Day: July 14, 2011

Weekend Preview: “Summer Fantasia” Begins

Night Racing Starts as Busan Metropolitan, Munhwa Ilbo Cup Headline Massive Weekend but Mister Park Will Not Be Chasing Record-Breaking Win

This year it’s being called “Summer Fantasia”. Starting this weekend and continuing until mid-August, racing in Korea shifts to a later mid-afternoon start with a night-time finish under the floodlights.

Night falls at Seoul

Of course, given that the lights were on at Seoul just two weeks ago due to it somehow managing to get dark at about 3pm, it’s not that much of a novelty. Nevertheless, racing on a beautiful summer’s evening with a huge crowd, various concerts taking place around the track (albeit with the kind of performers aimed a late middle-age Korean audience) and the lights on, can be quite an experience.

And it seems that monsoon season, which this year has been longer and heavier than most, is finally set to draw to a (temporary – there are typhoons on the horizon) close this Saturday. On the track, there are three big Stakes race – one at each track to get the summer season off to a great start. The biggest is at Busan and the Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup, commonly known as the “Summer Grand Prix” which brings together the best of horses from both Busan and Seoul.

Lighting up - the lights will be on for the last four races this weekend

Unfortunately Mister Park (Ecton Park) who won the actual Grand Prix in 2010 and who would have been seeking a record-breaking 16th consecutive victory has been withdrawn which leaves just two horses from Busan facing an invasion from the capital. However, those two horses are Dangdae Bulpae (Biwa Shiseiki) and Yeonseung Daero (Creek Cat), both champions in their own right. Coming down to meet them, however, is a veritable army of Seoul’s top imported talent, headed by last year’s winner Tough Win (Yonaguska) and the double Grand Prix champion Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow). We’ll have much more on the Metropolitan over the next couple of days.

At Seoul it’s the Munhwa Ilbo Cup on Sunday while Jeju plays host to the KCTV Cup on Saturday. We’ll be taking a look at the Munhwa Ilbo field on Saturday.

Here’s what’s happening when and where.

Friday July 15

Busan Race Park: 9 races from 15:00 to 21:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 16:30 to 21:00

Saturday July 16

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 14:20 to 20:50
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 16:20 to 21:20 (including the KCTV Cup at 19:55)

Sunday July 17

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 14:20 tp 21:00 (including the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at 19:10)
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 16:30 to 20:35 (including the Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup at 19:45)

Follow live updates from all three days on twitter

Atmospheric: Night-time in the Grandstands