After spending the last two weeks inching closer, Park Tae Jong today became the first Korean jockey to reach 1500 career winners. It was only just after midday at Seoul Race Park when, in torrential rain, Park guided three year old filly J Stern to a hard fought victory in race 3.
While the race was as low key as it is possible to get – a class 6 maiden in which six of the twelve runners were odds of well over 100/1 – the final furlong duel between J Stern and Ever Clever, who had led from the gate, was a furious one, Park getting his mount ahead with fifty metres to go and holding on by a length.
As the rain worsened Park would go on to add three more winners later in the afternoon. There was Boeun Gaduk in race 5 and then Symphony Sonata in race 9. The much hyped four year old relentlessly chased down long time leader Sajaseong in the home straight. Next up came Tiffanyuikkum, the Australian filly securing her fifth win.
Things didn’t go Park’s way in the feature race but he still managed to take outsider Daehyo to an unlikely third place behind Top Point and Gayasanseong.
Tomorrow, Park Tae Jong will partner Beakjeonmupae in the Seoul Owners’ Association Trophy. Dongbanui Gangja will be the overwhelming favourite but if anyone can stop him, it is Baekjeonmupae. Park won this race last year on Saerounbisul – over his twenty two years in the saddle he has won every race, most more than once. Today in the rain, Seoul Race Park honoured one of Korea’s greatest sportsmen. Tomorrow, he’ll be out on the track doing it again.