Month: March 2010

Busan Cancelled Following Park Jin Hee Death

Seoul goes ahead as planned / Suicide Note reported found

The Korea Racing Authority (KRA), has confirmed that Sunday’s scheduled card at Busan Race Park has been cancelled following the apparent suicide of jockey Park Jin Hee. After no jockeys arrived for trackwork on Saturday morning, official race trials were cancelled and with no-one in the mood for racing, the decision was made to abandon activity at the track until next weekend.

Meanwhile, several local media outlets are reporting that a suicide note was found in Park’s apartment. Written on two sides of A4 paper, the note detailed the extreme stress that Park was suffering following a difficult year which had only yielded one winner; the problems she was now facing in even getting rides and the hardships that resulted from this. The note reportedly also said that she could no longer cope with the intense competition she faced as a jockey.

There was a solemn mood over Seoul Race Park today as racing went on. In light of the news from Busan, several jockeys were released from their riding engagements. One of those was Lee Ae Li, who trained with Park at the KRA’s Jockey Academy. The two women gained their professional licenses on the same day, September 13, 2002, as they became only the third and fourth Korean women in history to qualify as professional jockeys.

Racing at Seoul on Sunday will go ahead and the Busan track will be open for simulcasting from Seoul. The race program has been amended slightly at Seoul. The first race is at 11:20 and the last at 17:30.

Jockey Park Jin Hee Commits Suicide

Korean racing was in shock and mourning this evening with news from Busan that popular lady jockey Park Jin Hee had been found dead in her apartment on Friday.

According to the Sports Chosun, Park did not appear for the first of her scheduled rides at Busan’s Friday meeting and didn’t respond to calls. Officials raised the alert and police discovered her hanged at her home late on Friday afternoon.

Park Jin Hee, who was 28 in February, turned professional in 2002 at the Seoul Racecourse. She relocated to Gyeongnam Province when the Busan Racecourse opened in 2005. Over her career, she scored 38 winners from 651 rides. She was the top female rider on the Korean peninsula in 2008 and represented Korea in the Invitational Lady Jockey Challenge at Busan in 2009.

It is the second such tragedy at Busan following newly licensed jockey Lee Myoung Hwa’s decision to take her own life in 2005. Lee had been battling stress and depression.

Today’s big race at Busan was won by Beukgeukseong – a horse on whom Park won five times.

Park Jin Hee 1982-2010

Weekend Preview

Northern Ace is Back

It’s been a full six months of setback after setback but on Sunday, Northern Ace, possibly the most exciting two-year old of last year finally reappears at Seoul. On his debut, he broke J.S. Hold’s five furlong track record leaving Ace Galloper – a horse who has developed into one of Seoul’s brightest three-year olds – trailing far behind.

His next run came a month later when he cantered away from a woefully outclassed field over six furlongs. That was on August 29. Earlier that day jockey Moon Se Young, who was set to ride him, suffered an injury that would keep him out until December and Cho Kyoung Ho took the mount. Few realised then that the champion jockey would be back on the track before the likely champion juvenile.

Northern Ace was due to face Seonbongbulpae in the Herald Business in early December but racing was called off at the last minute due to a frozen track. When the event was rescheduled for the following weekend he, along with several others, didn’t appear.

There’s a little longer to wait though until we find out if Northern Ace is anything like the horse he threatened to be last year. He goes in the very last race of the weekend at 6pm on Sunday.

Racing gets underway at Busan on Friday although the biggest race at the Southern track is on Sunday when Crafty Louis will put in an appearance. Saturday sees a low-key day of racing at Seoul while Sunday has co-features with Mighty Runner and the recently returned to form Good Day – a horse with fifteen wins from twenty-three outings to his name – among those in action.

Friday March 12

Busan Race Park: 10 races, first post 12:00, last 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races, first post 13:30, last 17:30

Saturday March 13

Seoul Race Park: 12 races, first post 11:20, last 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races, first post 12:10, last 17:10

Sunday March 14

Seoul Race Park: 11 races, first post 11:20, last 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races, first post 12:40, last 16:30

Exploit Colt Heads Jeju Sale

An Exploit colt, out of the mare Telegraph Road (Royal Academy) fetched the biggest price at this week’s two-day Jeju two-year old sale. Since arriving in Korea in 2006, Telegraph Road has had two foals reach the track and both of them – Blue Pin and Northern Ace – have shown talent.

The Exploit colt that topped the Jeju sale - Photo: Jeju Today

The bidding for the Exploit colt started at KRW 20 Million and the hammer finally came down at KRW 116 Million, a record for these sales (KRW 1131=$1). The successful bidder was Busan Racecourse based owner Choi Won Ho.

Others to attract big money was a Vicar colt out of Carson City Dancer (Carson City) who was sold for KRW 95 Million and a Thunder Gulch colt out of Escape (A.P. Indy) going for KRW 80 Million. The biggest amount paid for a filly was the KRW 70 Million a daughter of Menifee out of the New Zealand bred mare Monster (Waikiki Star).

Jeju Today covered the event (in Korean) and Chulgigi has a complete table of all purchases (in Korean). As ever, full details on all horses in Korea for both racing and breeding can be found online in the Korean Studbook. meanwhile, Fallight has a number of official appearance videos by Korean based stallions on his Youtube channel.

Dandi Too Handy In Record Time

Yeonseung Daero, Namdo Jeap go down at Busan / Seonbongbulpae wins at Seoul

They really are the “nearly horses”. Yeonseung Daero and Namdo Jeap both spent much of last year running second when they really should have won. Today, facing each other at least one was always going to get beaten. In the event, both did.

That they were even running this afternoon is testament to the connections of both horses. Not content to be flat-track bullies hoovering up prize money in races restricted to Korean bred runners, both horses are frequently entered against overseas bred opposition. So it was today and it was at the hands of a late developing New Zealand born gelding that they came unstuck.

Dandi got injured in the summer of 2008 and reappeared in the Spring of last year only to immediately suffer another setback, his promising career seemingly cut short. He finally returned in January this year when he was a well-beaten fifth. Coming through the race was a triumph in itself, however, and today he showed what punters have been missing.

Yeonseung Daero and Namdo Jeap were at the front of the race throughout and going into the home straight, it looked as though they were set to fight it out between them. However, it was Dandi who had much the faster finish, coming past first Yeonseung Daero and then Namdo Jeap, setting a track record for nine furlongs in the process.

Dandi now has five wins from nine starts, spread over more than two years. His return is a very welcome addition to the top flight of racing at Busan. Meanwhile, Namdo Jeap and Yeonseung Daero will surely be back.

Class 1 Handicap (Foreign) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – March 7, 2010

1. Dandi (NZ) [Danroad – Fizzy Heights (Faltaat)] – You Hyun Myung – 6.7, 1.8
2. Namdo Jeap (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Wandering Katie (Tejano)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.3
3. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) [Creek Cat – Sensationalkris (Cryptoclearance)] – Park Geum Man – 1.3
Distances: 1.25 lengths/1.25 lengths – 14 ran

Up at Seoul, Seonbongbulpae was given a third chance at running round two corners in the feature race. Last year’s champion two-year old had struggled in his two outings to date at longer distances. His habit of tearing out of the gate at breakneck speed being an asset at five furlongs but the opposite at the eight or more he’s going to need to do this year.

Motion Blur: Seonbongbulpae was too quick for everybody

Today, with Moon Se Young in the saddle for the first time, Seonbongbulpae was true to form and roared out of the gate. By the middle of the back straight he was ten lengths clear of a patient field. The crowd, who had kept faith with him and sent him off favourite, sighed and waited for the seemingly inevitable collapse.

It never came. Moon Se Young regained control of Seonbongbulpae as they turned for home and the colt had enough in him to make another effort in the home straight, eventually cruising to victory by six lengths. Seonbongbulpae’s sire, Newsprint died tragically young late last year. With Seonbongbulpae back in the Classic picture, and his other son Money Car very much there already, he may just have left a golden legacy.

Greetings From Seoul: It was an unusually clear day in the capital



Lucky Mountain Peaks Again

Big Sox Shocks / Jeju Abandoned

After failing last time out, Lucky Mountain justified punters’ continued faith in her by returning to the winner’s circle at a gloomy Seoul Race Park this afternoon. Sent off favourite for the nine and a half furlong handicap, the five-year old emerged from the middle of the field in the home straight under champion jockey Park Tae Jong to lead home New Rider by a length and a half.

Lucky Mountain sees off New Rider in the Seoul mist

Lucky Mountain [Silent Warrior – Myeonggaheui (Revere)], winner of the Selangor Turf Club Trophy in 2008 and NACF Chairman’s Cup in 2009, now has eight wins from her twenty-six starts and has only been out of the money on three occasions and with Top Point currently out of action, can claim to be the top filly or mare currently running in the capital city.

While Lucky Mountain’s race went to form, the second of co-feature races most certainly did not. While Yodongseong, Vicar Love and Seoul Teukgeup were all well-fancied, all flopped in the mist as 40/1 outsider Big Sox, without a win since June 2008 strode to a surprise win.

With the newly freelance jockey Yoo Seung Wan on board, Big Sox led from gate-to-wire to lead the field home by a length. The identity of those closest to him on the line were equally surprising as Soseono made a welcome return to form after a difficult class 1 debut last month by finishing second. In third place was Key To Success, the only British bred horse currently running at Seoul, making a promising top-level debut. The combination made for impressive payouts for some lucky punters.

Someone got lucky in race 11

Class 1 Handicap (Foreign) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – March 6, 2010

1. Big Sox (USA) [Cimarron Secret – West Point Woman (Great Above)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 40.8, 5.9
2. Soseono (USA) [Aldebaran – Foreign Aid (Danzig)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 5.0
3. Key To Success (GB) [Mujahid – Shining Cloud (Indian Ridge)] – Choi Bum Hyun – 6.6
Distances: 1.5 lengths/1.75 lengths – 13 ran

* Racing on Jeju Island was abandoned after just two races today. The start of both of those races had been delayed as rain and fog severely limited visibility and, with the runners at the post for the third race but no break in the fog in prospect, the decision was made to call off the rest of the card.

On Sunday there is racing at Seoul from 11:20-18:00 and at Busan from 12:40-16:30.


Weekend Preview

Vicar Love, Lucky Mountain, Seonbongbulpae at Seoul, Namdo Jeap, Yeonseung Daero at Busan

The first racing of March on the peninsula gets underway at Busan on Friday and as ever, it’s set to be a busy weekend.

At Seoul the most valuable races are on Saturday. Vicar Love, Soseono and Lucky Mountain will all be in action.

Namchon Party - faces Seonbongbulpae on Sunday

On Sunday at Seoul, Seonbongbulpae will have another crack at turning round two corners after disappointing in his last two outings. With Moon Se Young riding for the first time, last year’s champion juvenile will need to perform in race 10 if he is to put himself back in the Classic picture. The rejuvenated Namchon Party will be among those out to stop him.

At Busan, the big race is on Sunday as two of last year’s top three-year olds Namdo Jeap and Yeonseung Daero meet once more. They’ll take on a field of overseas-bred runners including Busan legend Golding over nine furlongs.

Friday March 5

Busan Race Park: 10 races, first post 12:00, last 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races, first post 13:30, last 17:30

Saturday March 6

Seoul Race Park: 12 races, first post 11:20, last 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races, first post 12:10, last 17:10

Sunday March 7

Seoul Race Park: 11 races, first post 11:20, last 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races, first post 12:40, last 16:30