As of February, jockeys at Seoul Race Park can once again designate themselves freelance and eleven local riders have opted to join Japanese jockey Yukio Abe in being unattached to a trainer.
The majority of the track’s big names are among them, including current champion Moon Se Young (who is riding in Macau at the moment), current leader Jo In Kwen and all-time great Park Tae Jong.
Kim Hae Sun, who is poised to shortly become the all-time leading female thoroughbred jockey in Korea joins them.
The advantage of a jockey being freelance is that he or she is not restricted in the number of rides they can accept across a weekend of racing while the disadvantage (in theory) is that they have to battle for every mount. They also do not receive a salary from a trainer for trackwork but instead get paid per work.
The full list is as follows:
Kim Young Jin
Moon Se Young
Cho Kyoung Ho
Park Tae Jong
Jang Chu Yeol
Kim Hae Sun
Park Sang Woo
Lee Sang Hyeok
Jo In Kwen
Oh Kyoung Hoan
Yoo Seung Wan
As a foreign rider, Yukio Abe was already a freelancer even when the locals weren’t. Abe recently received an extension to his license to ride at Seoul but is having a quiet time at Seoul despite being a roaring success at Busan.
Down on the South-Coast, where different union agreements exist among the riders, the two Japanese jockeys, Joe Fujii and Narazaki Kosuke remain the only freelancers and both are in demand from owners and trainers.