Defending Champion Beaten / Ace Galloper, Yeonseung Daero Shocked by Old-Timers
Florida Sox put in a valiant defence of her title, but it was Kkakjaengi who came away with the victory in the Segye Ilbo Stakes Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.
Florida Sox, who had struggled with injury since winning the event last year, was sent off the odds-on favourite and led for six of the seven furlongs of this, one of very few Stakes races on the calendar for imported fillies and mares. Yet in the final furlong, the four-year old had nothing left and Kkakjaengi, a year her junior, swept by to win by half a length from Geumbi with Florida Sox hanging on for third.
Kkakjaengi (Put It Back) is a talent. Although she finished next to last in her debut last September, since then she has three wins and two seconds from five outings. For jockey Shin Hyoung Chul, one of the most experienced in the weighing room, it was a first Stakes victory since he won the Ttukseom Cup on Namchonuijijon in 2008.
Earlier, on a glorious spring-like afternoon at the races, another filly returned to form. Magic Party (Artie Schiller) was originally entered in the Segye Ilbo but steered clear in favour of taking on a class 3 field in race 7. After disappointing at two turns, she dropped back to seven furlongs and scored a comfortable win.
Magic Party, winner of the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup was one of last year’s stand-out two year olds but, having been sired overseas (although born in Korea), she’s ineligible for the three-year old Classics. A colt who is very eligible, however, is Shoot In (Exploit) and he made his much-anticipated second track outing in race 6.
Midway down the home straight, it looked as though jockey Cho Kyoung Ho may have left himself too much to do as Shoot In had several lengths to make up on the leaders.
Make them up he did with a little burst of speed a furlong from home to win, easing down, by two lengths. There will be greater challenges – not to mention distances – for Shoot In to contend with if he is going to be considered a Derby horse, but so far, he’s doing everything right.
On a very busy day of racing, there were two shocks and they came in the feature handicaps at both Seoul and Busan. In the capital, Ace Galloper was looking for his eleventh win from sixteen starts and punters sent him off at odds-on to achieve it. They reckoned without Hongji, an old-stager who’s always in the minor money but rarely lands a win – his last was in March 2009. Ace Galloper had him in his sights in the final furlong but the line came soon enough and the eight year old Hongji recorded his tenth career victory.
Down at Busan, the wonderful Yeonseung Daero was yet again the only Korean bred horse taking his chances against the imports in the feature race. He’s so good at it, he too was sent off odds-on. Hitting the front with a furlong to go, it looked like a thirteenth win was his for the taking but suddenly, creeping down the rail, was the venerable nine-year old Admiral Reigart [General Royal – Entoria (Stop The Music)].
The Admiral gained and gained and on the line, had the better of Yeonseung Daero by a head. It was quite a battle and both jockeys picked up fines for excessive whip use. Ultimately, Admiral Reigart gained his first win for a year and his eighth overall in a sixty-five race career which began in 2004. He’s not even a gelding.
So ended the first really glorious day of racing of the year. With temperatures in double figures at both tracks, big crowds were in. Kkakjaengi was the toast of the Segye Ilbo Cup. It will be a major surprise if she, like Florida Sox, is still in class 2 this time next year to defend it.
Segye Ilbo Stakes – Seoul Race Park – 1400M – Feb 20, 2011
1. Kkakjaengi (USA) [Put It Back – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] – Shin Hyung Chul – 10.2, 2.0
2. Geumbi (USA) [Ecton Park – Lady Justine (Lit De Justice)] – Han Sung Youl – 1.7
3. Florida Sox (USA) [Woke Up Dreamin – Chordette (Dixieland Band)] – Boo Min Ho – 1.2
Distances: 0.5 lengths/1.25 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Alpha Lady (AUS) 5. Burning Sky (JPN) 6. Blueband Mama (USA) 7. Sky Center (USA) 8. Fortunata (USA) 9. Milwaukee Money (CAN) 10. Illicit Image (USA) 11. Gwangsokcheoreom (USA) 12. Chongalcheoreom (NZ) 13. Southern Express (USA) 14. Dangmasan (USA)