Day: June 13, 2019

Menifee: Brilliant Racehorse & Korea’s Most Successful Sire – 1996-2019

Menifee has died. The runner-up in the 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, who went on to become a sensation at Stud in Korea, suffered a heart attack at the KRA Jeju Stud Farm on the morning of June 13th. He was 23.

Menifee

Menifee [Harlan-Anne Campbell (Never Bend)] was a very good racehorse. He won both his starts as a juvenile at Monmouth and Saratoga and kept his winning streak intact on his three-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park in February of 1999. He suffered his first defeat when 2nd in the Tampa Bay Derby, but quickly returned to winning ways in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

Menifee next went to the Kentucky Derby, running 2nd under Pat Day to long-shot Charismatic. A certain Ecton Park was back down the track that day – those two had not seen the last of one another. Menifee then tackled The Preakness and while sent off as favourite, once more succumbed to Charismatic.

Menifee would finish 8th in the Belmont Stakes but would prove his class when winning the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in August. He concluded his racing career running 3rd in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga and then 2nd – to Ecton Park – in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs that October.

Mary Lukas, who worked for Menifee’s trainer Elliott Walden at the time, remembered Menifee the racehorse as “One of the smartest horses I was ever around. Even as a two-year-old, he had a presence around him; everyone in the barn knew he was going to be something special. He used to pull his hot-walker around the barn to catch up with the horses in front of him.”

While a four-year-old campaign was planned, injuries meant Menifee was retired to Stud, standing at Stone Farm in Kentucky. He had middling results and in November 2006, arrived in Korea as the latest addition to the Korea Racing Authority’s then growing Stallion program on Jeju Island.

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Menifee at Stone Farm in Kentucky (Pic: Mary Lukas)

Menifee’s Korean progeny began racing in 2010 and met instant success and Menifee would become Leading Sire in Korea in six consecutive years from 2012 to 2017. During that time, he produced five consecutive Korean Derby winners, including his best, Power Blade, winner of the Triple Crown in 2016.

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Power Blade on his way to the Triple Crown

Menifee’s time on Jeju was not without drama – he overcame a life-threatening illness in 2011 – but pushed along by his racing rival Ecton Park, also imported to Korea and standing privately at Isidore Farm approximately ten miles away, Menifee became the most successful sire in Korean racing history. Just as he finally bested him at the end of his racing career, Ecton Park relieved Menifee of his Leading Sire crown in 2018, but Menifee leads the 2019 race and with several more crops to come, is set to be around for some time yet.

Menifee

Menifee, Korea’s leading sire, walks in the rain

Menifee adapted to life in Korea well. Always intelligent, the saying “Menifee speaks Korean” became something of a cliche at the Jeju Stud Farm, as he quickly learned to respond to Korean words and phrases. Like any stallion, caution was warranted when in his presence, but he could be amenable too and he was extremely popular among both the staff who worked with him everyday and with visitors, of whom there were many.

His fame here can’t really be overstated. One example is from when Menifee was brought up for an outing to Seoul Racecourse a couple of years ago. When it was announced over the PA system that he was present and about to be walking (or strutting, as it transpired) in the parade ring, there was quite the stampede of punters, all eager to see just exactly who that horse was whose name they had seen in brackets next to winners in the race card so often. That isn’t normal in Korea.

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Menifee

Nothing Menifee did in Korea was normal. He has been called “Korea’s Sunday Silence” and maybe time will prove that true. For now we remember a wonderful racehorse and a unique and irreplaceable stallion. Korea’s Menifee leaves a precious legacy.

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Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 14)

The final leg of the 2019 Korean Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup, takes place at Seoul this Sunday but the weekend’s action gets underway on Friday at Busan with 9 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Busan World Sun

It’s Friday! It’s Busan!

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

An inexperienced field of eleven will go over the five furlongs to get things underway at Busan. (5) QUEEN OF ADELE brings the dominant form lines into the race finishing in the top three on two occasions from her past three starts. Expect polished jockey Seo Seung Un to position the Colors Flying filly close to the speed. (9) STOLEN BEAUTY showed early speed last time out over the five furlongs when managing to settle second from the outside gate. Her draw is marginally better and this looks a slightly weaker assignment. (3) CHODONG JINJU is having her fourth start after finishing well back last time out. Her performance two starts back was good when producing a nice turn of foot. (10) DARUI BADA passed a few in the straight last start and appears a place chance at best.

Selections (5) Queen Of Adele (9) Stolen Beauty (3) Chodong Jinju (10) Darui Bada
Next Best 4, 6, 1
Fast Start 4, 5, 9, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

There is a lack of exposed form in the second with the field having a collective twenty-nine starts between them for just five top three finishes. The lack of form suggests that debutant (10) PARADISE KING can figure in this event after a handy trial. The Hansen colt finished second in the trial when ridden hands and heels through the line. The trial time was 1.02.6 which will see him be competitive. He showed early speed in the trial so expect him to sit in the first half of the field. (7) TOHAM IMPACT has placed on two occasions from four career starts. He was slightly disappointing last time out when sent out at short odds and only beating a few home. Look for him to bounce back in this event where he drops back to the 1000m. Seo Seung Un will ride (3) CHODONG YEOSIN for the first time today after she finished second (2.5L) behind Goldui Inyeon. (6) SPICE ROCK has shown she can run home well and appears a place chance on recent runs. (2) BEAUTIFUL KOREA was much-improved last time and can build on that run here.

Selections (10) Paradise King (7) Toham Impact (3) Chodong Yeosin (6) Spice Rock
Next Best 2, 4, 1
Fast Start 3, 4, 10, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

First starter (4) WONDERFUL COUNTRY has had two trials as he comes into his debut preparation. The three-year-old ran 1.03.2 when winning a barrier trial on 19/06/01. The Menifee chestnut was asked for an effort but still appeared to have plenty in the tank. He will most likely jump at an each-way price in a wide open field. (5) ZET KING appears the main danger with the drop back in distance to 1300m looking ideal. Trainer Kim Byung hak has engaged Seo Seung Un for the ride and from barrier five it is expected he will work forward early. (8) DONGBANG NARAE has been sent out at reasonably short odds at her first two career starts. She has only managed to finish midfield and both runs have been on wet tracks. Look for her to improve. (3) BAEDARI CAPER has been around a while having twenty starts and yet to finish closer than third. He is a place chance at best.

Selections (4) Wonderful Country (5) Zet King (8) Dongbang Narae (3) Baedari Caper

 

Next Best 2, 10
Fast Start 4, 5, 7, 12

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Three-year-old Officer filly (3) MAJOR PUNCH looks as if she will appreciate the mile as she lines up in race four. She was last on the turn at her most recent run and finished off well to finish fifth.  If she gets away well at the start she will take some beating. (7) PARTY WINNER is having start six in this event and has managed to finish in the top five on three occasions from his five starts to date. (6) CHEONNYEONUI ULRIM showed early speed last time when finishing fifth behind Karin who has gone on for successive victories. Expect him to sit just behind the speed and look for improvement at start four. (8) YEONGWON CHAMP appears the best of the rest and is a place chance. (1) GRAND CAPTAIN has hinted at improvement recently and can also be a threat for the money.

Selections (3) Major Punch (7) Party Winner (6) Cheonnyeonui Ulrim (8) Yeongwon Champ
Next Best 1, 4, 9
Fast Start 1, 3, 4, 7

Race 5: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A field of ten will go over the mile in the fifth of the day. Three-year-old (10) DAEHO JILJU looks as if he will appreciate stepping back up to the mile after winning two starts back over the distance. He has been consistent since starting his career in December. He has shown he is versatile in his short career after settling both on speed and midfield. (7) YEONGGWANGUI CHEER was sent out favourite by punters last time out and won by a head. He has to carry the 55kg in this but is considered an each-way chance. (1) URANUS J has been consistent at this level at his past few starts and will be aided by an inside draw. He worked overtime last time out with a wide draw but will have an economic run in this event. (4) ALBERT KING took ten starts to break maiden status two starts back. He followed it up with a midfield performance behind Bobae Dream last time out. He looks one to include in your exotic bets. (more…)

Jockey Jeon Jin-Gu To Ride In Prix Longines Future Racing Stars Race At Chantilly This Sunday

Busan rider Jeon Jin-Gu is bound for France where he will represent Korea in the Prix Longines Future Stars race over a mile at Chantilly Racecourse on French Oaks Day this Sunday June 16.

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Jockey Jeon Jin-Gu, seen here after riding his first winner (Pic: KRA)

“I was really honoured to get the call-up and it’s exciting to get the opportunity to ride horses abroad” said Jeon Jin-Gu of his invitiation. “I’m looking forward to riding local (French-trained) horses and getting to ride at Chantilly Racecourse”.

Now 23-years old, Jeon Jin-Gu debuted in 2017 and has amassed 42 wins from 593 rides so far for a win-rate of 7.1%. He has a quinella strike-rate of 14.5% with 21.1% of his mounts finishing in the first three.

“I rode my first winner on just my second race ride” said Jeon “That’s the most memorable moment of my career so far”.

In addition to the race itself, jockeys will also have the opportinity to ride trackwork for local trainers. Other jockeys set to participate in this year’s even include Thomas Stockdale of Australia and Kabelo Matsunyane of South Africa, the latter coached by former Korea-based Jockey Trainer Robert Moore.