[dropcap]A[/dropcap]n unusually marked white Thoroughbred mare named Buchiko has been making waves in the Japanese racing industry. The four-year-old has won three races and been second twice from 11 starts. Roughly translated from Japanese, Buchiko’s name means dappled girl. On racedays, her handlers wear spotted accessories to complete the picture.
Registered as white, she has dark chestnut “medicine hat” markings on her head, and has jagged chestnut dapples or spots on her body, which many watchers have likened to appaloosa markings. However, she’s full thoroughbred, being by the Kingmambo sire King Kamehameha and out of the Sunday Silence mare Shirayukihime. It is from the pure white mare Shirayukihime that Buchiko gets her colouring, and she is her best performed offspring so far.
Her white colouring is courtesy of a specific gene mutation, the KIT gene, which plays an important role in colour during embryonic development, causing an absence of melanocytes in depigmented skin areas.