Day: November 3, 2016

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 4)

November is here and it has been a suitably cold week on the Korean peninusla with temperatures dipping below freezing for the first time since March. It could be a long winter. And right on cue, Friday’s Busan races shift to daytime meaning the first of eleven events get underway at 11:30 and the last at 18:00.

There is plenty of action on Sunday too but for now English racecards are here and notes of Friday’s Busan races 4-11 are below:

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:35 

(6) EGSEU BAND tries further than the minimum distance for the first time and it could be what the 2-year-old colt needs. He’s been traveling nicely for 4th in each of his last two and can go better here. (4) DREAM ACE beat (1) HWAJEONG as the pair raced together at this distance on October 7th. The latter was favourite that day and although Dream Ace went on to record another 3rd place later that month it is Hwajeong who will be the more fancied here with a top jockey taking over in the saddle. (10) PYEONDAEMYEONGMUN was a much improved 3rd at the minimum at the end of September and looks ready to stretch back out to 1300M; she’ll be on speed early along with (2) SAMHYEONGJE, disappointing behind Egseu Band last time but with potential for improvement.

Selections: (6) Egseu Band (1) Hwajeong (10) Pyeongdaemyeongmun (4) Dream Ace
Next Best: 2, 9
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 2, 9, 10
Start-200M: 2, 6, 10, 4, 9
200M-Finish: 1, 2, 9, 6, 7

Race 5: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:20 

Two 2nd places at class 6 sees Peter Wolsley’s (4) DINAH forced up in class today here but there’s little to be intimidated by here and she could well pull off her maiden victory. The main danger is (3) MOMENT, 2nd at class and distance on October 14th and the experienced gelding can at least match that here. Neither will necessarily lead from the gate. That’s more likely to be (6) KWAEDO YEOGEOL, 2nd in a weak race over this distance in early October having been beaten by Moment the time before. She’ll be competitive. (1) B.K. ONE and (7) LADY CHARTERED look best of the rest.

Selections: (4) Dinah (3) Moment (6) Kwaedo Yeogeol (1) B.K. One
Next Best: 7
Rating: 3, 6, 1=4, 8
Fast Starters: 1, 6, 8
Start-200M: 6, 8, 1, 4, 5
200M-Finish: 8, 4, 3, 2, 6

Race 6: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:05 

A winner on debut and then 3rd on her first try at this class three weeks ago, (1) YUSEONG FIRST is the pick to claim this all-filly (and one mare) affair. (10) BLUE TIME steps up in class and distance having secured her own maiden victory over five furlongs on October 14th and will be one of the main dangers. The experienced (3) USEUNG CHEONJI landed a very good 3rd place in a solid race over 1300M just two weeks ago and can seek the money once more. (6) DANCING BLAZE has been inconsistent in four starts so far but has a 2nd place at this distance at class 6 and showed she can compete at this level with a 5th place in a decent race on October 9th. She’ll also be on speed early. (4) FOCUS LINE looks to have scope for improvement.

Selections: (1) Yuseong First (3) Useung Cheonji (10) Blue Time (6) Dancing Blaze
Next Best: 4, 8
Rating: 1, 10, 5=7, 6
Fast Starters: 1, 6, 10
Start-200M: 10, 1, 6, 4, 8
200M-Finish: 10, 3, 4, 5, 6

Race 7: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 15:50 

It took Bart Rice’s (2) SWOOP seven races to get his maiden win but he’s gone on to land three in a row and, taking on potentially weaker imported opposition here, has every chance to get his fourth. Apprentice Choi Eun Gyeong is unbeaten on him and can continue that record today in Barry Irwin’s Team Valor colours. Another Korean-bred, (12) KWAEHAN MYEONGPUM, disappointing last start, looks among the main contenders to stop him. Aside from a disappointing run in wet conditions last start, she’s been in good form of late and must be considered. Among the imports, (8) SINHEUNG QUEEN won her trial in decent fashion and we’ll look for a promising debut while (11) POINT LUCK was a creditable 4th at his first attempt a month ago. (3) TAEGWON CHAMP is yet to win in eighteen but at this distance and in this company, should be looking for the money.

Selections: (2) Swoop (8) Sinheung Queen (12) Kwaehan Myeongpum (11) Point Luck
Next Best: 3, 1
Rating: 6, 9, 2=12, 3
Fast Starters: 1, 4, 6, 8
Start-200M: 1, 6, 11, 12, 2
200M-Finish: 3, 10, 7, 11, 9

Race 8: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 16:35

Kim Young Kwan’s (3) HWANGJEUI TANSAENG has won two of his last three and was only narrowly defeated last time. He’ll be on speed early here from a good draw and can go all the way. (7) SEUNGJEONPILSA and (8) SHARP WIN are both up in class after victories last start but you’d fancy both have plenty to find here which leaves (6) FIVE VICTORS, 6th behind Hwangjeui Tansaeng last start and (9) GANGHAN NAMJA, also beaten by Hwangjeui Tansaeng on his last start as the main dangers. (10) KWAEHAN YEONGUNG and (11) GIFTED SUN both look competitive at this level and should be considered.

Selections: (3) Hwangjeui Tansaeng (9) Ganghan Namja (6) Five Victors (11) Gifted Sun
Next Best: 2, 10, 7, 8
Rating: 3, 6, 2=4=9
Fast Starters: 3, 7, 11
Start-200M: 11, 7, 3, 4, 8
200M-Finish: 4, 9, 8, 5, 2

Race 9: Class 3 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 17:00

Open contest this with a number having claims. (1) PUT IT BACK TIM beat three of these when racing 3rd over 1400M at the end of September. He’s a strong finisher and can come from off the pace here. He has only won once in fourteen starts though and at today’s distance, one of those he beat last time, (6) YOU’RE HILARIOUS has every chance of overturning that result. (11) GOLD MOON drops back in distance after several tries around two turns and is to be considered while the very experienced (5) JILJU HWASIN was 3rd in a decent contest at class and distance just two weeks ago and can repeat. (2) KWAESEOK BARAM and the reliable (8) FOR MY SIS are others to consider for the money.

Selections: (6) You’re Hilarious (11) Gold Moon (1) Put It Back Tim (8) For My Sis
Next Best: 5, 2, 9
Rating: 6=11, 5, 7, 3
Fast Starters: 3, 4, 7, 11
Start-200M: 7, 9, 3, 11, 6
200M-Finish: 8, 10, 2, 11, 6

Race 10: Class 2 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 88 Million / 17:30 

(6) GASOK ENGINE defeated (11) HOSEUNGJIBYEOK as the pair ran 1st and 2nd over class and distance in wet conditions on September 30th. They should battle it out again and we’ll go for the Korean Oaks 3rd place-getter Hoseungjibyeok to take the honours today. (7) BARAMUI JEONSEOL is up in class following two consecutive wins and looks most likely to upset the favourites with (8) SEONGSAN PAECHEONG and (9) JEONGSANG JEAP the best of the rest.

Selections: (11) Hoseungjibyeok (6) Gasok Engine (7) Baramui Jeonseol (8) Seongsan Paecheong
Next Best: 9, 3
Rating: 6=8, 4=1, 7
Fast Starters: 4, 6, 9, 10
Start-200M: 9, 4, 10, 6, 7
200M-Finish: 3, 8, 5, 10, 11

Race 11: Class 1 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 105 Million / 18:00 

(4) SEOUL BULLET pushed triple-crown winner Power Blade close in a Stakes race over this distance a month ago on what was just his second start back following well over a year off. He was six-for-six before his extended lay-off and can get back to winning ways here. Top-rated (5) WONIL GANGJA comes in looking for a hat-trick of victories. His past two have been achieved at reasonably lengthy odds and the same apprentice who won on him last time takes some weight off today and he can challenge the favourite. (2) MAC AND CHEESE returns to action for the first time since April. He looked is good shape when unhurried in a trial two weeks ago and can put in a good run first-up. (6) GOJI JEONGBEOL and (7) POKPUNG CHOEGANG can compete for minor money.

Selections (4) Seoul Bullet (5) Wonil Gangja (2) Mac And Cheese (6) Goji Jeongbeol
Next Best: 7, 3, 1
Rating: 5, 3, 1, 6, 4
Fast Starters: 1, 5
Start-200M: 3, 2, 5, 4, 1
200M-Finish: 7, 5, 4, 6, 3

Korea Owned J.S. Choice Set For BC Juvenile Turf

It looks like J.S. Choice will run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf this coming Friday. The Todd Pletcher trained colt is owned by none other than the Korea Racing Authority Stud Farm.

I’m not going to claim this news sets the pulse racing to any great extent although the Korea Racing Authority and the racing media in Korea seem to be quite excited about it and there will be a sizable Korean contingent at Santa Anita to watch him. However, ultimately he’s an American horse, who has never set hoof in Korea, trained by an American trainer running in an American race ridden and will be ridden by an American jockey (Kent Desormeaux).

That’s not his fault though and he looks to be a promising horse. J.S. Choice has raced three times so far and having been 5th on his debut at Saratoga in August, he came back out at the same track to win at the second time of asking on September 5. He was then entered for the Group 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont on October 1st and ran 2nd (albeit quite well beaten by Oscar Performance who also runs on Friday) and this has proven enough to allow him to take his chance at Santa Anita.

The experiment is not without merit and is not purely a vanity project. The idea is that he was purchased in the sales having been selected for potential value by the KRA’s “K-Nicks” database and then sent to a top American trainer. He will do his racing in the United States and will then be retired for Stud duties in Korea. Interestingly, he has done his racing on Turf and with the KRA serious about installing a turf track at Seoul – something that would arguably be the biggest development in racing history here and on which work has already begun – stallions who have demonstrated ability on the surface are going to be required and the Authority, Korean horsemen and also punters will all need to become familiar with racing on a surface that was meant to be raced on.

J.S. Choice [Congrats – Oil Empress (Empire Maker)] is named with a nod to 2007 Korean Triple Crown winner J.S. Hold. He runs in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Friday November 4th with an expected morning line of 20/1. I haven’t quite decided if I’ll be setting my alarm for what will be early Saturday Seoul time, but I do really hope he does well.