Korean Triple Crown 2012

Weekend Preview: The Korean Derby – Runners And Riders

Full Field Of Fourteen For Classic / JRA Trophy Heads Supporting Card

It’s the big one! The 15th Korean Derby is at Seoul Race Park this Sunday when Gyeongbudaero will seek to claim the second jewel in the 2012 Triple Crown following his victory in last month’s KRA Cup Mile. It won’t be easy. Good Time, Viva Cat and Cheoneun are among several with solid claims in what looks a competitive race. See below for a full run-down of the field.

Gyeongbudaero, seen here winning the KRA Cup Mile, heads the Korean Derby field (Pic:KRA)

It’s a big weekend of racing. It’s become a tradition that the feature race on the Saturday before the Derby is the JRA Trophy and this year is no exception as US import Grand Niner puts his unbeaten record on the line. Meanwhile at Busan, another unbeaten import Smoking Gun, headlines Sunday’s feature race. Other than that though, on what is set to be a beautiful weekend, it’s all about the Derby.

Here’s what’s happening when and where and then scroll down a little further for the Derby field:

Friday May 18

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30

Saturday May 19

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including the JRA Trophy at 16:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10 including the Jeju Owners’ Association Trophy at 14:45

Sunday May 20

Seoul Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including The Korean Derby at 16:15
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:15 to 16:45

The Derby brings together nine fillies and five colts. Eight are from Seoul while six have travelled up from Busan. Here is a full list of the runners and riders, with pedigrees and race records:

The Korean Derby (KOR.G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 20, 2012 – 16:15

1. Dream Tower (KOR) [Forest Camp-Hurricane Warning (Thunder Gulch (9/4/2/1) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
The most expensive horse of his generation at the two-year old sales last year, he was second to Gyeongbudaero in the KRA Cup Mile after leading for most of the way. In with a chance but will need to improve if he is going to reverse that result.

2. Good Time (KOR) [Yehudi-A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (9/3/3/0) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
Champion Juvenile of 2011, he was favourite going into the Cup Mile but was a disappointing fifth. He should like the step up in distance though having beaten Gyeongbudaero oer 1800M in March. Will hae plenty of supporters.

3. Grand Teukgeup (KOR) [Menifee-Saratoga Campaign (Mt.Livermore)] Filly (8/5/1/0) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
The filly skipped the Cup Mile and, while she’ll be more fancied for the Oaks, she could be an outside bet here. The distance will be no problem and she won smartly over a mile last time out. That Jo Sung Gon comes to Seoul to ride her is also strongly in her favour – Jo stays home unless he thinks he’s going to win.

4. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee-Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] (9/5/2/0) – Choi Si Dae (Busan)
After his impressive KRA Cup Mile win he has to be favourite, but he is vulnerable as he disappointed on his only previous outing at 1800M. He’s improved since then though and if he’s on form, he’ll be very difficult to beat.

5. Cheoneun (KOR) [Forest Camp-Naha (Silver Buck)] Filly (10/6/1/0) – Lee Dong Kug (Seoul)
She’s been frustrating this year. Dreadful in the Cup Mile but then very impressive when winning a class 2 race at Seoul at the end of last month. Indeed, KRA Cup Mile apart, she is the only runner to have won at such a level so far. The distance is perfect for her, but which Cheoneun will show up?

6. Powerful Miss G (KOR) [Revere-Miss Geology (Jade Hunter)] Filly (7/1/3/1) – Kim Young Jin
A late entry and little to recommend her. Out of her depth here.

7. Pico Bout It (KOR) [Pico Central-Bee Quick About It (Rizzi)] (7/2/3/1) – Ji Ha Ju (Seoul)
A colt that has slipped in under the radar this year. He was a solid second over 1700 metres last time out although the horse who beat him, Cheonseung, is hardly a world-beater. His time was quick that day but he’ll need to find more to be competitive here.

8. Mega Tsunami (KOR) [Cielo Gold-Asia II (Sky Classic)] (10/1/4/3) – Shin Hyoung Chul (Seoul)
Another outsider, he knows how to be involved in the business-end of races although this is likely to be too tough an ask.

9. Jjak Kkung (KOR) [Forest Camp-Fab Four (Yes It’s True)] Filly (6/3/0/3) – Lee Sang Hyeok (Seoul)
An encouraging third in her first attempt around two-turns last time out but in much weaker company. One for the Oaks.

10. Viva Cat (KOR) [Creek Cat-Babaria (Engagement)] (7/5/0/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
Fourth in the Cup Mile after two very impressive wins at Seoul. Back on his home track, he should be able to give Gyeongbudaero plenty to think about and under Cho Kyoung Ho, he’s a genuine contender.

11. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire-Solmaru (Mujaazif)] (10/3/4/1) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
A horse who has been getting better with every run, he was fifth in the Cup Mile. Could offer some value and he should go close. Certainly has the best name in the race.

12. Pillip (KOR) [Pico Central-Dancing Dot (Durgam)] (9/3/2/2) – Yukio Abe (Busan)
Surprise second place oer the distance at class 2 last time out saw him get his passage here. Yukio Abe rode him that day and accompanies him to Seoul. An outsider to keep an eye on.

13. Nobel Pokpung (KOR) [Didyme-Shar Baby (Talinum)] (8/3/2/1) – Narazaki Kosuke (Busan)
Second to Geumdda over a mile last time out and has won over this distance. He’ll benefit from having Narazaki Kosuke in the saddle.

14. Dolpung Jilju (KOR) [Didyme-Alder Gulch (Gulch)] Filly (9/3/1/1) – Kim Hae Sun (Seoul)
Won the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup last autumn but hasn’t trained on well this year. Eleventh in the Cup Mile and it would be a surprise if she was to be able to compete here. Jockey Kim Hae Sun will become the first female rider to contest the Korean Derby.

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Korean Derby D-4: All The Winners So Far

Gyeongbudaero Bidding To Become 15th Winner Of Korea Classic

The Korean Derby, which will be run at Seoul Race Park this coming Sunday is a relatively recent addition to the Korean racing year. Except for an enforced stoppage during the Korean War, racing has been running on the peninsula continuously since the 1920’s but while those early years saw horses racing each other, it wasn’t exactly the kind of horseracing we’re familiar with today. Many horses weren’t even thoroughbred and there was little point in having a Derby for three-year olds.

Gwangyajeil in the Korean Derby Winner’s Circle. His owner and breeder, the late Im Sang Yun (left) also bred Triple Crown winner J.S.Hold

The establishment of a domestic thoroughbred breeding industry and the introduction of the private ownership of race-horses – and therefore prize money – led to the creation of big Stakes races in the late 1980’s and early 1990s, Finally in 1998, the Derby was run for the first time. In 2007, the Korean Triple Crown Series with inaugurated with the Ttukseom Cup, Derby and Minister’s Cup making up the three Classic races. Indeed, in that first year, J.S. Hold took the lot. The following year, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan replaced the Ttukseom Cup as the first jewel in the crown and, while Sangseung Ilro won the first two legs in 2009, no horse has since swept all three.

In the fourteen editions run so far, nine colts and five fillies have taken the prize which for its first three years was run over just seven furlongs before moving up to its current nine in 2001. When the first crop of foals to be sent to race exclusively at Busan reached three-years of age in 2008, the Derby – and other major Stakes races – became open to horses from both Seoul and Busan. Since then, raiders from the South have won three out of four times and in Gyeongbudaero, have the favourite for this year’s edition.

Here are all the winners with pedigree and jockey:

2011: Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – He skipped the KRA Cup Mile and went straight to the Derby. It paid off as he was an easy winner. Injury meant he only ran twice more and was retired to Stud at the end of his three-year old season. Bred by the late Im Sang Yun, who also bred J.S. Hold.

2010: Cheonnyeon Daero [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – Park Geum Man – Money Car, winner of the KRA Cup Mile was sent off the favourite but got sucked into a speed duel with the sprinter Seonbongbulpae in the early stages. Still, the favourite had a considerable lead entering the final furlong. He was spent though, and Cheonnyeon Daero, a 30/1 shot, chased him down and caught him on the line. Money Car was never the same again and only ran once more. Cheonnyeon Daero went on to finish second in the Minister’s Cup – the final leg of the Triple Crown. A horse with a bad case of seond-itis – he finished 2nd 14 times during his career, he was retired in early 2012 and will go to Stud.

2009: Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Jo Sung Gon
– The filly, a shock winner of the KRA Cup Mile a month earlier made it two in a row for Busan. She couldn’t maintain her form over the whole year, however, and went down to a shock defeat in the Oaks in August before returning for a creditable third in the Minister’s Cup, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown in October. Went on to win two more Stakes races as a four-year old before being retired from racing in January 2011 for broodmare duties. She has been bred to Menifee.

2008: Ebony Storm [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] – Shim Seung Tae – Two years ago was the first time that Busan’s best three-year olds were invited up to Seoul to contest the Derby and it was one of those visitors, Ebony Storm, the longest shot on the board, who took victory in a monsoon downpour. Ebony Storm is still running as a seven-year old, specialising in distances of up to a mile.

2007: J.S. Hold [Ft. Stockton – Hwangsangjiljoo (Passetreul)] – Moon Jung Kyun – Widely considered the best Korean bred horse ever. J.S. Hold landed the inaugural Triple Crown injuring himself in the final race and not returning to the track. He retired with nine wins from ten starts and is now at Stud.

2006: Baengnokjeong [Slew O’Green – Lesu Run (Proper Reality)] – Hwang Soon Do – The rank outsider at over 80-1 on Derby day, Baengnokjeong was at the time, the longest priced horse to win the Derby.

2005: Saebyeok Dongja [Fiercely – Cheongpa (The Rodgers Four)] – Chun Chang Ki – Raced on at the top-level for three more years. His jockey, Chun Chang Ki became a trainer and sadly lost his fight against cancer earlier this month.

2004: Mupae Gangja [Didyme – A Heun A Hop Kan (Kinsky)] – Kim Hyo Seob – One of the top colts of this decade, Mupae Gangja won ten of his sixteen races including the Chairman’s Trophy and Minister’s Cup along with the Derby in 2004.

2003: Habidongju [Silent Warrior – Kahwa (Zoffany)] – Park Tae Jong – The last filly to win until Sangseung Ilro in 2009.

2002: Haeam Janggun [Didyme – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Lim Dae Gyu – Ronde foaled her second Derby winner in as many years with this filly who won eight of her fourteen races and gave the late Lim Dae Gyu a Derby victory.

2001: Haetpit Maeul [Mujaazif – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Ji Ha Ju – Starting a run of three consecutive years of filly triumphs was Haetpit Maeul. Now a broodmare with some success.

2000: Haekdol’pung [Lost Mountain – Swift Diplomacy (Nice Pirate)] – Park Tae Jong – Korea’s most successful ever jockey got his second straight Derby win on the favourite. It was tight though, with Haekdol’pung getting the verdict in a three-way photograph. Sire Lost Mountain died in 2009.

1999: Manseokkkeun [Fiercely – Komplication (Kris. S)] – Park Tae Jong – Yes, he really did have three consecutive ‘k’s in his name. Park Tae Jong got the first of his three Derby winners on the colt whose sire, Fiercely, died in 2009.

1998: Useung Yegam [Happy Jazz Band – Man Jang Dae()] – Song Seok Hen – Nine of the 14 runners in the first Derby were fillies and the favourite Useung Yegam, whose dam wasn’t even in the studbook, took the honours by a length.

* For more videos see Fallight’s YouTube page. This post is a slightly updated version of the one posted in corresponding Derby build-ups over the past couple of years.

Gyeongbudaero Wins KRA Cup Mile – Seizes First Jewel Of 2012 K-Triple Crown

If there is to be a winner of 2012 Korean Triple Crown, then his name will be Gyeongbudaero. At Busan Race Park this afternoon, the colt went from last to first in the home straight to secure the KRA Cup Mile, the first Jewel, in commanding fashion.

Perhaps fittingly, Gyeongbudaero [Menifee-Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] is named after the road that connects the Korean capital Seoul, with the second city of Busan. Since the opening of the Busan track in 2005, there has been a marked shift in power in Korean racing with horses based in Busan dominating the three-year old Classics.

So it was today. Last year’s Champion Juvenile Good Time (Yehudi) was sent off as the favourite but it was Dream Tower (Forest Camp), the most expensive horse of his generation who set the early pace. Park Geum Man was happy to keep Gyeongbudaero right at the back of the field and there they stayed until turning into the home straight.

Classic Winner: Gyeongbudaero

The anticipated challenge of Good Time never materialised and instead it was an outsider, Baekho Janggun (Pico Central) under Japanese jockey Narazaki Kosuke who was the first to challenge Dream Tower. However, once Park had finally made room for himself, there would be no stopping Gyeongbudaero who flew down the outside to win by three lengths pulling away.

Dream Tower held on for second while a very game Baekho Janggun got third just ahead of the Seoul pair of Viva Cat (Creek Cat) and Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire).

Gyeongbudaero marks another big race victory for the team who were behind the 2010 Korean Derby winner, the similarly named Cheonnyeon Daero. Owner Jung Kwang Hwa, trainer Oh Moon Sik and jockey Park Geum Man will now be favourites to go up to Seoul in May and with Gyeongbudaero, repeat their success.

KRA Cup Mile (K.G2) – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Sunday April 8, 2012

1. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee-Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] – Park Geum Man – 3.8, 1.8
2. Dream Tower (KOR) [Forest Camp-Hurricane Warning (Thunder Gulch)] – Kim Yong Geun 2.2
3. Baekho Janggun (KOR) [Pico Central-Oaks Fever (Old Trieste)] – Narazaki Kosuke – 12.9

Distances: 3 lengths/Nose
Also Ran: 4. Viva Cat 5. Jigeum I Sungan 6. Predict 7. Good Time 8. Bongodong 9. Wonderful Namhae 10. Sing A 11. Dolpung Jilju 12. Himchan Jilju 13. Cheoneun 14. Myeongseo Hero

Gyeongbudaero has now won five of his nine races and on the strength of today’s showing, looks to have plenty more development in him. The last two Cup Mile winners, Money Car and Soseuldaemun saw their careers stalled by injury. Fingers crossed Gyeongbudaero can stay sound and go on to fulfil his wonderful potential.

It was a huge day of racing at Busan. Earlier in the afternoon, Narazaki Kosuke had scored a shock win in the JRA Kokura Trophy on outsider Jungwon Jepae (Al Maher) and then after the CUp Mile the stage was set for a showdown between two previously unbeaten American imports.

The MJC Trophy saw Smoking Gun and Pure Future put their winning streaks on the line and while Pure Future (Simon Pure) failed to live up to his billing, Smoking Gun (Hat Trick) made no mistake, despite having to come very wide around the field, scoring victory by just under 2 lengths to take his winning streak to 4:

MJC Trophy – Busan Race Park – 1400M – Sunday April 8, 2012

1. Smoking Gun (USA) [Hat Trick-Desdemona’s Dream (Announce)] – Kim Dong Young – 3.5, 1.5
2. Kidari Joe (USA) [Tiznow-Trickle Of Gold (Formal Gold)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.6
3. Japjima (USA) [Latent Heat-Imp’s Wild (Wild Gale)] – Narazaki Kosuke – 5.0

Distances: 1.5 lengths/1.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Alke The Man (USA) 5. Henry Higgins (USA) 6. Oreuse (USA) 7. Yeonseung Gangho (USA) 8. Former (USA) 9. Dandojikip (USA) 10. Pure Future (USA) 11. Allie’s Premo (USA)

KRA Cup Mile Runners And Riders

After months of preparation, finally it’s the big one.

Chae Gyu Jun & Good Time in the Breeders' Cup Winner's Circle

The first leg of the 2012 Korean Triple Crown will be run at Busan Race Park this Sunday.

The KRA Cup Mile, also known as the “Korean 2000 Guineas” will see four runners from Seoul travel down South to take on a ten strong home team.

One of them could be on the way to emulating J.S. Hold who in 2007, became the first and only horse to complete the Triple Crown. Champion Juvenile of 2011 Good Time leads the line for the home team while Viva Cat, with 5 wins from his 6 starts, heads the challenge from Seoul.

Here is a full list of the runners and riders with pedigrees, race records and jockey:

KRA Cup Classic (KOR.GII) – Busan Race Park – 1600M – Sunday April 8, 15:50

1. Good Time (KOR) [Yehudi-A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] C (8/3/3/0) – Chae Gyu Jun (Busan)
Champion Juvenile of last year and has made steady progress this year up to class 2 level, recording a very easy win over the distance in February.

2. Himchan Jilju (KOR) [Kwaedo Nanma-Wild Triple (Military)] C (8/4/0/1) – Jo Chang Wook (Busan)
Untried at the distance but was impressive last time out and should be in with a chance.

3. Wonderful Namhae (KOR) [Vicar-Make That Call (Glow)] C (6/4/0/0) – Akane Yamamoto (Busan)
Has won his last three in good fashion and with Akane on board, has to be a contender.

4. Gyeongbudaero (KOR) [Menifee-Princess Lanique (Cherokee Run)] C (8/4/2/0) – Park Geum Man (Busan)
Over the winter, he was set to be favourite but put in an indifferent performance last time out when he finished behind Good Time over 1800 metres. Could win easily or could finish last, it depends which Gyeongbudaero shows up.

5. Myeongseo Hero (KOR) [Pico Central-Regal Heir (Regal Intention)] C (7/2/3/0) – Song Keong Yun (Busan)
Was disappointing in his only outing over the distance and comes into the race off the back of two second place finishes over seven furlongs at class 3. He’ll need to show much more to challenge here.

6. Cheoneun (KOR) [Forest Camp-Naha (Silver Buck)] F (8/5/1/0) – Choi Bum Hyun (Seoul)
A poor run in the Breeders’ Cup last November and again over 1800 metres last month. Sandwiched between those two though were two very impressive wins and if she can bring that form to Busan, she can’t be discounted.

7. Jigeum I Sungan (KOR) [Ingrandire-Solmaru (Mujaazif)] C (9/3/4/1) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
A colt that has been getting better with every run. The longer Derby distance might suit him better but more improvement can’t be ruled out here and Moon Se Young would not travel South if he didn’t feel he had a shot at bringing home a big prize.

8. Dolpung Jilju (KOR) [Didyme-Alder Gulch (Gulch)] F (8/3/1/1) – Jun Duk Yong (Seoul)
Without a win since claiming the Gwacheon Mayor’s Stakes last October, she is a talented filly but it would be a surprise if her return to the Winner’s Circle came here.

9. Baekho Janggun (KOR) [Pico Central-Oaks Fever (Old Trieste)] C (9/1/2/2) – Narazaki Kosuke (Busan)
Second over the distance last time out but has done little to suggest that he will be one of the favourites here. Needs improvement.

10. Dream Tower (KOR) [Forest Camp-HUrricane Warning (Thunder Gulch)] C (8/4/1/1) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
The most expensive colt of his generation, Dream Tower was third in the Breeders’ Cup last year. Yet to go a mile, he was second over 1500 metres at class 2 in his last race and must be among the frontrunners here.

11. Viva Cat (KOR) [Creek Cat-Babaria (Engagement)] C (6/5/0/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
A fourth place in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup aside, this colt has done nothing wrong at all. Two smart wins at 1700 metres this year as well as Cho Kyoung Ho on board for the first time make him arguably the favourite. However, Seoul horses do not have a good record at Busan.

12. Bongodong (KOR) [Meisei Opera-Martie’s Prospect (Allen’s Prospect)] C (7/1/2/2) – You Hyun Myung
Undoubtedly the best named horse in the race (with the possible exception of the musically inspired Jigeum I Sungan), Bongodong would have to show form far beyond what he has demonstrated so far if he is to compete here.

13. Sing A (KOR) [Fortitude-Seollimwon (Wheaton)] F (9/2/3/2) – Kim Dong Young
A very nice filly who was second in the Breeders’ Cup behind Good Time and won over course and distance last month with Predict behind her. She’ll need to go quicker than she did that day to win here but she’s tough to oppose.

14. Predict (KOR) [The Groom Is Red-Muhanseungni (Big Sur)] C (7/3/2/0) – Jo Sung Gon (Busan)
Finished behind Good Time and Sing A in his last two starts, both of which were at this distance. Jo Sung Gin can never be ruled out in the big races but he’ll need to find improvement here.