Month: April 2010

Weekend Preview

Sangseung Ilro goes for the Gukje Sinmun

There’s a big weekend of racing in store on the peninsula with the Gukje Sinmun Cup at Busan providing the highlight. Two weeks before this year’s edition, the winner of last year’s Korean Derby, Sangseung Ilro, will take on foreign-bred opposition for the first time as she heads up an extremely competitive field for the seven furlong race.

Also flying the flag for Korea will be Yeongung Manse and New World Record as they go up against some of the track’s best performers including Crafty Louis and Jilju Hara as well as Busan Ilbo Cup winner Smart As Me and up-and-comers Useung Geotap and Captain Sir. The big race is off at 3:40pm on Sunday afternoon and will be simulcast live to Seoul Race Park. See below for a full list of runners, records and riders, but first, here are the details of all the weekend’s action:

Friday April 30

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday May 1

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:10 to 17:35

Sunday May 2

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40 to 16:30

Gukje Sinmun Stakes – Busan Race Park – 1400M – May 2, 2010 – 15.40

1. Sangseung Ilro (KOR) F(11/6/2/2) – Yang Young Nam
2. Smart As Me (USA) M (11/5/2/0) – Hwang Jong Woo
3. Useung Geotap (USA) F (7/5/0/0) – Jo Sung Gon
4. New World Record (KOR) C (17/3/4/2) – Kim Dong Young
5. Yeongung Manse (KOR) G (21/10/4/2) – Chae Gyu Jun
6. Jilju Hara (JPN) M (17/5/3/1) – Choi Si Dae
7. Captain Sir (USA) C (8/5/3/0) – Kim Eu Soo
8. Jungwon Jepae (AUS) C (14/4/4/0) – Martin Wepner
9. Rolling On Strong (USA) F (14/4/1/3) – Song Keong Yun
10. Angle Slam (USA) H (47/8/7/8) – Gu Min Sung
11. Cheogo Beoltong C (AUS) (11/4/1/0) – Lee Sung Jae
12. Crafty Louis (USA) 8 (37/14/4/3) – Jo Chang Wook

Kentucky Derby With The TBA

As far as Gyongmaman is concerned, this time of year has always been about the Guineas at Newmarket – he grew up leaning on the rail at the Rowley Mile – and in recent years, the build up to the Korean Derby.

For much of the rest of the racing world, however, attention will be focused on Churchill Downs this coming Saturday and the Kentucky Derby.

As in the past couple of years, Gyongmaman has been following the build-up to 2010 edition of the race with the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance.

Horse Racing in Korea has been a member of the TBA since January 2009 with the group providing unprecedented exposure to Korean racing. While most focus on US racing, there are approximately sixty members in total, covering every imaginable angle with owners, trainers, bettors, more bettors and fans, fans, fans and more fans of our wonderful sport.

Check the right hand side of this page or click on the homepage for the full list of TBA blogs.

As for the Derby, Gyongmaman will be backing Awesome Act – for no better reason than he has a Newmarket trainer.

Triple Seven, Money Car, Dongbanui Gangja Top Standings

Triple Seven’s victory in the Ttukseom Cup earlier this month has taken the five-year old to the top of the Seoul Standings. He leads Baekgwang, whose comeback from seemingly career-ending injury has been the feel-good story of the past year.

Triple Seven tops the Standings

In overall terms, Dongbanui Gangja remains the horse to beat heading as he does the overseas-bred list. Despite a dreadful performance earlier this month when jockey Choi Bum Hyun allowed him to drift across the entire width of the track in the home straight, he managed to win and took his unbeaten streak to twelve.

The resurgent Bally Brae is up to third while the three-year old Tough Win enters the top five for the first time. He beat the horse in third place, Bulpae Gisang this month and the inevitable showdown with Dongbanui Gangja is set to be one of the highlights of the year.

Money Car - On Course for Triple Crown

Overseas-bred horses are not allowed to run in the three-year old Classics and it is of course, Money Car, the emphatic winner of the KRA Cup Mile and favourite for the Derby who heads up the Domestic-bred three-year old category. Seonbongbulpae and Northern Ace, neither of whom went to Cup Mile but will be running in the Derby complete the top three.

Just behind those is Ace Galloper, a horse who belongs to the third category of thoroughbreds in Korea. He was foaled in Korea but his mare was imported to the country whilst pregnant – two of the top five overall Korean bred horses – Taesanbukdu and Gi Ra Seong – also fall into this category. They are eligible for all races open to Korean-breds except for the Classics.

Domestic-bred Class 1

1. Triple Seven [The Groom Is Red – Impudence (Grand Lodge)]
2. Baekgwang [The Groom Is Red – Grey Crest (Gold Crest)]
3. Gi Ra Seong [Precise Cat – Dauntless Cat (Mountain Cat)]
4. Taesanbukdu [Millennium Wind – Regal Meg (Regal Classic)]
5. Nice Choice [Lost Mountain – Betty’s Rhapsody (Don’t Hesitate)]

Domestic-bred 3-year olds

1. Money Car [Newsprint – Pinocchio (Big Sur)]
2. Seonbongbulpae [Newsprint – Jeseok (Lost Mountain)]
3. Northern Ace [Didyme – Telegraph Road (Royal Academy)]
4= Ace Galloper [Chapel Royal – Explicitly (Exploit)]
4= Forest Wind [Capital Spending – Coffee Royale (Sword Dance)]

Overseas-bred Class 1

1. Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow – Maremaid (Storm Bird)]
2. Bally Brae (USA) [Yarrow Brae – Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)]
3. Bulpae Gisang (USA) [Lightnin N Thunder – Neat Trick (Clever Trick)]
4. Baekjeonmupae (NZ) [Traditionally – Star Sixty Seven (Phone Trick)]
5. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)]

Dongnabui Gangja is still number one in Korea – this was a better effort than his last one, winning the Grand Prix last December:

* Standings compiled by the Korean Racing Journal

Hushtilled Blossoms in the Sunshine

Hushtilled won the biggest prize of her career so far and completed a hat-trick of winners for jockey Moon Se Young on a beautiful Spring afternoon at Seoul Race Park.

Hustilled - A winner today

The three year-old filly led the field from gate-to-wire to win the class 3 race 9, run over the Derby and Oaks distance of 1800 metres. Hushtilled, who was second to Seonbongbulpae in last year’s Herald Business Cup, was only recording her third win, but she has never been outside the money in eleven starts.

It was yet another good day for jockey Moon Se Young as he seeks to regain the championship he lost through injury last year. Moon guided another filly, Fortunata to her first ever victory in race 6 and was successful again on Gippeun Sesang in race 8. The Canadian bred Gippeun Sesang [Behrens – Bellus (Saint Ballado)] was breaking his maiden at the twenty-second attempt.

Moon Se Young drives Fortunata, the first of his three winners, to the front

Money Teukgeup was victorious in Seoul’s most valuable race of the day but it was at similarly sunny Busan where the afternoon’s feature race took place. And it was favourite Lucky Dancer who put in a commanding performance to win by nine lengths from Sky Star and Conqueror over 1800 metres. Five-year old Lucky Dancer now has eight wins from eighteen starts.

The sunshine brought out the biggest crowd of the year so far to Seoul Race Park today. With May usually bringing the peninsula’s best weather of the year as well as a host of big races, capped of course by the Derby, hopefully they’ll all be back very soon.

Late cherry blossoms and a busy infield at Seoul Race Park today



Seoul Sunday Selections

From a sporting perspective, Gyongmaman is finding it hard to get excited about the racing this weekend. It’s just three weeks until the Derby and all that entails, while even next weekend has Sangseung Ilro, last year’s Derby winner, going for the Gukje Sinmun Stakes at Busan.

But this week it’s distinctly low-key. Luckily it’s by far the most beautiful weekend so far this year weather-wise so Gyongmaman will be at Seoul Race Park again tomorrow and he’s in a punting mood. These are what he will be losing his money on:

Race 1: Open contest in that most runners are equally bad. Hwa Jin (Number 7) should offer value as well as a decent each-way chance.
Race 2: Legal Lady (8) will be heavy odds-on.
Race 3: Any of five or six could win, one of whom is Ilson (6).
Race 4: Capture Enemy (5) can win at last.
Race 5: Competitive race in which a number can be expected to improve. One of them is Chicken Game (1) but he’ll have to beat Bada Olle (4).
Race 6: Fortunata (2) should be winning this all fillies race.
Race 7: Big things were expected of Bonsol (10) and Oh My Sun (11). Both have better chances than Choegang Combi (6) but that is who Gyongmaman will be on.
Race 8: Dream Heart (4) can break his maiden at the twenty-fourth attempt. Old favourite To The Champ is there too but won’t feature at the finish.
Race 9: Hushtilled (2) needs to win to get back in the Oaks picture.
Race 10: Difficult to call between Money Teukgeup (2) and Daesahyeong (1) so let’s go for an outsider in the shape of Cheongnyeongsaji (9).
Race 11: A thirteen runner conundrum to end with. Suseong Equus (5) is the logical answer.

* On Saturday at Seoul Race Park, Free Woody was the surprise winner of the feature handicap. The five-year old just beat-out Machine Gun and Hwangnyongsaji by a neck on the line.

Weekend Preview

It’s almost the weekend and that means racing is back. Busan kicks things off on the peninsula on Friday with ten races and Miss Ecton, Golding, Nuri Choegang, Hardride and Dandi will be among those looking to get back among the winners in a competitive feature race.

Busan also sees the pick of Sunday’s action with Derby hopeful Cheonnyeon Daero getting his last prep-race in before the big day at Seoul next month. He’ll be tested over the Derby distance in class 1 company.

Like last week, it’s a reasonably low-key weekend at Seoul. The feature race is on Saturday when Gi Ra Seong heads the weights in a handicap also featuring regular winners Good Day and Machine Gun.

Friday April 23

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12: to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday April 24

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:20 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:10 to 17:20

Sunday April 25

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40 to 16:30

Lee Shin Young To Be First Female Trainer?

She was only the second Korean woman to be granted a jockey license, now Lee Shin Young could make history by becoming the first female trainer in Korea. Lee was one of a small number of jockeys who took exams for the Trainer’s License last month. Comfortably passing both the theory and practical elements, she will be able to make the move from the track to the barn when a training vacancy opens up.

Lee Shin Young (Picture: KRA)

Lee Shin Young, who will turn 30 in April, gained her jockey’s license in 2001 and has ridden a creditable 86 winners from 855 rides since then. Known for an aggressive riding style that has earned her both praise and criticism, she has ridden more thoroughbred winners than any other lady rider in Korea.

If the weighing room is a male-dominated world, the backstretch is even more so. If Lee does indeed take charge of her own barn then it will be a landmark event in Korean racing. That could be some time away, however, and in the meantime, Lee has returned to race riding after a long lay-off through injury.

Chulgigi had a full write-up on this story (in Korean) last month.

Weekend Review – Bally Brae Wins Again

Saeroun Taeyang & Dongbang Rose go down / Hanramyeongseng wins Jeju Halla Ilbo

Bally Brae continued to roll back the years and produced a commanding performance to land the weekend’s feature race. But while the old boy was on-form on Saturday, there were disappointments on Sunday for Classic hopefuls Dongbang Rose and Saeroun Taeyang.

Bally Brae: A winner again

Just a few months ago, Bally Brae looked to be entering the endgame of his career. For the first time in his career he went consecutive races out of the money and only finished sixth in the season-ending Grand Prix. Following his great rival Subsidy into retirement seemed only a matter of time.

Nevertheless, he came back out as an eight-year old and ran an encouraging third in his season opener back in January. Three weeks later he was in the winner’s circle and that’s where he’s been ever since. On Saturday he once more led from gate-to-wire and was three lengths clear on the line from regular rivals Dankee’s Pal – to whom he was giving eight kilos – and Vicar Love. Bally Brae now has a record of eighteen wins from thirty-six starts.

It wasn’t such a good weekend for this year’s Classic hopefuls. Down at Busan, Saeroun Taeyang was sent off favourite but, after a disastrous start, failed to place in a race over the Derby distance of nine furlongs, placing in doubt her chances of travelling to Seoul for the Derby next month.

Meanwhile in the capital, the previously unbeaten Dongbang Rose, thought to be the pick of sire Volponi’s first Korean crop, slumped to her first defeat. The filly was sent off the odds-on favourite for the 1700 metre race 8 but ould only manage third as fellow three-year old filly Cheonun strode to a four-length win.

Perhaps the most meaningful race of the weekend though was on Jeju Island, where the favourite, Hanramyeongseng, carrying a back-breaking 75 kilos, won the Halla Ilbo Cup.



Weekend Preview

Bally Brae at Seoul / Ponies go for the Halla Ilbo on Jeju

After the excitement of the Ttukseom Cup a week ago, there’s a slightly lower-key weekend of racing on the peninsula ahead. Nevertheless, there’s still plenty to maintain the interest.

Bally Brae heads the field in the feature race of the weekend, which takes place at Seoul on Saturday. The former horse-of-the-year once more faces regular rivals, Vicar Love, Baekjeonmupae, and Dankee’s Pal among a thirteen strong field.

Down at Busan, Friday sees the track’s 2009 champion juvenile Night Moves make her first attempt at class 1 – she’ll carry top weight over seven furlongs against a field which includes a pair of horses from last year’s Derby trail, Impeccable and Sandeomi. In terms of this year’s Classic hunt, Saeroun Taeyang makes his first appearance since finishing fifth in the KRA Cup Mile two weeks ago when he goes in race 5 on Sunday over the Derby distance of nine furlongs.

On Jeju Island, the Jeju ponies will run for the Halla Ilbo Cup, one of the biggest races of the year. Topping the weights with a whopping 75 kilos to carry are the two four-year olds Hwanghaemyengsan and Hanramyyeongseng.

Friday April 16

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday April 17

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:20 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:10 to 17:20

Sunday April 18

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40 to 16:30

Another Jockey…and Pro-Gamers On The Take

As another Korean jockey has his license revoked for allegedly passing on inside information, professional video game players are now under suspicion of being involved with illegal gambling rings.

The Korea Racing Authority (KRA) recently announced that jockey Lee Jung Sun has been suspended pending police investigation into supposed “inside information” being passed to illegal betting syndicates.

Lee’s suspension follows that issued to jockey Park Soo Hong last year, while Seoul jockey Lee Jung Seob (“L Mo”) is currently under investigation as was a Busan jockey last year.

Lee Jung Sun

The information, such that it is, is allegedly passed to organizations who operate in the illegal betting market – not the maximum $100 stakes with the KRA – and it is in these markets where the latest Korean gambling scandal seems to have taken place.

This time it is in the almost uniquely Korean world of professional video gaming. In Korea, video games – or to be be more precise “Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games” are big business. A quick scan of Gyongmaman’s cable tv shows three stations currently showing videogames – of these Starcraft is traditionally the most popular. Now, according to what has been described as “a series of track-backs and hat-tips” several of the top professionally Starcraft players have been involved in a n illegal betting scam.

The story goes that the players either threw games or provided “replay files” to the betting syndicates. The “scandal” reportedly involves most of the great and good of professional gaming including Ma Jae Yoon, the renowned “sAviOr“. See GamePron or Kotaku for more information.

This news comes in the same week that the Korean government is set to crack down on online games in general which, apparently are keeping the youth of Korea up at night. The government wants to prevent youngsters from playing after a certain time and is prepared to legislate to enforce it.

It’s well known that the majority of gambling in Korea is done illegally with a blind and impotent eye turned by the authorities. Meanwhile it is the easy target of legal betting on racing that attracts the vast majority of government attention. It would be no surprise therefore if, after a “scandal” in the video game world, it was innocent gamers who were to be punished.