Tough Win Beats Mister Park & Smarty Moonhak to Win Korean Racing’s Showcase Race
Tough Win ended the seventeen run unbeaten streak of defending champion Mister Park as he took victory in a thrilling renewal of the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.
The four-year old gelding was sent off third in the betting but made no mistake with a perfectly timed run as he came through late to overtake Mister Park in the final furlong and win by just over half a length.
As expected, Tamna Ace made the early running but it was Akane Yamamoto and Mister Park who quickly took over at the front. In the backstraight there was excitement as Shim Seung Tae brought the two-year old prodigy, Smarty Moonhak up alongside the leader and these two were neck and neck as they rounded the home turn.
Behind them though, Tough Win and Cho Kyoung Ho had begun to make their move. In the home straight, Mister Park managed to shake Smarty Moonhak but on the outside, Tough Win was always closing and when he went by, Mister Park had no response.
It was a 14th win from 18 lifetime starts for Tough Win, a $12,000 purchase at the June 2009 Ocala Two-year old Sales. He suffered his first loss in this race last year and was out of the money for the only time in his career in this summer’s Busan Metropolitan. Today, however, everything came together as he scored the win his talent has always promised to deliver.
Mister Park’s front-running style means he always runs the risk of not having enough left in the home straight. Akane Yamamoto managed to control his pace well but he simply couldn’t hold on.
Completing the first three was the wildcard, Smarty Moonhak. In the build-up to the race, few people were talking about anything other than the first two-year old in the Grand Prix’s 30 year history to take his chance. Although he didn’t win, he proved he is the real deal.
There’s no disgrace in being beaten by a pair such as Tough Win and Mister Park and, having stayed the distance, he was six lengths clear of the fourth horse home. Provided he stays sound, at this moment in time, it is hard to see anything beating him next year. Tomorrow morning, updated rankings will be published and Smarty Moonhak will find himself the first two-year old ever to be promoted to Class 1, the highest level of racing here.
As for the others, 2010 Korean Derby winner Cheonnyeon Daero went quietly into retirement in 9th place while KRA Cup Classic winner Ace Galloper was a disappointing 11th. Peter Wolsley’s first attempt at a Grand Prix was not a happy one with the grey Gyeongkwaehanjilju tailing the field home in 14th.
Today though was about three top horses. One has the Korean racing world abuzz with his potential and ran today like no two-year old should; one met with no disgrace as he saw his record-breaking winning streak come to a battling end. The other, Tough Win, is Korea’s Champion Racehorse of 2011.
Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 2300M – December 11, 2011
1. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska-Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 5.2, 1.7
2. Mister Park (KOR) [Ecton Park-Formal Deal (Formal Gold)] – Akane Yamamoto – 1.3
3. Smarty Moonhak (USA) [Smarty Jones-Madeira M’Dear (Black Tie Affair)] – Shim Seung Tae – 2.0
Distances: 0.75 lengths/1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Tamna Ace (KOR) 5. Dongseo Jeongbeol (KOR) 6. Triple Sinhwa (KOR) 7. Queen Of Rain (USA) 8. Yeonseung Daero (KOR) 9. Cheonnyeon Daero (KOR) 10. Gippeun Sesang 11. Ace Galloper 12. Jumong 13. Yodongjewang 14. Gyeongkwaehanjilju