Day: September 17, 2009

Weekend Preview

Dong-a Ilbo / Gold Circle Trophy / MJC Cup / KRA Jeju Cup
It’s another big weekend of racing on the peninsula with three trophy races on Sunday, two at Busan and one at Seoul headlining the action. At Busan, Sunday is International Day with South Africa’s Gold Circle sponsoring a race for the first time at the track and the Macau Jockey Club sponsoring the second MJC Trophy. Up at Seoul, some of the track’s up and coming fillies and mares will contest the Dong-A Ilbo Cup. We’ll have a full preview of all three trophy races over the next couple of days.

There’s plenty of other action too. On Friday, just two weeks after being shown up by Sinjin Gangja, Yeonseung Daero and Namdo Jeap will go against each other again. Sky Star will be joining them.

Then on Saturday, the white wave, Baekgwang, makes his second appearance since recovering career-rescuing stem cell treatment. He’ll have it tough again with Gi Ra Seong and Hwangnyongsaji also among a field of eight over ten furlongs.

Jeju doesn’t go without either. One of the track’s biggest races, the KRA Jeju Cup is on Sunday afternoon.

Busan Race Park

Friday September 18:
10 races, first post 13:00, last 17:30
Sunday September 20: 6 races, first post 12:40, last 16:30

Seoul Race Park

Saturday September 19: 12 races, first post 11:20, last 17:40
Sunday September 20: 11 races, first post 11:20, last 18:10

Jeju Race Park (Pony racing)

Saturday September 19: 9 races, first post 12:10, last 17:10
Sunday September 20: 9 races, first post 12:10, last 17:20

CEO Talks Up Riding to Save Racing

Meanwhile Government wants visitors to borrow to gamble
The Korea Herald reports today on a press conference given by KRA Chairman & CEO Kim Kwang Won to mark the end of his first year in the job. Gone was the talk of raising revenue and lobbying to get the KRW 100,000 maximum bet limit removed. Instead the focus was on preservation in the face a wildly unpredictable regulator.

To this end, Kim focused on the KRA’s charity work and and the expansion of its community activities. He made particular mention of his plan to promote horse riding as a leisure activity by improving equestrian facilities across the country and making it affordable for more people to actually be around horses. At the same time, Kim hopes to establish a “horse academic institution” and improve veterinarian facilities.

Kim’s comments were in line with moves by the KRA to fend off the National Gaming Control Commission – some of whose members appear determined to hand total control of the gaming market to the criminal fraternity.

The strategy has already involved sponsoring the Korean Table Tennis and Judo teams (the latter of which picked up several Olympic medals in Beijing last year) as well as the utilitzation of off track betting plazas for community activities on non-race days. Meanwhile the “KRA Angels” are becoming one of the more visible charitable organizations in Korea.

On the same day that the KRA Chairman talks of the measures his organization is having to take to distance itself from the gambling which so threatens Korean society, it comes as little surprise to hear that the government plans to wring every last bit of currency out of foreign gamers.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance announced Wednesday that foreigners will now be able to use credit cards to buy gambling chips in the country’s casinos. The highlight of the article in the Korea Times is the following passage:

“Currently foreign tourists are able to buy chips only with cash…Government officials said this has discouraged non-Koreans from gambling here adding if visitors were allowed to purchase chips with plastic, they would spend more money”.