Month: October 2008

Fourteen go in Gyeonggi-do

There will be a full field of fourteen contesting Sunday afternoon’s Gyeonggi-do Cup at Seoul Race Park. The 1800 metre race, named for the province where the Seoul track is located, is a handicap for locally bred category 3 fillies and has a first prize of KRW 106Million. Full list of runners, riders and weights:

Gyeonggi-do Cup – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – Nov. 2, 2008 – 16:40

1. Yosulgongju (17/2/2/3) – 54kg – Moon Jung Kyun
2. Gyeongcheonyeowang (19/2/4/1) – 53.5kg – Yoo Sang Wan
3. Hwanggeumnara (21/1/5/7) – 53.5kg – Nozomu Tomizawa
4. Gayawangbi (19/2/4/2) – 54kg – Kim Hyo Seob
5. Happy Queen (12/2/3/3) – 53.5kg – Cho Kyoung Ho
6. Gate Way (15/3/3/1) – 54kg – Lee Gi Hwoi
7. Seonggongchulbal (10/1/2/2) – 53kg – Lee Jun Cheol
8. Mild Go (11/3/3/0) – 56kg – Moon Se Young
9. Meotjin Segye (10/2/2/2) – 54kg – Ikuyasu Kurakane
10. Night Fever (15/2/2/2) – 53kg – Oh Kyoung Hoan
11. Hera (7/3/1/1) – 54kg – Lee Dong Kuk
12. Gangdonguijumal (18/4/0/2) – 55.5 – Park Tae Jong
13. Dreamer (19/2/2/4) – 54.5 – Shin Hyoung Cheol
14. Wonder Wonder (20/2/5/2) – 56kg – Choi Beom Hyun

As noted below, racing begins at Seoul Race Park at 11:00am on both Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend’s action got underway at Busan Race Park this afternoon, CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS.

Weekend Preview – Winter Schedule Begins

Busan Race Park
Friday October 31: Busan kicks thing off at 13:00 Friday with a ten race card. Feature is a 1600 metre handicap with Annika Queen and Distance Runner topping the weights. Earlier, The Bee Keeper will be looking to get back in form after losing his unbeaten record last time out. He goes over 1600 metres in race 8.

Sunday November 2: Sunday’s six race card gets underway at 12:20. Despite not having won for well over year and not even running since April, the New Zealand bred gelding will be top weight in the big handicap at 16:10

Seoul Race Park
Saturday November 1: Seoul moves onto winter schedules from this weekend and so the first race will start at 11:00am. There are eleven races on Saturday. A small but very well-known field contests the day’s most valuable race. If he wins, Subsidy [Mr. Prospector – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] will break KRW 1Billion in career prize money, but with Saerounbisul, Pocketful of Money, Haengun Daewang, Ul Mountain and Seungyu Sinhwa joined by the exciting three year old Vicar Love, it’s going to be tough.

Sunday November 3: Sunday also sees eleven races with the first at 11:00am. Feature is one of the biggest fillies races of the season, the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. A field of 14 will contest the 1800 metre handicap at 16:40 for the KRW 106Million first prize. We’ll have a full list of runners and riders tomorrow. Also on Sunday’s card is a cat 1 handicap which sees Secret Weapon up against Machine Gun over 2000 metres.

Jeju Race Park stages a ten race card on both Saturday and Sunday. First race is off at 12:20 both days. At this stage the weekend weather is predicted to be cool and dry. There is, however, a chance of rain on Friday.

Top Point gets Full Marks Again

Mexicali Blues wins as Supernatural unplaced again / Jilju Hara back in form
Top Point suffered a mild final furlong scare but battled on well to win today’s feature at Seoul Race Park. The filly seemed set for a comfortable win as she led round all four corners of the 2000 etre handicap, but as they entered the straight, Nujindo, under Ikuyasu Kurakane came through to take things up. However, Cho Kyoung Ho was able to rally Top Point to come back and snatch a one length win. Flying Cat was a further four lengths back in third. The win marked Top Points seventh win in her last eight races, the only slip coming last time out against foreign horses.

In today’s battle of foreign horses, it was another filly who came out on top as Mexicali Blues never gave the rest of the field a look-in as she led from start to finish under the lights in race 11. Favourite Last Dance Buddy came in second, four lengths behind, just ahead of Ecton Cat with second-favourite Supernatural back in fourth. It was a fourth win for Mexicali Blues [Golden Missile – Golden Made (Allen’s Prospect)] and her first above sprint distances. Earlier, highly rated Coleraine took his third straight win. The New Zealand bred gelding was never in trouble as he cruised to a length and a half victory over 1400 metres in race 6.

At Busan Race Park, there was a six race card and Sotuh African jockey Deryl Daniels took his second winner of the weekend guiding favourite Khaosan to a length and a half win in race 3. Earlier, in race 2, Japanese bred filly Jilju Hara returned to form after her shock defeat last time out. Once again backed down to 1.2 in the betting, she made no mistake this time over the same distance, cantering to a nine length win. In Busan’s feature, favourite Hwanggeumbit Taeyang took a half length win from second favourite Dangdae Star.



Dangdanghan Holds on for Gwacheon Win

Dangdanghan took the feature Gwacheon Citizen Day race with an impressive wire-to-wire victory at Seoul Race Park on Saturday. Kim Dong Kyun took the three year old, fifth in the betting, into the lead out of the stalls opening up a four length lead in the backstretch. Kim Ok Sung brought Arrow Guard out of the pack to challenge Dangdanghan as they approached the third corner and it looked as though Dangdanghan was finished going into the home straight. Kim Dong Kyun found something more from his mount and although challenges emerged from Geumsuni and Wig, the line came just in time for Dangdanghan to hold on for a half length win. The win is the gelding’s sixth in ten starts.

In other races on a day when heavy showers were a feature of the afternoon, Baekjeonmupae was sent off heavy favourite in a 2300 metre handicap. He could only manage second, however, losing a final furlong battle with Fly Queen, the mare giving Kim Hyo Seob his second win of the day. There was a treble for Moon Se Young but Park Tae Jong suffered a bad fall in race 3 .

Promising two year old Clever Money kept up his 100% record in his second race and the three year old Seven Card continued his impressive recent run of form by taking race 8. Under Yoo Seung Wan, Seven Card led from start to finsish but was pushed all the way by the fast finishing Thunder Boy. Australian import Summa Cum Laude finally won at the fourth attempt and there was a dominant win for Suseong Equus, taking race 5 by eight lengths.


Sinjin Gangja Goes Wire to Wire at Busan

Second favourite Sinjin Gangja led from start to finish to claim the feature at Busan Race Park this afternoon. The 3.4 second favourite held off Mirae Cheonsa by half a length to record his tenth career victory. Favorite Yeongung Manse was a further length back in third. Earlier, there was an impressive win for Dahlonega. In his first attempt at cat.2 level, the American bred three year bounced out of the gate and stormed away from the field to record a ten length victory. It was the colt’s third straight win.


Weekend Preview

The racing world may have its eyes on the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, but there’s still plenty of racing in Korea this weekend. Here’s what’s happening:

Busan Race Park:
Friday October 24: Action begins at Busan with a ten race Friday card. As usual things get underway at 13:00 and Sinjin Gangja will carry top weight in the feature race. The four year old has either won or placed inhis last 17 outings and will have the likes of Yeongung Manse and Mirae Cheonsa for company when they come under orders for the 1800 metre handicap at 17:30.

Sunday October 26: Sunday sees the turn of the foreign bred horses to featire in the main event. Hwanggeumbit Taeyang hasn’t won since February but will carry top weight ahead of Dangdae Star. The first of six races is off at 12:40.

Seoul Race Park
Saturday October 25: Saturday is Gwacheon Citizen’s Day and a “Celebration Race” heads the card. The cat 2 KRW 53Million race has attracted 12 entrants including Wonju Jangsa, Dangdanghan and Samsimnyeonsarang and is the most valuable race of the weekend. Also on Saturday’s card when the first of 12 races is at 11:20, is a rare long distance race. The cat. 1 handicap over the Grand Prix distance of 2300 metres will feature the likes of Gamadongja and Baekjeonmupae and is off at 17:00.

Sunday October 26: There are 11 races on Sunday with the first at 11:20. The filly Top Point will go against Nujindo and Flying Cat in the day’s most valuable race. Perhaps the most intriguing race, however, is the last on the card. A field of 12 mostly 3 and 4 year old imports will go over 1800 metres. Supernatural makes his first outing since suffering his first defeat last month and the gelding will be up against the colt Last Dance Buddy and the filly Mexicali Blues who have spent much of the summer duelling with one another. Also going is Ecton Cat in the race which will need to run under lights at 18:00.

The midweek rain has signalled the end of the high autumn temperatures and the weekend is predicted to be dry with the temperature in the mid-teens. In addition to the cards at Seoul and Busan, Jeju Race Park holds cards on Saturday and Sunday. We will be keeping one eye on Santa Anita though where Korean born Owner/Trainer Cho Myoung Kwon saddles Palacio De Amor in the Juvenile Fillies on Friday and Street Hero in the Juvenile on Saturday.

What have we learned from Pick Me Up?

Pick Me Up’s American sojourn was always going to be interesting and although few held out much hope of the six year old taking the US by storm, his tailing off by an average field running a slow time at Charles Town last week has caused more than a little embarrassment for Korean racing fans. Pick Me Up’s stay in the US is part of the KRA’s “Internationalization Plan”. The plan was started in 2004 with the first International Jockey Challenge and the start of a number of Trophy races. This has evolved into a once a year weekend event which this year also saw two jockeys come over from Malaysia as part of a jockey exchange, however, other than that and Busan Race Park making its Stewards’ Reports available in English, there seems to be little progress in making Korean racing truly “international”.

Go to the KRA’s English site right now and visitors are greeted with a Pop-Up window inviting overseas jockeys to apply for a licence to ride full time in Korea. Several foreign riders have done that in recent years. At the opening of Busan Race Park in 2005, Australians Mark Newnham, Garry Baker and Nathan Day were signed up although only Baker managed to make a go of it, landing 89 winners in two years. However, Baker reported on his return to Australia that “it did seem as if they didn’t really want you there”. Danny Craven put in a creditable nine month effort first at Seoul and then at Busan, however, South African Chris Taylor only lasted a few weeks before departing.

More successful have been the Japanese with the remarkable Toshio Uchida dominating Busan in 2008 while Ikuyasu Kurakane and Nozomu Tomizawa more than hold their own at Seoul. There are two more Japanese riders at Busan while another is scheduled to join Seoul in November. Maybe Pick Me Up would have been better going to Japan.

Korean fans need not be too embarrassed. Pick Me Up’s trot round Charles Town was witnessed by a grand total of 900 racegoers in attendance with total handle – both on and off course – for the entire card being about the same as what is bet on the average pony race on Jeju Island. It seems an odd way to go about “internationalization”. Pick Me Up has been a solid performer at Busan but by no means a star. He’s won seven out of his forty starts and has picked up a lot of second and third placed finishes, despite suffering over the past two years from a restrictive handicap mark, but he’s not the best Korea has to offer and he’s not 80 lengths worse than those horses he finished behind on Friday.

But this just adds further confusion to the point of the exercise. There are hundreds of overseas bred horses running in Korea but in his forty races, Pick Me Up had never encountered one. They are not allowed to compete against Korean horses except on very rare occasions with the year-ending Grand Prix race the only really big race they are allowed to enter. The truth is that to be the best in Korea, domestically bred horses do not have to be very good.

Pick Me Up Finishes Last at Charles Town

Pick Me Up’s second race in the US went much the same way as his first at Charles Town, West Virginia last Friday evening. Racing on dirt, the 6 year old started brightly but was soon at the back of the field of 9 in the HBPA Governor’s Stakes over 9 furlongs. Hopes that his disappointing showing in his US debut at Delaware Park last month could be put down to running on turf for the first time were dashed as the change in surface made little difference to his performance which was described in the race summary as “finished early”. Pick Me Up will race on in the US before returning to Korea in December.

See the video of the race here. It does not make pleasant viewing for Korean racing fans. (Thanks to fpop for the video).

Good Day Wins Again

Weekend Round-Up: Namchonuijijon / Bally Brae / Procyon all disappoint
Good Day made it thirteen wins from eighteen starts with a routine victory in today’s feature handicap at Seoul Race Park. Under Cho Kyoung Ho, the four year old was sent off the overwhelming 1.3 favourite and came in a comfortable length and a half winner despite the fast finish of second placed Balhaejanggun. Putting in a disappointing run was Namchonuijijon, the second favourite showed at the front of the field in the back straight but faded as they rounded the turn and only beat one horse on the line.

Another horse disappointing was Procyon in the feature at Busan Race Park. The gelding was backed in to 1.7 to break his three race losing streak and things looked good as he took up his usual position at the front of the field. It all went wrong in the home straight, however, as Procyon faded away badly to allow Boryeong Bulbit to claim the honours, two lengths ahead of Luna.

Saturday at Seoul Race Park saw Bally Brae also fail to convert a favourite’s chance in the big handicap. Back under Moon Se Young for the first time since the Owner’s Association Trophy in June, the six year old led main threat Dongbanui Gangja for every bit of the 2000 metres – except the bit that mattered. In first and second entering the home straight, the two duelled to the line and it was Dongbanui Gangja, carrying 5 kilos less than Bally Brae who took the sprint. It was a sixth win for the impressive colt who has never been out of the money in thirteen starts. Meanwhile six year old Bally Brae is without a win since March.



Weekend Preview – Bally Brae / Namchonuijijon in action

Busan Race Park
Friday Oct. 17: The weekend’s racing starts at Busan tomorrow with a ten race card starting at 13:00. Top race is a cat.1 foreign bred event with Crafty Louis carrying top weight.
Sunday Oct. 19: A six race card gets underway at 12:40. Procyon, Boryeong Bulbit, Luna and Widaehan Bonneung all go in the main event at 16:30

Seoul Race Park
Saturday Oct. 18: Seoul hosts twelve races on Saturday with the first at 11:20. Bally Brae goes in the main event but will once again be giving a lot of weight to his challengers who include Noubeau Riche and Seoul Teukgeup.
Sunday Oct. 19: Eleven more races on Sunday with the first once again at 11:20. Top prize is in a domestic handicap where Namchouijijon will clash with Good Day over 1900 metres at 17:30.

As usual, Jeju Race Park hosts pony racing cards on both Saturday and Sunday with a 12:20 start both days.