Day: March 1, 2009

Baekpa To Take on USA

2007 Korean Oaks winner Baekpa is currently in quarantine preparing to become the second Korean bred horse to race in the United States following Pick Me Up’s unsuccessful spell there in 2008. The five year old mare is likely to make her racing debut in mid to late March.

By the Dancing Brave stallion Revere, one of the leading sires in Korea, and out of Grey Crest (Gold Crest), the grey Baekpa is recognised as Korea’s best filly or mare. Despite finishing second in the 2006 Herald Business, the nation’s top race for Juveniles in her second outing, it took Baekpa seven races to break her maiden. Once she did, victory in the Sports Seoul Cup followed as did a comfortable win in the Oaks. She rounded out her three year old season by finishing fourth to J.S. Hold in the Minister’s Cup and then landing two class 2 handicaps.

Taking on male horses in every race since her Oaks triumph, Baekpa crowned her four year old season by beating 2008 horse of the year Myeongmun Gamun in the SBS Cup after a monsoon downpour last July. Only running three times since, Myeongmun Gamun turned the tables in the President’s Cup and Baekpa then managed a creditable fifth placed finish behind Dongbanui Gangja in the season ending Grand Prix race in December. Despite getting off to a terrible start in the Grand Prix, Myeongmun Gamun was the only Korean bred horse to be ahead of her at the finish line.

Baekpa’s complete race records are 22 starts, 8 wins, 5 seconds and 3 thirds. Since breaking her maiden, she has never been outside the money. While she is going to have to run quicker than she ever has before to even finish in the middle of an American field, sending Baekpa, a Classic winner and tenacious battler in her homeland and one of the few horses who Korean racegoers shout for by name rather than by number, will give the KRA’s “internationalization” experiment more legitimacy than it got from sending old-stager Pick Me Up last year.

Meanwhile, Baekpa’s half brother, Baekgwang, whose injury in 2007 ruled out a showdown with J.S. Hold and whose return running second in the Ttukseom Cup last year also ended in redamaging his ligaments, may return to the track after all. Having spent nearly a year recuperating on Jeju Island after undergoing pioneering stem cell treatment, Baekgwang is tentatively scheduled to race in May, his one year injury ban ending in April.

Dongbanui Gangja Too Good Again

Love Cat third / Brown Beauty shock win at Busan
Dongbanui Gangja further cemented his claim to be considered the top horse in training at Seoul as he breezed to victory in today’s big race. The four year old sat towards the back of the eleven strong field until they turned for home and Choi Beom Hyun didn’t have to ask twice for an effort as Dongbanui Gangja hit the front with a furlong to go and calmly claimed a three length win.

That the Grand Prix champion won wasn’t a surprise, but the identity of those horses closest to him certainly was. Bold Magic, an 82.6 outsider showed well throughout and though looked like tiring as they entered the home straight, found his second wind to hold on for second. Another outsider, Dankee’s Pal set the early pace and stayed on well for third. Second favourite, Haengun Daewang was fourth.

Another win takes Dongbanui Gangja to five in a row and ten from seventeen in total. A winner over every distance from seven furlongs to the maximum eleven and a half, it is difficult to imagine any other horse at Seoul being able to seriously challenge him at the moment.

Three year old filly Love Cat made the very early step up to class 2 racing in race 9. On a run of four straight wins she was sent off favorite and hit the front inside the final furlong. Ultimately she had to settle for finishing a narrowly beaten third behind four year olds Headline News and Shocking. Nevertheless, the performance was enough for Love Cat [Creek Cat – Love Cue (Curia Regis)] maintain her place among the Classic contenders.

At Busan Race Park, there was a shock in the feature race as outsider Brown Beauty, who had been towards the front for most of the 2000 metre race, hit the lead with a furlong to go and didn’t let go of it. The Japanese bred mare ran on to record a length’s victory over Admiral Reigart with Eodubong in third. Hot favourite Hwanggeumbit Taeyang never featured, finishing a disappointing sixth. For Brown Beauty [Jolie’s Halo – Big Paradise (Timber Country)] it was a first victory since September 2007.

Also at Busan, South African jockey Martin Wepner completed his second full race day. Across Friday and Sunday, Wepner had twelve rides, managing to place with three of them, not a bad return considering the extremely average quality of most of his mounts. He also managed to pick up a fine for careless riding in race 3 this afternoon.

Class 1 (Foreign Bred) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Mar 1, 2009

1. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow – Maremaid (Storm Bird)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 1.2
2. Bold Magic (USA) [Magic Cat – Too Late To Quit (Fighting Fit)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 82.6
3. Dankee’s Pal (USA) [Max’s Pal – Dankee (Regal Intention)] – Lee Gi Hwoi – 39.1
Distances: 3 lengths/1 length – 11 ran