Month: May 2009

Korean Derby Weekend – Sunday Preview

Korean Derby / JRA Trophy
The twelth Korean Derby goes to post at 17:00 on Sunday afternoon. With 24 hours of persistent rain already having fallen and no signs of it stopping any time soon, track conditions are sure to be similar to last year when 90/1 outsider Ebony Storm pulled off a shock win.

Eight Seoul horses and six Busan horses will line up. Amongst them are two fillies, one of whom, Sangseung Ilro is, for now at least, on course to land the Triple Crown, having won the KRA Cup Mile at Busan in April. The one sour note that hovers above this Derby is that Eiki Nishimura, the jockey who guided her to that victory, will not be with her amid suspicions that the idea of an overseas rider landing a Triple Crown is too much to take for some on the backstretches of Seoul and Busan.

Nice Choice is the likely favourite but it is an open race, especially with the rain. Sangseung Ilro has obviously staked her claim, but cases can be made for a host of others, including Yeonseung Daero, Baengnyeonbong, Sky Star and Seokcheong. In jockey Martin Wepner and trainer Peter Wolsley, Namdo Jeap and Impeccable respectively offer an overseas angle even in Eiki’s absence.

Whatever the result and regardless of the weather, hopefully the Derby can provide a race that does justice to our wonderful sport’s biggest day.

Click here to download past performance information (Korean). Full list of post positions, runners, records and riders:

Korean Derby (GI) – Seoul Race Park – May 17 2009 – 1800M, 17:00

1. Sky Star [B] [Tahamkke – Blue Lark (Ravenwood)] – (10/5/1/0) – Kim Tae Kyoung
2. Khanui Huye [The Groom Is Red – Noble Michelle (Flow Technology)] – (7/2/2/0) – Han Sung Yeol
3. Nice Choice [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] – (6/4/2/0) – Moon Se Young
4. Seokcheong [Fiercely – Miss Geology (Jade Hunter)] – (6/4/1/1) – Park Tae Jong
5. Namdo Jeap [B] [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – (6/3/2/1) – Martin Wepner
6. Khanui Jeguk [Sunday Well – Lucky Dip (Didyme)] – (7/3/1/1) – Lee Jung Sun
7. Yeonseung Daero [B] [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – (8/5/1/2) – Kim Eu Su
8. Baengnyeonbong [Al Naba – Sansovino Art (Mister C.)] – (9/4/1/1) – Kim Ok Sung
9. Pangpang [B] [Revere – Awishnotalark (Rio’s Lark)] – (11/3/0/1) – Kim Hong Il
10. Impeccable [B] [Distilled – Bellebreezy (Foolish Pleasure)] – (6/4/0/0) – Park Geum Man
11. Sangseung Ilro [B] (F) [Concept Win – Miss Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – (6/4/1/1) – Jo Sung Gon
12. Triple Canon [Tahamkke – Tamna Jeilbong (Lost Mountain)] – (7/4/2/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
13. Money Teukgeup[Ft. Stockton – Headwork (Silveyville)] – (8/2/3/1) – Choi Beom Hyun
14. Red Ball [Lethal Instrument – Wildly Magic (Pieterhof)] – (8/4/0/1) – Yang Hee Jin

JRA Trophy – Class 2 (Foreign bred) – 1200M – Race 8

Just before the Derby, the final International Trophy race of the weekend will take place and it’s the big one as the undefeated Gangho faces his first real test in the JRA Trophy. While he will likely be the overwhelming favourite, if he has a bad day, there are one or two who could cause him problems. Bulpae Gisang has four wins from six outings and Free Hugs is a proven performer at this level.

There are eleven races at Seoul on Sunday with the first under orders at 11:20. Busan Race Park hosts six races with the first at 12:40. Jeju Race Park gets underway at 12:10.

Symphony Sonata Off Key in the Wet

Super Jet, Keungori, Giant Rose land Trophy races
In atrocious conditions at Seoul Race Park, the favourites went down in all three of the International Trophy races this afternoon. It had been raining for twelve hours before the horses went to post for the first race and continued throughout racing creating a saturated track and appalling visibility for the jockeys.

While all three Trophy races were of equal value, most eyes were on the HRI Trophy where Symphony Sonata was sent off favourite off the back of four wins in six starts. Brought to the front early by Park Tae Jong, the four year old seemed well placed coming off the last turn but when asked to sprint, had nothing to offer. Instead, it was second favourite Super Jet, under Kim Young Jin who edged out Natural Guy and Choi Beom Hyun on the line after the two duelled in the final furlong.

One race earlier, Bandoui Kkum was favourite going into the AJC Trophy race, but she never got going as Moon Se Young on Giant Rose scored a clear four length victory over Choi Won Jun on Yeonjikkot with Princess Ruby in third. Meanwhile, the STC Trophy went the way of three year old filly Keungori with favourite Soseono well down the field.

STC Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 16 May, 2009 – 1300M

1. Keungori (USA) [Essence of Dubai – Goldmakesmesmile (Mining) – Kim Ok Sung – 10.5
2. Kkumchaja (USA) [Orientate – Westerville (Gone West)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 5.3
3. Storm For Lucky (JPN) [Mejiro Ryan – Dark Moon (Real Shadai)] – Yoon Tae Hyuk – 68.3
Distances: 0.75 lengths/7 lengths – 13 ran

AJC Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 16 May, 2009 – 1400M

1. Giant Rose [Pacific Bounty – Kiss My Goldie (Candi’s Gold)] – Moon Se Young – 5.0
2. Yeonjikkot [Al Naba – Sez Babble (Psychobabble)] – Choi Won Jun – 24.1
3. Forest River [Texas Glitter – Whosis (Trempolino)] – Park Tae Jong – 8.2
Distances: 4 lengths/2.5 lengths – 14 ran

HRI Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 16 May, 2009 – 1800M

1. Super Jet [Archer City Slew – Tae Eulbong (Road of War)] – Kim Young Jin – 5.3
2. Natural Guy [Social Charter – Rocky Stream (Reprimand)] – Choi Beom Hyun – 6.5
3. Yonggeol [Psychobabble – Uri Maeum (Glorify)] – Han Sung Yeol – 129.3
Distances: Neck/4 lengths – 14 ran


Korean Derby Weekend – Saturday Preview

STC, AJC and HRI Trophies up for grabs
Not only is the Korean Derby being run on Sunday, it’s also International Weekend at Seoul Race Park. Across the two days, there are four trophy races sponsored by overseas racing authorities. While the biggest of the four is the JRA Trophy on Sunday, the race immediately preceding the Derby, the three on Saturday offer plenty of interest.

Selengor Turf Club (STC) Trophy – Class 3 (Foreign bred) Fillies & Mares – 1300M – Race 7

Two jockeys from Malaysia will guest in this race which has attracted a full field of fourteen. Likely favourite will be Soseono, half sister to Subsidy, Korea’s horse of the year in 2005. Also in contention should be Sky Center, Nandanara and Rose Cat. The race is off at 3pm.

Australian Jockey Club (AJC) Trophy – Class 3 (Korean bred) Fillies & Mares – 1400M – Race 9

Another full field of fourteen for the AJC Trophy. It’s an open race with no stand-out favoruite although there will be plenty of support for Bandoui Kkum. Yeonjikkot and Hera have both won at this level before and must also be considered.

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Trophy – Class 3 (Korean bred) – 1800M – Race 10

The only trophy race on Saturday open to mae horses, the HRI Trophy is perhaps the most interesting of the three as Symphony Sonata, the well bred and highly rated four year old seeks to gain a fourth win from six races. Hacing been beaten narrowly by Derby contender Triple Canon last time out, he’ll be the likely favourite. He’ll be up against Super Jet, who last time out beat another Derby contender, Seokcheong over the same distance as the trophy race. Also in the mix should be Luxury Jewang, Excacta Runner and Haedong Jewang.

There are twelve races in total on Saturday at Seoul, with the first getting underway at 11:20. There is also racing at Jeju Race Park with the first at 12:10. Sadly, just like Derby weekend last year, the weather forecast is not good with umbrellas likely to be necessary throughout the day.

Check back tomorrow for full reports on Saturday’s trophy races plus final previews of The JRA Trophy and, of course, the Korean Derby.

* Areumdaun Jilju returned to action after a five month lay-off in this afternoon’s feature race at Busan Race Park. Although punters failed to send him off as favourite for the first time in many outings, it was as if the five year old – who has never finished worse than fourth and before his lay-off was arguably Busan’s most feared horse – had never been away. Under Jo Chan Hoon, the gelding came through late to stretch away from the field for a five length win. Racing returns to Busan on Sunday.


Korean Derby Countdown – The Home Team

Busan’s six challengers will be met on the sand of Gwacheon by eight horses looking to write their own name into Korean racing history and in doing so, halt Busan’s remarkable run of Classic wins.

Among Seoul’s entrants is the likely favorite. Nice Choice was champion two year old in 2008 and having been campaigned this term solely with the Derby in mind, will be the one to beat on Sunday. If Nice Choice doesn’t produce the goods, however, it would take an upset to see the Derby trophy remain in the capital.

Nice Choice [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)] – (6/4/2/0)
If he had won last time out, there would be no justification for betting against him. However, he was engaged in a stretch battle and lost. Nice Choice will still be a worthy favourite but will be worth taking on.

Triple Canon [Tahamkke – Tamna Jeilbong (Lost Mountain)] – (7/4/2/0)
He’s won over the distance and last time out beat Symphony Sonata, the highly rated – and well bred – four year old. Must be considered

Red Ball [Lethal Instrument – Wildly Magic (Pieterhof)] – (8/4/0/1)
Won three in a row before stepping up to the Derby distance and finishing well beaten.

Seokcheong [Fiercely – Miss Geology (Jade Hunter)] – (6/4/1/1)
Jockey Park Tae Jong has won more Derbys than anyone and his mount has won over the distance. A possible.

Baengnyeonbong [Al Naba – Sansovino Art (Mister C.)] – (9/4/1/1)
Has had the Derby in mind for a long time but finished behind Seokcheong last time out.

Khanui Jeguk [Sunday Well – Lucky Dip (Didyme)] – (7/3/1/1)
Has won his last three but against significantly weaker opposition than he’ll face on Sunday. Will need to improve to compete.

Khanui Huye [The Groom Is Red – Noble Michelle (Flow Technology)] – (7/2/2/0)
Ran poorly last time out and has never won at a higher level than class 5.

Money Teukgeup[Ft. Stockton – Headwork (Silveyville)] – (8/2/3/1)
One of only two Seoul horses to contest the KRA Cup Mile, there were no grounds to support him in that race and following a seventh place finish, no grounds to support him here.

Baekpa Works at Laurel Park

2007 Korean Oaks winner Baekpa worked four furlongs at Laurel Park last Saturday morning. The five year old is in the United States as the second horse to take part in the KRA’s “internationalization” program.

Baekpa put in a hardly Earth-shattering, but perfectly respectable, time of 49.60 for the four furlongs – thirty-third quickest of the fifty two who worked that morning. Shaka has the full details (Korean). Her first race could come later this month.

Korean Derby Countdown – The Southern Raiders

Whether it is the milder winters, the sea air, the uphill back-straight at Busan – or even the stronger liquor in Gyeongnam Province, horses from Busan have won the last four Triple Crown races. Rainmaker, Ebony Storm and Gaeseon Janggun did the honours last year, while Sangseung Ilro claimed the KRA Cup Mile for the home team last month – a race for which only two Seoul horses bothered to ship down for.

Seoul’s most promising three year-old, Nice Choice, was among those whose connections opted not to venture south last month, preferring to concentrate entirely on the Derby. Six Busan horses will be coming to coming to him, however, and there is every chance that they could continue the dominance of Korea’s supposedly second track.

Leading the Southern charge will be the filly Sangseung Ilro. It looks like jockey Eiki Nishimura won’t be with her (more on that tomorrow), but the KRA Cup Mile winner will be joined by Namdo Jeap and Yeonseung Daero, who ran second and third in that race as well as Sky Star, the filly Pangpang and late entry, Impeccable. Here is the run down on the Busan entrants, with pedigree and race records:

Sangseung Ilro (F) [Concept Win – Miss Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – (6/4/1/1) – We know what she is capable of. She came into the KRA Cup Mile relatively unfancied but finished with a flourish to take the honours.

Yeonseung Daero [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – (8/5/1/2) – Favourite going into the KRA Cup Mile and should be well-fancied again.

Namdo Jeap [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – (6/3/2/1) – Half brother to last year’s Cup Mile winner Rainmaker and stablemate to Yeonseung Daero, the Cup Mile was his first test at anything over six furlongs. He passed it and while victory may be too much to ask, he must be considered for a place.

Sky Star [Tahamkke – Blue Lark (Ravenwood)] – (10/5/1/0) – Ran poorly in the Cup Mile but returned just two weeks later to win over the Derby distance. A contender.

Pangpang (F) [Revere – Awishnotalark (Rio’s Lark)] – (11/3/0/1) – The only one of the Busan horses that it is difficult to make a case for. Finished well down the field in the Cup Mile and although she bounced back with a win at the end of April, she dropped down in distance and class to do it.

Impeccable [Distilled – Bellebreezy (Foolish Pleasure)] – (6/4/0/0) – The enigma. A late entry in the Derby, he won his first four outings with ease but came unstuck in the Cup Mile. On May 1, he came back and at odds-on, finished fourth against the same calibre of opposition he’d easily defeated in the past. Punters will have to make the decision if those last two outings were the exception. Impeccable will be the choice of those wishing to see Peter Wolsley become the first foreign trainer to win the Korean Derby. Last year’s winner Ebony Storm is now in his barn, but was under different supervision when he caused the biggest shock in Derby history twelve months ago.

Korean Derby – Past Winners

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.