Korea’s most successful ever jockey reached another milestone at Seoul Race Park this afternoon as Park Tae Jong rode his 1600th career winner.
Park started the day on 1598 but took race 1 on Daejiuichukje before guiding third-favourite Gwangsokcheoreom to a half-length victory in race 7 to reach the 1600 mark. Half an hour later it was 1601 with Haetbitbeonjjeok a three-length winner in race 8. He wasn’t finished there either as victory on hot favourite Summa Cum Laude in race 10 meant he ended the day with four winners.
The forty-four year old Park gained his license in 1987 at the old Seoul Race Park at Ttukseom. During his career he has won three Korean Derbies as well as the Grand Prix and Minister’s Cup. In April, he partnered Money Car to the KRA Cup Mile before the pair finished second in the Derby.
While 1600 winners is not a lot in terms of world racing, Park has achieved the figure from just over 10,000 race rides. Not only can he only race two days a week in Korea but, until the freelance jockey system came into effect a few years ago he, like every other jockey, was restricted to just five race rides per weekend.
While most of his contemporaries who gained licenses in the late 1980s – Chun Chang Ki, Ahn Byung Ki and Kim Hyo Seob – have recently taken up training licenses, If Park’s desire remains strong, there is no reason why he can’t reach 2000 winners before he finally calls it a day.