvre. She was to run in Okasho Stakes, grade 1, next. Unfortunately her horseshoe came off before the race, but she ran without it and didn't win. In her next race, Oaks, Mikio Matsunaga won. That was the first time for him to win a grade 1 race.

After that, he continued to ride on horses every year. In March 1996, he had an unfortunate accident. He was riding a horse whose name was Generalist, and was training him. The horse was exited by another horse, and Matsunaga was thrown off the horse. He was also kicked by the horse. He was taken to hospital and had to stay there several months. He came back to the track in autumn, and he rode on the horse, Fabulous Ruffin, in a grade 1 race, Shukasho and won. That was his second Grade 1 title.

In 1997, he won Okasho again. He won more than 100 races that year. He became the 12th jockey in the history of Japan to win more than 100 races in a year. He also got married to an ex-model in 1997.

I expect him to keep winning in 1999 as well.

References: Keiba Book (magazine)

Reported by: Ogihara Shingo
Data verified by: Yamashita Keisuke
Date of Report: July 1998

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