2009 Derby in D-6 – Sangseung Ilro would be fifth filly to win
The Derby is a relatively recent addition to the Korean racing year. Except for during the Korean War, racing has been running on the peninsula continuously since the 1920’s, however, the calendar as we know it today only really started to take shape in the 1980’s. The Ilgan Sports Cup and the Grand Prix started things off with both being run for the first time in 1985.
The introduction of the private ownership of race-horses – and therefore prize money – accelerated the creation of big Stakes races in the 1990s and finally in 1998, the Derby was run for the first time.
In the eleven editions run so far, seven colts and four fillies have taken the prize which for its first three years was run over just seven furlongs before moving up to its current nine in 2001. Here are those winners with pedigree and jockey:
2008: Ebony Storm [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] – Shim Seung Tae – Last year was the first time that Busan’s best three year olds were invited up to Seoul to contest the Derby and it was one of those visitors, Ebony Storm, the longest shot on the board, who took victory in a monsoon downpour.
2007: J.S. Hold [Ft. Stockton – Hwangsangjiljoo (Passetreul)] – Moon Jung Kyun – Widely considered the best Korean bred horse ever. J.S. Hold landed the inaugural Triple Crown injuring himself in the final race and not returning to the track. He is about to commence his first season of stud duties.
2006: Baengnokjeong [Slew O’Green – Lesu Run (Proper Reality)] – Hwang Soon Do – The rank outsider at over 80-1 on Derby day, Baengnokjeong was at the time, the longest priced horse to win the Derby.
2005: Saebyeok Dongja [Fiercely – Cheongpa (The Rodgers Four)] – Chun Chang Ki – Still racing at the top level, he came fourth in last year’s President’s Cup. Jockey Chun Chang Ki will saddle his first Derby runner as trainer when Seokcheong lines up on Sunday.
2004: Mupae Gangja [Didyme – A Heun A Hop Kan (Kinsky)] – Kim Hyo Seob – One of the top colts of this decade, Mupae Gangja won ten of his sixteen races including the Chairman’s Trophy and Minister’s Cup along with the Derby in 2004
2003: Habidongju [Silent Warrior – Kahwa (Zoffany)] – Park Tae Jong – The last filly to win to date.
2002: Haeam Janggun [Didyme – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Lim Dae Gyu – Ronde foaled her second Derby winner in as many years with this filly who won eight of her fourteen races and gave the late Lim Dae Gyu a Derby victory.
2001: Haetpit Maeul [Mujaazif – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Ji Ha Ju – Starting a run of three consecutive years of filly triumphs was Haetpit Maeul. Now a broodmare, her colt Haedong Teukgeup got his first win last month.
2000: Haekdol’pung [Lost Mountain – Swift Diplomacy (Nice Pirate)] – Park Tae Jong – Korea’s top jockey got his second straight Derby win on the favourite. It was tight though with Haekdol’pung getting the verdict in a three way photograph.
1999: Manseokkkeun [Fiercely – Komplication (Kris. S)] – Park Tae Jong – Yes, he really did have three consecutive ‘k’s in his name. Park Tae Jong got the first of his three Derby winners on the colt whose sire, Fiercely, died earlier this year.
1998: Useung Yegam [Happy Jazz Band – Man Jang Dae()] – Song Seok Hen – Nine of the 14 runners in the first Derby were fillies and the favourite Useung Yegam, whose dam wasn’t even in the studbook, took the honours by a length.