Japanese racing in mourning as Kota Fujioka passes away at the age of 35

Thursday, 11 April, 2024 14:39

Kota Fujioka

The JRA announced on April 11th, the news that the Japanese racing fraternity had feared, Kota Fujioka had succumbed to injuries suffered from a fall at Hanshin on April 6th. The incident occurred in the seventh race when Fujioka was dislodged from his mount on Hanshin's back straight.

In an update from his brother on the 10th, it was revealed that Kota had suffered head and chest injuries, and that he had remained unconscious since the accident.

The news of Fujioka's passing has sent shockwaves throughout the entire racing industry, with tributes quickly flooding various media sources from weigh room colleagues, trainers, and fans.

Kota was born in 1988 in Shiga prefecture, central Japan. He was the son of JRA trainer Kenichi and younger brother of JRA jockey Yusuke. The father and son combination enjoyed a successful association on the racetrack. Kota made a winning debut as a rider on March 3rd, 2007, steering Yamanin Prologue, trained by his father, to the winner's enclosure.

Fujioka had ridden 28 JRA winners this year, and currently sits 10th in the overall leading JRA rider rankings. He was well on track to achieve a career-high number of victories, surpassing his previous best of 63 set last year. His highest profile success in the saddle came when partnering Namur to win the 2023 G1 Mile Championship. In his 17-year career, Fujioka recorded 803 winners in the JRA.

Kota Fujioka's untimely passing marks a second tragic loss in quick succession for Japanese jockeys. Yudai Tsukamoto, died from injuries sustained in a horror fall in Kochi on March 24th. The 25-year-old was a leading young rider on the provincial NAR circuit.


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