Day: January 10, 2011

Why Didn’t I Pick That?!

Hunch Bet Could Have Landed Massive Pay-Out / Quinella One Of Biggest Ever In Korea

It all sounds so obvious now: A filly and a mare taking on mostly males, they both had the word “Sky” in their names on a day when the sky was blue and beautiful and a young lady jockey coming in to replace the injured former Champion jockey on one of them. Surely a hunch bettor’s dream. Forget wondering why I didn’t even consider a few hundred Won, in the cold light of day, I have no idea why I didn’t put the mortgage on Burning Sky and Sky Center in Race 9 at Seoul Race Park on Sunday!

Let's Have A Look At What You Could Have Won...

130/1 shot Burning Sky and Hwang Soon Do led 50/1 Sky Center and Kim Hae Sun across the line to land one of the most unlikely results Seoul Race Park has seen in recent times. The quinella paid 1587.7 while the exacta yielded returns of 5409.0. With 943,233,500 Won (about $850,000) in the exacta pool, someone evidently had a good Sunday evening.

The exacta is generally the second most popular bet after the quinella. The Quinella pool had approximately $3 Million in it while there was $750,000 in the Trio (first three in any order), the returns of which were “only” 786.4 after hot favourite Super Yonggwang finished third. $45,000 was put in the win pool and $70,000 in the place for a total handle for the race of around $5 Million. With the KRA handing over 27% of that to the government for them to distribute as they see fit, one wonders just how seriously politicians want to clamp down on racing).

Sky's the limit: Burning Sky and Sky Center complete a 5409/1 exacta

* Those pay-outs were by no means the biggest in Korean history. Here is a full list of longest odds for all six bet types. With the exception of Dream Team, who made up the second part of the exacta, all involved were fillies:

Win: 382.0 – Seoul, 24 November 2001, Race 1: Three-year old filly Swing recorded her first and only victory.

Place: 59.9 – Seoul, 20 November 2004, Race 2: Filly Big Crown finished second. Her win odds were 571.3

Quinella: 7328.8 – Seoul, 5 December 1998, Race 4: Heukkwang (169.5) and Keumbae (198.4) were first and second but not until the horse over the line first Mubidongja, was disqualified. Some punters would have been left feeling sick as Mubidongja himself was a 90/1 chance.

Exacta: 15954.3 – Seoul, 26 October 2003, Race 5: Storm (77.9) beat Dream Team (193.5. Not many saw it coming.

Quinella Place: 1859.8 – Busan, 12 May, 2006, Race 5. An odds-on shot won but nine lengths behind the winner were Nammyeong and Jisang Choego – both sent off well over 100/1.

Trio: 25661.9 – Busan, 7 February 2010, Race 4 – This bet has only been available for a couple of years but it has already produced by far and away the biggest winning odds. Angel Collar, Dapyeon and Grace Thunder combining for the 1,2,3. However, there were no life-changing sums won that day. The pool contained a comfortable – if probably disappointing to the winner – 30 Million Won in it.

(Figures are from the KRA)

Ton-Up For International Uchida

After victory in race 1 at Busan on Sunday, Toshio “Mr Pink” Uchida let it be known that the win was his 100th success outside his native Japan.

It was a typical coaxing ride from Uchida as he brought second-favourite Hatteuneun Gisang from the back of the field to the front in the final furlong to take the lead at exactly the right time.

Friend of the Punters: Toshio Uchida

Punters’ friend Uchida is in his second spell in Korea. In May 2008, he came to Busan for the first time and quickly established himself as the top rider at the track, winning 69 races by the end of the year. It was a record for a while year at the course, let alone just eight months. When he made an appearance at Seoul to ride in the Minister’s Cup, the capital’s punters thronged the paddock and gave him a standing ovation. It would be no exaggeration to say that at that time he was arguably the most popular Japanese man in Korea.

In early 2009 after leaving Korea, Uchida was presented with an award by the Japanese National Association of Racing (one step down from the JRA) in recognition of his performance overseas which also took into account his earlier time in Macau where he won 20 races including a Group 1.

Uchida had always said he would return to Korea. Many hoped that he would go to Seoul and try to be the first foreign rider to crack the capital. Understandably, however, after nearly two years back home in Japan, it was back to Busan he went where the more internationalized racing procedures – and less pervasive power of the local Jockey Union – make for a much more hospitable environment for visiting jockeys. Since returning he has ridden 11 winners and once more is setting the standard that local jockeys can aspire to.

And that is exactly why the KRA brings over foreign jockeys in the first place. Young Korean jockeys are improving and the influence of South African riding instructor Kenny Michel has been very positive. On the track though there needs to be someone to watch and learn from in terms of tactics and especially – as they all still sprint for the first corner – in judging pace. Uchida provides this. Congratulations to him on reaching this milestone.