Triple Crown 2011: First Look at KRA Cup Mile Line Up

Sixteen Remain in “Korean Guineas”

It’s almost upon us. The 2011 Korean Triple Crown Challenge Series gets underway this coming Sunday, April 3 with the KRA Cup Mile – The Korean 2000 Guineas – at Busan Race Park.

So far sixteen horses are entered; at least two will be eliminated before the day and therefore if there is going to be a Triple Crown winner, it’s going to be one of these. Both Seoul and Busan have eight entries each. Five of the host track’s representatives are fillies while all of those from Seoul are colts.

Breeders' Cup winner Sun Hero is one of 5 horses by Menifee entered for the Cup Mile

Menifee was both leading first-crop sire and Champion two-year old sire in 2010 and he has five entrants, all with serious claims. Filly Useung Touch finished in a surprise third place in the Breeders’ Cup last year and the filly has brought her good form over to 2011. Meanwhile, Breeders’ Cup winner Sun Hero and stablemate Sun Blaze, along with Double Light will be among those heading the Seoul contingent.

Despite the name, Ophelia's a colt. A handsome one too

There’s been plenty of hype surrounding the grey Ophelia, while Mupaeseungni has the best strike rate in the race with three wins from his four starts. Unusually, there are no unbeaten horses in the race although like Ophelia, the filly Haengunui Mannam, has finished first or second in all of her five starts.

The KRA Cup Mile is a relatively new addition to the Korean racing calendar. It was first run in its current form – for Korean bred three-year olds – in 2008, which was the first year that the Korean Triple Crown series incorporated horses from the new Busan track. The Series itself has only been started the previous year when J.S. Hold scored a clean sweep of the Ttukseom Cup, Korean Derby and Minister’s Cup. For 2008, the Ttukseom Cup was made age-open and the Cup Mile restricted to three-year olds and thrown open to horses from across the peninsula.

Busan won the 2008 and 2009 editions in the form of Rainmaker and Sangseung Ilro, however, Money Car became the first Seoul based three-year old to win a Classic since 2007 when he took the 2010 renewal. Of those, only Sangseung Ilro went on to win the Korean Derby, two months later and she failed at the final Triple Crown hurdle as Namdo Jeap, second in both the Cup Mile and the Derby that year, finally came out on top in the Minister’s Cup in Seoul in October.

Winning the Triple Crown is tough – there are six months between the Cup Mile and the Minister’s Cup and there may be later developing horses, such as Dangdae Bulpae last year, who get better as the season progresses and overtake those who were on top in April. Sangseung Ilro’s fragile shins didn’t hold up for the whole year, while poor old Money Car only ran once more after being caught in the final strides of the Derby.

It’s a long time until October but if we’re to have a Triple Crown winner in 2011, it will be one of one of these sixteen (Name/Pedigree/Race Records/Home Track):

1. Cheonji Horyeong (KOR) [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] (7/2/2/1) – Busan
2. Soseuldaemun (KOR) [Meisei Opera – This Ole Way (Vigors)] (9/2/3/1) – Busan
3. Daeseung Yegam (KOR) [Silent Warrior – Tolp’ung-Yegam (Land Rush)] (9/3/1/1) – Busan
4. Dallija (KOR) [Adcat – Great Lakes (Meadowlake)] (Filly) (7/3/1/0) – Busan
5. Shamash (KOR) [Al Naba – Jayeon Juui (Road Of War)] (Filly) (8/2/2/0) – Busan
6. Flower (KOR) [Menifee – Fancy Cheeks (Jade Robbery)] (Filly) (6/2/2/1) – Busan
7. Useung Touch (KOR) [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] (Filly) (5/3/1/1) – Busan
8. Haengunui Mannam (KOR) [Creek Cat – Clever Lil (Lil’s Lad)] (Filly) (5/2/3/0) – Busan
9. Double Light (KOR) [Menifee – Iruda (Glorify)] (7/3/2/1) – Seoul
10. Beongaegangho (KOR) [Vicar – Carson City Dancer (Carson City)] (7/2/2/1) – Seoul
11. Reigns Cat (KOR) [Creek Cat – Eternal Reigns (Eternal Orange)] (7/2/2/0) – Seoul
12. Singgeureounachim (KOR) [Exploit – Singgeureoun (Mr. Adorable)] (7/2/1/2) – Seoul
13. Ophelia (KOR) [Commendable – Miss Personality (El Prado)] (5/2/3/0) – Seoul
14. Sun Blaze (KOR) [Menifee – Claudia’s Secret (Crafty Prospector)] (6/2/3/0) – Seoul
15. Sun Hero (KOR) [Menifee – Strategic Reward (Bold Revenue)] (8/4/2/1) – Seoul
16. Mupaeseungni (KOR) [Ingrandire – Dangdae Eutteum (Pro For Sure)] (4/3/0/0) – Seoul

*Here is Money Car’s 2010 victory:

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