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.