By the end of the year, Korea may well have its first female President. Of course, the woman in question has had some advantages. She is, after all, the daughter of the dictator who presided over nearly two decades of extraordinary economic development – and numerous human rights abuses. However, if it happens, it will still be an historic moment.
There is another woman worthy of respect; a woman who should be headlining news bulletins and giving speeches at the nation’s top Universities. For more than ten years, Lee Shin Young has been achieving things no other woman has ever before come close to in the ultra-male dominated world of Korean horse racing. Today, she achieved a little more.
Lee Shin Young was only the third Korean woman to gain a jockey license. She rode 90 winners before last year, at the age of 31, becoming the first Korean woman to qualify as a trainer and open her own barn. It would be wrong to say that most expected her to fail.
Even those who may wanted have her to fall on her face – and there were some – knew enough about Lee to not make the mistake of underestimating her. A formidable character and talent, she was always going to succeed.
With 15 winners from her first 100 runners, Lee entered four-year old colt Holy Moely (Nihon Pillow Neil) into the Selangor Turf Club Trophy at Seoul Race Park today. Under jockey Shin Hyoung Chul – 13 years Lee’s senior, the 9-1 chance led from gate-to-wire in driving rain to record a comfortable victory.
It wasn’t a Stakes race, but it was by far the biggest win of Lee’s training career to date. She has 17 horses under her care now and more are likely to come.
You never see a woman leading-up or hot-walking a horse at Seoul or Busan. However, young jockeys such as Kim Hae Sun and Lee Ah Na are coming through and there are now more young women in the KRA’s education system. Check their Facebook pages and without fail, they list Lee Shin Young as the person they most admire.
She’s unknown outside of racing circles and she’s probably not at all bothered by that. She should be as what she has achieved deserves wider recognition. What’s most exciting though, is at just 32 years of age, her greatest achievements are perhaps still yet to come.
Selangor Turf Club Trophy – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – April 21, 2012
1. Holy Moely (KOR) [Nihon Pillow Neil-A.P.Ranshu (Adjudicating)] – Shin Hyoung Chul – 9.6, 3.2
2. Special Win (KOR) [Tahamkke-Wellbeing Cat (Creek Cat)] – Moon Jung Kyun – 2.0
3. Capital Song (KOR) [Capital Spending-Songstress (Bluebird)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.7
Distances: 2.5 lengths/1 lengths – 14 ran.