Korean Derby 2011: First Look At Contenders

D-13: Sixteen Remain in The Running For The Big One

We’re less than two weeks away from one of the highlights of the season. The 2011 Korean Derby, the second leg of the Triple Crown Series, takes place at Seoul Race Park on Sunday May 15. It’s Seoul vs Busan as the best three-year olds on the peninsula face one another for the prestige of being called the best of their generation. The President’s Cup may be more valuable and the Grand Prix more prestigious. But the world over, when you think of flat thoroughbred racing, you think of the Derby. So it is in Korea too

Who will follow Cheonnyeon Daero into the Korean Derby Winner's Circle?

Sixteen horses remain in the running at this stage although at least two of these will be cut before the final line-up is declared on the Thursday before the race to leave a maximum field size of fourteen. Nine are from Seoul and seven are from Busan.

Listed is the name, pedigree and race records. I’ve also taken a guess at the likely jockey; these should be quite accurate for the entrants from Seoul but given that there’s very little logic in who rides what at Busan at the best of times, I’d be surprised to get even two out of the possible seven correct!

As per Korean Derby rules, all entrants were both bred and foaled in Korea:

Korean Derby (KOR GI) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – Sunday May 15, 2011


Sun Hero [Menifee – Strategic Reward (Bold Revenue)] (9/4/2/1)
Winner of the Breeders’ Cup and therefore Champion Juvenile of 2010. He’s won over the Derby distance already this year but struggled to eighth place in the KRA Cup Mile. Likely Jockey: Moon Se Young

Prime Galloper [Strodes Creek – Apple G (Carson City)] (7/3/4/0)
One of the last foals of late sire Strodes Creek to reach the track, he’s been first or second in all his starts to date. Second in both his starts around two turns he’s finished slowly both times which may be a concern. Likely Jockey: Hwang Soon Do

Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] (6/4/0/0)
Didn’t go to the KRA Cup Mile and is yet to run over the Derby distance but has looked impressive in back to back recent wins. Will be fancied. Likely Jockey: Oh Kyoung Hoan

Kakamega [Gold Money – Daecheonpung (Fiercely)] (9/3/1/2)
One of the few to have a Korean bred dam so a win would be good for Korean racing. In the money in all his nine starts and has won at two turns. Likely Jockey: Moon Se Young is his regular rider and may pick him over Sun Hero. Park Byoung Yun has also ridden him twice but it coud go to a third jockey.

Yeongung Icheon [Concept Win – Saratogasplash (Wild Again)] (9/3/2/1)
A half-brother to 2009 Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup winner Yeongung Manse, he first came to attention by winning a race in a blizzard just before racing was abandoned for the day back in January. He’s certainly tough but isn’t proven around two turns and was beaten by filles Legal Lady and Ruby Queen last time out. Likely Jockey: Park Tae Jong

Geuma Champ [Vicar – Stormcloudrising (Stormy Atlantic)] (7/2/3/1)
A bit of a surprise entrant, he put in a strong performance when finishing second to four-year old Super Rich over the Derby distance in April looking impressive in the process, albeit in a slowly run race. Likely Jockey: Jung Ki Yong

Double Light [Menifee – Iruda (Glorify)] (8/3/3/1)
Second in the KRA Cup Mile, will be looking to go one better on his home track. Shouldn’t have a problem with the distance and will be well-fancied. Likely Jockey: Cho Kyoung Ho

Singgereounachim [Exploit – Singgereoun (Mr. Adorable)] (9/3/1/2)
Didn’t win as a two-year old but bounded into the Classic picture by beating then Triple Crown front-runner Ophelia back in February. Recovered from a disappointing run in the KRA Cup Mile by winning by ten lengths on his return this month. Will be among the favourites: Likely Jockey: Moon Jung Kyun rode him in his first few starts but Jo In Kwen has ridden him in his last three and would be the logical choice to keep the ride for the Derby.

Absolute [Commendable – Tai Chi (Quest For Fame)] (7/3/0/2)
An outsider and although he ran a solid third behind Yeongtap and Lucky Box in April, he’d need to improve a lot to challenge here. Likely Jockey: Park Byeong Yun has ridden him in every race so far.


Dongseo Jeongbeol [Vicar – Rendezvous Bay (Wonderloaf)] (6/3/1/0)
Won at the distance on Cup Mile day in April and, given past experience, no Busan horse who does that can be discounted. That said, there are better colts joining him on the trip north. Likely Jockey: In his six starts, he’s been ridden by five jockeys. Could be anyone. Lim Sung Sil is the only one to ride him twice.

World Winner [Yankee Victor – Wakired (Red Ransom)] (11/2/3/2)
He took ten races to break his maiden but then immediately followed it up with another win to get him his shot here. However, he’s never gone further than seven furlongs and has a lot to find to be in contention. Likely Jockey: If Jo Sung Gon can’t get on one of the others, he’ll probably ride this, Unless there’s more money to be made in the feature race back home at Busan on Derby day.

Soseuldaemun [Meisei Opera – This Ole Way (Vigors)] (10/3/3/1)
By virtue of winning the Cup Mile, he’s the one to aim at here. He wasn’t favourite that day and he possibly won’t be here either. Nevertheless, he’s the front-runner right now. Likely Jockey: While Eiki Nishimura was jocked off Sangseung Ilro two years ago after winning the Cup Mile on her, that’s unlikely to happen to Toshio Uchida. If he wants the ride, he’ll be on it.

Cheonji Horyeong [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] (9/2/3/1)
A full brother (I hate that phrase) to 2008 Derby winner Ebony Storm, he was fourth in the KRA Cup Mile. Untried at longer distances so a little bit of an unknown quantity. No-one thought Ebony Storm had the pedigree to get the distance so he started the Derby as the longest shot on the board, but we all know what happened during that downpour three years ago. If it rains, he’s worth a punt. Likely Jockey: Chae Gyu Jun

Useung Touch [Menifee – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] (Filly) (6/3/1/1)
One of just two fillies entered, she was a shock third in the Breeders’ Cup last year when starting at 100/1. Continuing her form as a three-year old she was fifth in the KRA Cup Mile. Likely Jockey: Choi Si Dae

Daeseung Yegam [Silent Warrior – Tolp’ung-Yegam (Land Rush)] (10/3/1/1)
Hasn’t been seen since running a disappointing twelfth in the Cup Mile and was inconsistent before that. An outsider. Likely Jockey: Many have ridden him, Jo Chang Wook rode him in the Cup Mile.

Cyclone [Concept Win – Bakuachi (Debonair Roger)] (filly) (6/2/3/0)
The second filly, Cyclone has no form to speak of having never gone further than 1300 metres. It would be a major shock if she was to feature. Likely Jockey: Jo Sung Gon has ridden her to both of her victories although it’s questionable as to whether he would come all the way to Seoul if he was to be riding her in the Derby. Unless they know something I don’t – which is highly possible…

Much more to come on the Derby over the next two weeks!

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