Racing is back and Busan hosts arguably the most interesting race of the weekend on Friday afternoon as Hangang Ruby, Ebony Storm, Night Moves and Mulbora are among a full field of fourteen class 1 horses getting a rare opportunity to compete for a big prize over the sprint distance of six furlongs.
As usual, Busan hosts cards on Friday and Sunday while Seoul has its most valuable race of the weekend on Saturday. It’s a relatively uninspiring line-up for the ten furlong handicap, however, with Taesanbukdu slated to be top weight by some 5 kilos. Nevertheless, there’s plenty to get stuck into in the rest of the card on both days.
Suspended - Moon Se Young
Three of Seoul’s top jockeys will be on the sidelines this weekend. Choi Bum Hyun remains injured while Moon Se Young and Kim Ok Sung both begin bans which will last for four meetings. It will be an opportunity for the chasing pack to close some of the gap between themselves and Moon, who is looking to regain the title that he won in 2008.
Here’s what’s happening:
Friday May 28
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00-18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30-17:30
Saturday May 29
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:20-18:00
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 12:10-17:30
Sunday May 30
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40-16:30
Betting has been in the news in one form or another over the past couple of weeks in Korea. First off, the Starcraft “Match-Fixing” case saw some breakthroughs with arrests and charges and now supposedly confessions. Ultimately it seems a tale of young men being manipulated for surprisingly little money.
Next up is the JoongAng Daily with a glorified advert, masquerading as news, for Sports Toto’s World Cup games. Sports Toto is one of Korea’s licensed lotteries and runs pools on Korean domestic sports leagues as well as European football. It’s run by the Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation which also operates Track Cycling and Motorboat racing. These, along with horse racing and one casino,are the only legal betting opportunities for Koreans.
Speaking of that one casino, most news outlets covered the story of a Mr Ahn Seung Pil, who won the “Super Mega Jackpot” at Kangwon Land and promptly decided to donate all his winnings – which at 766 Million won were the biggest in the Korean casino history – to the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology and Science (KAIST). KAIST is one of the nation’s richest academic institutions.
Mr Ahn said he was inspired to make his donation after he remembered seeing a KAIST Professor on TV complaining that without adequate funding, Korea’s scientists will end up lagging behind their Chinese counterparts. Whether that happens or not, that Professor surely has a second career in Sales ahead of him.
* Note to any potential jackpot winners: Korean racing currently lags far behind that of Japan. This is not good. Investment is very important if it is to have any chance of catching up. Look at the quality of pictures on Keiblog…Gyongmaman will need a new camera is he is to compete…