++Update – As of Wednesday afternoon, the re-opening to spectators has been postponed for at least one week++
For the first time since February, some spectators will be admitted to Seoul, Busan and Jeju Racecourses from this Friday, July 24th. Numbers will be limited and attendance is only possible by pre-booking using the KRA’s “My Card” application. Off-track betting locations will remain closed for at least another two weeks.
Seoul Racecourse has been ready for weeks
The reopening is in line with public facilities in the Seoul area such as libraries and museums, which have begun reopening from this week. Korea’s other main wagering outlet, track cycling, will also open its doors again this weekend.
Since the resumption of the sport on June 19th, racing has been held behind closed doors and with the country not allowing online or telephone betting, there has been no legal outlet for wagering. Owners have been allowed to attend since the restart and have been betting in small amounts.
Admission will only be available to users of the My Card application and must be pre-booked through the app the day before the race meeting. Attendees will need to pass a health screening on arrival at the track, along with verification of identity and contact details to enable contact-tracing if necessary. Seats will be pre-assigned with the grandstands at all three racecourses having been reconfigured to allow for distancing. The maximum permitted attendance is approximately 10% of the usual number.
For the second time in a month, Cheongdam Dokki savaged his rivals over 2000M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday, claiming an easy win in the G3 YTN Cup and in the process broke Dongbanui Gangja’s eleven-year-old track record for the distance.
Just four weeks after his dominant victory in the Herald Business Cup and facing a largely similar set of opponents, Cheongdam Dokki was always set to be a prohibitive favourite in a race which served as the second leg of the “Stayer Series”. And just as he did in the Herald, he stamped his authority on the race right from the start, crossing from gate eight under jockey Park Tae Jong and straight into the lead.
At his best, Cheongdam Dokki’s cruising speed is so superior to his local rivals at least in the absence of Moonhak Chief – that there was never a danger of him doing too much too soon and being caught. Instead he continued to run away from them, recording a nine-length winning margin on the line and taking six tenths of a second off the mark set by Dongbanui Gangja in the Owners’ Association Trophy in June 2009.
Behind Cheongdam Dokki, Tiz Plan and Shamrocker came home 2nd and 3rd in a repeat of the Herald Business trifecta. Buhwarui Banseok ran 4th.
The final leg of the Stayer Series is the G2 Busan Mayor’s Cup which is currently scheduled for August 16th at the slightly shorter distance of 1800M. All being well, Cheongdam Dokki would then likely be pointed to the Korea Cup on September 13th, the KRA Cup Classic on October 11th and then conclude his year taking another crack at a race that so far eludes him, the Grand Prix Stakes.
A six-year-old American-bred gelding by To Honor And Serve and out of Elusive Gold (by Strike The Gold), Cheongdam Dokki has now won 15 of 29 career starts for prize money of just over KRW 2.8 Billion.