Obituary: Saegangja

Record career earnings / First domestic Grand Prix winner
The KRA has announced that Saegangja, winner of 33 races including a Grand Prix and three consecutive Chairman’s Trophies in the late nineties and the early part of this decade, died on March 28 at the age of thirteen. The gelding had been suffering from colic and was euthanized after failing to respond to treatment.

Foaled in 1996, Saegangja was by the sire Fiercely [Danzig – Whirl Series (Roberto)] and out the New Zealand bred mare Exotic Goddess [Nuage d’Or – Rhine Goddess (Rheingold)]. He made his racecourse debut in September 1998, running third of seven in a maiden race over six furlongs. From this relatively inauspicious start he returned the following month to beat an odds-on favourite over five furlongs and was then undefeated in his next fourteen races taking him up until the middle of 2000.

These included victories in the 1999 Chairman’s Trophy, the Munhwa Ilbo Cup and the end of season Grand Prix becoming the first Korean bred winner of arguably the year’s most prestigious race. In the Grand Prix, he was the first of a group of horses to overhaul the tiring Sinsedae, himself winner of 43 races, in the final furlong.

His winning streak was broken in the Owner’s Association Trophy in April 2000 by the unfancied Pisan. He quickly recovered his form, however, retaining the Chairman’s Trophy and Munhwa Ilbo Cup over the following months but with only six runs under his belt for the year, skipped the Grand Prix. In seven races, he made it a hat-trick of Chairman’s Trophies by a neck but, in the first signs he may have reached his peak, suffered losses in the Minister’s Cup and SBS Cup before running third in the Grand Prix.

In 2002, he lost his Chairman’s Trophy title but managed second placings in the Ttukseom Cup and in the Grand Prix while continuing to win top class handicaps. As his careeer wound down, so did his speed failing to win from seven races in 2004. However, in his first race of 2005, he bounced right back to the winner’s encosure in his season debut and added one more before being retired at the age of nine. Saegangja (1996-2009) retired after 58 races, 33 wins, 8 seconds and 5 thirds with career earnings of KRW 1.5 Billion, still a Korean record.

Shaka has a full obituary (in Korean) complete with video. The “And justice for all” blog carries pictures from his retirement.

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