Korean Triple Crown 2013

Speedy First & Joe Fujii Complete Korean Derby/Oaks Double

Speedy First added a second Classic to her increasingly impressive record with a convincing win in the Korean Oaks at Busan Race Park this afternoon.

The Korean Derby winner was sent off as the heavy favourite for the fillies’ Classic and was close to the front from the outset. Joe Fujii made his move as the field turned for home and while Speedy First needed a little help finding top gear in the home straight, once she got into her stride, the result was never in doubt.

Miracle Wonder, who made the early-running held on for second while 120/1 outsider Lady Medal snatched third from the tiring Cheonnyeon Dongan who was, in fourth, the best placed finisher from Seoul.

Speedy First (KRA)

Speedy First (KRA)

Before today, Speedy First’s only racetrack appearance since winning the Derby had ended after just a few seconds when Fujii was unseated before the first turn of the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Cup.

The filly then treated herself to a solo run around the track. She returned none the worse for wear but was kept off the track until today.

For trainer Kim Young Kwan, it is yet another top class winner. With Speedy First, he has managed the Derby/Oaks double that eluded his other great filly, Sangseung Ilro, who captured the Derby but lost the Oaks by a neck.

Ladies Man: It's Joe Fujii's 4th major win on a filly in Korea

Ladies Man: It’s Joe Fujii’s 4th major win on a filly in Korea

Jockey Joe Fujii continues his remarkable time in Korea. He has now won the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the Grand Prix Stakes, the Korean Derby and the Korean Oaks. The 29 year-old Japan native with a broad Australian accent will surely go down as the most successful foreign jockey to ride in Korea to date.

Although Japanese, he has never been licensed in his home country and is now in the process of applying to the JRA.

Today wasn’t one of Fujii’s most difficult rides but anyone who has watched him over the past 15 months knows that he can compete with the best anywhere.

Speedy First has now won 6 of her 8 starts and will be a serious contender when the top three-year olds reconvene at Seoul for the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Korean Oaks (KOR GII) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – August 25, 2013

1. Speedy First (KOR) [Menifee – Speedy Deedy (Victory Gallop)] – Kanichiro Fujii – 1.3, 1.1
2. Miracle Wonder (KOR) [Menifee – Jeongbowang (Concept Win)] – Jo Sung Gon – 1.7
3. Lady Medal (KOR) [Volponi – Lady Ell (Flying Spur)] – Seol Dong Bok – 9.2

Distances: 7 lengths/0.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Cheonnyeon Dongan 5. Sand Quick 6. Winning Streak 7. Miss Quick 8. Hurricane Jump 9. Wind Leto 10. Raon Bally 11. Yuseong Hero DQ: Mery Shine DQ: Land Angel DNS: Dewma

Next week the main action is at Seoul where history will be made as foreign-trained horses run in Korea for the very first time. The SBS ESPN Korea/Japan Goodwill Cup is next Sunday.

Korean Oaks 2013 Full Race Preview: Derby Winner Speedy First Heads Field

Korean Derby winner Speedy First heads a field of fourteen in the Korean Oaks at Busan Race Park this Sunday.

Oaks Favourite: Derby winner Speedy First

Oaks Favourite: Derby winner Speedy First

She will be looking to go one better than the last filly to win the Derby, Sangseung Ilro, who was just beaten on the line as she attempted to complete the double in 2009.

Four fillies will travel down from Seoul and despite the absence of Joy Lucky, the track’s best performing filly, it looks like there are two credible challengers among them in the shape of Cheonnyeon Dongan and Dewma.

Joe Fujii gets the ride on Speedy First while Darryll Holland will be on the dark-horse of the field Raon Bally. If Fujii wins the race, even though he hasn’t matched Toshio Uchida’s total number of race wins, he will surely go down as the most successful foreign jockey in Korea ever.

The Korean Oaks is race 2 of a 6-race “twilight card” at Busan.

Here’s a full list of runners and riders with pedigrees and race records (Starts/1/st/2nd/3rd):

Korean Oaks (KOR GII) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Aug 28, 2013 – 17:35

1. Yuseung Hero (KOR) [Vicar – Angel Party (Elusive Quality)] (9/1/3/2) – Lee Hee Cheon
Landed her only win to date over 1500 metres last time out although the company was nothing special and there’s little suggest she’ll find the necessary improvement here.

2. Miss Quick (KOR) [Menifee – Regal Heir (Regal Intention)] (12/4/1/0) – Kim Dong Young
She has two 4th places over this distance at Class 2 level which suggests that she is talented but that despite her name, she tends to always find a couple quicker than her. That will probably be the same here although she has a faster time over the distance than Speedy First.

3. Wind Leto (KOR) [Vicar – Kongnoja (Mr. Adorable)] (7/3/0/1) – Song Keong Yun
A Class 3 winner last time out and has never finished worse than 4th. Distance is a concern but she’s by no means alone in that regard.

4. Sand Quick (KOR) [Ft.Stockton – Ascend The Throne (SIlver Charm)] (7/4/1/0) – Lim Sung Sil
Impressive record but her wins have come at 6 furlongs and she found things tough over a mile last time out.

5. Raon Bally (KOR) [Pico Central – Thunder By Night (Thunder Gulch)] (4/2/1/0) – Darryll Holland
Very much a dark horse here, Raon Bally hasn’t run for 6 months and only race-trialed to qualify here last weekend. Before her lay-off, she was tipped to be quite a talent and with Darryll Holland on board, could be very interesting.

6. Hurricane Jump (KOR) [Commendable – Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] (7/3/1/0) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
Was well beaten by fellow Seoul entrants Dewma and Cheonnyeon Dongan in the Sports Seoul Cup over the same distance and despite bouncing back with a win on her return, will have to improve a lot more to overcome that form. She is a half-sister to 2011 Oaks winner Useung Touch.

7. Meru Shine (KOR) [Perfect Vision II – Telequential (Kuetch)] (12/0/2/0) – Lee Ah Na (Seoul)
Took her eleven races to graduate from class 6. She’s not stopping anything else from running so there’s no problem with her being here, but she’ll not be in contention.

8. Speedy First (KOR) [Menifee – Speedy Deedy (Victory Gallop)] – (7/5/0/1) – Kanichiro Fujii
The Korean Derby winner and the obvious favourite. In her only appearance since the Derby, she was interfered with just after the start and unseated her jockey. There will be many who believe that’s the only way she’ll lose here. However, they said the same about Sangseung Ilro, who was pipped on the line in 2009. Nevertheless, a worthy favourite and very hard to beat.

9. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennesey)] (8/4/2/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
One of few fillies in the race with a proven record over 1800 metres. Cho Kyoung Ho coming down to ride her is a big point in her favour too as Cho is not the kind of man to travel to Busan for the nightlife. A contender.

10. Lady Medal (KOR) [Volponi – Lady Ell (Flying Spur)] (14/2/0/1) – Seol Dong Bok
An unexpected entrant and an outsider having only managed 3rd place at class 4 last time. Hasn’t impressed when asked to go around two turns

11. Miracle Wonder (KOR) [Menifee – Jeongbowang (Concept Win)] (8/4/2/0) – Jo Sung Gon
No ride of Jo Sung Gon’s in a big Stakes race can ever be discounted and this one is no exception. She was a well-beaten 5th behind the very promising colt Magic Dancer last time, but has every chance of competing for at least a place here.

12. Winning Streak (KOR) [Menifee – Black Shadow (Psychobabble)] (9/2/0/2) – Chae Gyu Jun
Her name might be Winning Steak but she’s certainly not on one as she’s not won since March. She won’t win this either.

13. Land Angel (KOR) [Forest Camp – Sheer Abandon (Peintre Celebre)] (9/2/1/2) – You Hyun Myung
Has a win over 1500 metres but that was at class 4 and she’s shown little to suggest that she will be able to compete with some her of her rivals here.

14. Dewma (KOR) [Forest Camp – Wild Cat Strike (Wild Again (8/3/3/1) – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Seoul)
A chance. Second only to Joy Lucky in her last three starts (a filly who would have rivalled Speedy First for favourite had she been entered here) albeit by substantial margins. Korea’s first female trainer Lee Shin Young has a fighting chance of saddling an Oaks winner.

Joy Lucky Wins Seoul Oaks Trial

Joy Lucky put herself among the leading contenders for the Korean Oaks with a commanding win in the Sports Seoul Cup at Seoul Race Park this afternoon.

The promising filly was sent off as second favourite for what is Seoul’s premier Oaks trial race and having taken an early lead. she was never troubled as she stretched away for a 9-length victory.

Favourite Dewma straggled home in 2nd place with Cheonnyeon Dongan in 3rd. However, the race was all about Joy Lucky whose only defeat to date was in the Korean Derby last month. Of course, the Derby winner, Speedy First is a filly and so long as she stays sound, is likely to be prohibitive favourite for the Oaks, which will be run at her home track of Busan in August. Joy Lucky will need to show even more improvement to overturn the Derby result.

It was a first Stakes win for young jockey Seo Seung Un. Seo, who debuted in 2011 has quickly established himself as among the top riders at Seoul with 84 winners plus a succesful stint in the United States to his name already. It won’t be the last time we see him in a big race winner’s circle

Sports Seoul Oaks Trial – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – June 23, 2013

1. Joy Lucky (KOR) [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] – Seo Seung Un – 3.1, 1.3
2. Dewma (KOR) [Forest Camp – Wild Cat Strike (Wild Again)] – Moon Se Young – 1.2
3. Cheonnyeon Dongan (KOR) [Ecton Park – Honeycakes (Hennesey)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – 2.4

Distances: 9 lengths/1.25
Also ran: 4. Jumbo Speed 5. Storm Music 6. All With Me 7. Hurricane Jump 8. Dashing Diva NR: Smarty Road

* Seo Seung Un is the man this year’s new jockeys will be looking to emulate and Lee Chan Ho today became the first of their number to ride a winner. Lee, who debuted last week, guided filly Last Love (Volponi) to victory in race 6.

It was another good day for the Japanese contingent. Ikuyasu Kurakane rode another double with victories in races 1 and 5 while Yukio Abe was also among the winners. Down at Busan, Joe Fujii also scored his now regulation winner.

Next week it is Seoul vs Busan in a new race on the calendar, the Jeju Governor’s Cup. A big prize is on offer as Seoul’s top horse Jigeum I Sungan (Ingrandire) faces a formidable foursome from Busan that at this stage comprises Stakes winners Useung Touch, Yeongdusong, Gyeongbudaero and prolific winner Road To Prince.

Joe Fujii Wins The Korean Derby On Filly Speedy First

Speedy First romped away with the Korean Derby this afternoon, ending the Triple Crown hopes of pre-race favourite and KRA Cup Mile winner Sting Ray and became the first filly since Sangseung Ilro in 2009 to win the biggest race of all. Her jockey, Joe Fujii became the first foreign rider to win the Derby

Speedy First and Joe Fujii in the Korean Derby Winner's Circle

Speedy First and Joe Fujii in the Korean Derby Winner’s Circle

Speedy First (Menifee) came in to the race off 4 consecutive wins and was sent off the 4/1 second favourite behind Sting Ray (Forest Camp), who punters had backed into odds-on.

Outsiders Heungnyong Bisang (Ft.Stockton) and Titan (Creek Cat) made the early pace but the pack was bunched tightly together as they entered the final corner. Turning into the home straight they fanned out across the track but it still looked anyone’s race until Joe Fujii got to work on Speedy First a furlong and a half out. The pair sped away from the rest and never looked back.

The margin of victory on the line was 2 lengths with 47/1 chance Unhae (Ingrandire) finishing 2nd and Major King (Pico Central) 3rd. Sting Ray never looked likely to add the second jewel in the Triple Crown to the first and trailed home 6th.

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley’s Amell’s Atom (Menifee) picked up some prize money by finishing 5th, however, there was disappointment for British jockey Darryll Holland who ended in 12th place on Fantastic Jazz (Menifee). Lee Shin Young, the first female trainer to have a runner in the Derby, saw both her entrants struggle with Titan in 13th and Awesome Tiger (Exploit) disqualified.

Speedy First goes clear

Speedy First goes clear



For jockey Joe Fujii
, it was the 60th winner of what has been a quite remarkable 11 months in Korea. The 29-year old won the Grand Prix Stakes on another filly, Gamdonguibada, last December becoming the first foreign jockey to do so and today he completed a unique double by achieving the distinction of being the first foreigner to win the Derby. He has now won 2 out Korea’s 3 richest races.

Fujii’s license was recently extended until September and his reputation among punters is such that he is well on the way to taking on Toshio Uchida’s title of the most popular Japanese man in Korea.

Speedy First’s win also firmly cemented Busan trainer Kim Young Kwan as the nation’s best. This was his 2nd Derby, following Sangseung Ilro’s 2009 triumph. In more general terms, Busan horses once again got the better of their Seoul counterparts in a big race.

Before the Derby, punters were treated to the charms of Sistar. currently K-Pop's top girl group (Pic: @SeoulBhoy)

Before the Derby, punters were treated to the charms of Sistar. currently K-Pop’s top girl group (Pic: @zstokes)

So just a few hours after a Triple Crown hope went down in the US in the shape of Orb, so Sting Ray’s hopes of emulating J.S.Hold in Korea have gone. Never mind, today we saw a new star emerge on to the scene.

Speedy First will automatically become favourite for the Korean Oaks, which will be held at Busan in August and then if all goes well, we should see her back at Seoul in October when the cream of this year’s generation reconvene for the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown. There is a lot to look forward to.

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 19, 2013

1. Speedy First (KOR) [Menifee – Speedy Deedy (Victory Gallop)] – Kanichiro (Joe) Fujii – 5.1, 1.7
2. Unhae (KOR) [Ingrandire – Silver Meteor (Creator)] – Lee Sang Hyeok – 6.5
3. Major King (KOR) [Pico Central – Still Golden (Gold Fever)]

Distances: 2 lengths/175 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Brig 5. Amell’s Atom 6. Sting Ray 7. Last Mudae 8. High Five 9. Joy Lucky 10. K Tap 11. Suseong BR 12. Fantastic Jazz 13. Titan 14. Yapung 15 Heungnyong Bisang DQ: Awesome Tiger

Korean Derby 2013: The Runners And Riders

It’s a massive weekend of racing at Seoul. The JRA Trophy gets things underway on Saturday afternoon and then on Sunday, it’s the big one.

Sting Ray and Kim Dong Young win the KRA Cup Mile - They are the Derby faovurites (KRA)

Sting Ray and Kim Dong Young win the KRA Cup Mile – They are the Derby faovurites (KRA)

A full field of 16 will line up for the Korean Derby. They are headed by KRA Cup Mile winner Sting Ray, who travels up to the capital looking to win the second-leg of the 2013 Triple Crown.

Three foreign jockeys have rides. Yukio Abe doesn’t look to have much chance on Last Mudae but Joe Fujii on Speedy First and Darryll Holland on Fantastic Jazz both look to have claims. Meanwhile, Australian trainer Peter Wolsley seeks to win his first Korean Classic race with Amell’s Atom.

With more wins behind them as a group than any previous Korean Derby, it is set to be a very interesting race. K-Pop girl group Sistar will be on hand to provide pre-race entertainment.

Saturday May 18
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including the JRA Trophy at 16:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:20

Sunday May 19
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 18:00 including the Korean Derby at 16:35
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:05

Here’s the full list of runners and riders with pedigrees, race records and trainer:

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 19, 2013 – 16:35

1. Awesome Tiger [Exploit – Variety Lady (Variety Road)] (7/4/1/0) Lee Shin Young – Cho Kyoung Ho
Promising colt who won at class 3 over the distance last time out although will need to find more improvement still here. One of a pair of runners giving Korea’s first female trainer Lee Shin Young her first Derby entrants.

2. Joy Lucky [Vicar – Proper Gun (Prosper Fager)] (3/3/0/0) – Park Yoon Gyu – Seo Seung Un
Only debuting in February, there is still something of an unknown quantity about her, however, everything she’s been asked to do she has done very well including a win over the distance at class 4 last start.

3. Sting Ray [Forest Camp – Straight Cash (Straight Man)] (9/4/4/1) – Kim Jae Sub – Kim Dong Young
The KRA Cup Mile winner and therefore the likely favourite especially as the increased distance will also be in his favour – he’s already won over 1900 metres. If he runs anything like his best, he will be very difficult to beat.

4. Yapung [Menifee – Wild Life (Wild Again)] (10/3/2/1) – Kim Sang Suk – Chae Gyu Jun
Last year’s champion Juvenile has shown little this term. He was heavily beaten in the Cup Mile and there is little to recommend him here.

5. Suseong BR [Volponi – Storm Cat’s Kitten (Irish River)] (8/3/2/1) – Park Jong Kon – Shin Hyoung Chul
A well-beaten 3rd behind Brig last time out and it’s hard to suggest backing him to reverse that. Has consistently placed but in weaker company.

6. Heungnyong Bisang [Ft.Stockton – Miss Alwahush (Alwahush)] (11/4/1/1) – Kim Jeom Oh – Jo In Kwen
Over the winter he was one of the Derby favourites but while he began the year with a class 4 win over the distance, he form has dipped culminating in a poor run in the Cup Mile. Will need a lot of improvement if he is to compete here.

7. Brig [Menifee – Delicias (Deputy Minister)] (8/5/1/0) An Byung Ki – Moon Se Young
The mount of last year’s winning jockey Moon Se Young skipped the Cup Mile and comes into the race with back to back class 3 wins over the distance to his name. He won’t be favourite but he has a chance.

8. Unhae [Ingrandire – Silver Meteor (Creator)] (7/3/1/2) Park Byoung Il – Lee Sang Hyeok
Another who comes into the race after consecutive wins at 1800 metres albeit at a slightly lower lever. A place may be the most realistic hope.

9. High Five [Creek Cat – Nams Gulch (Gulch) (10/4/1/1) Oh Moon Sik – Choi Si Dae
Has won at Busan over 1800 metres in a fast time. Stepped up to class 2 last time and was finished a creditable, if uninspring, 3rd. Not one of the favourites but could cause some problems.

10. Titan [Creek Cat – Shar Baby (Talinum)] (8/3/3/2) Lee Shin Young – Ham Wan Sik
One of few in the field to have made it up to class 2, Lee Shin Young’s second runner is a half-brother of last year’s Derby runner-up Nobel Pokpung. He hasn’t actually won at higher than class 4. Always there or thereabouts, he usually finds one or two just a little bit quicker and that will probably be the case here too.

11. K Tap [Menifee – Summit Party (Ecton Park)] (6/4/1/1) Bae Sae Sun – Park Tae Jong
Like favourite Sting Ray, K Tap’s dam also won the JRA Trophy. K Tap himself hasn’t yet run as a 3-year old, his last appearance being his 2nd place in the Breeders’ Cup last November. Prior to the he won the Gwacheon Mayor’s Stakes. He was very talented as a 2-year-old but it is difficult to back him after such a long lay-off when there are so many capable opponents.

12. Major King [Pico Central – Still Golden (Gold Fever)] (6/4/1/1) Kim Sang Suk – You Hyun Myung
He was 3rd over the distance in a class 2 race last time ending a run of 4 consecutive wins. A real talent, he has a strong chance to give his sire Pico Central a Derby win in the year of his untimely death.

13. Speedy First [Menifee – Speedy Deedy (Victory Gallop)] (5/4/0/1) Kim Young Kwan – Kanichiro Fujii
Cracking little filly who has won her last 4 starts. Untested at distances greater than 1500 metres, the Oaks in August may be a more realistic target, however, while a win may be asking too much, she shouldn’t be discounted.

14. Last Mudae [The Groom Is Red – White Aloa (White Muzzle)] (13/1/4/1) Ji Yong Cheol – Yukio Abe
Still at class 4 after 13 starts, there seems little to suggest that he is going to rectify that here.

15. Amell’s Atom [Menifee – Amell (Boston Harbor)] (10/4/3/0) Peter Wolsley – Jo Sung Gon
4th in the KRA Cup Mile, he dead-heated for victory in his last start. A talented horse, he has an outside chance of giving Aussie Peter Wolsley his first Derby winner. Champion jockey Jo Sung Gon gives up a weekend of rides at Busan to partner him, which is a good sign.

16. Fantastic Jazz [Menifee – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] (7/4/0/3) Kim Young Kwan – Darryll Holland
3rd in the KRA Cup Mile, the half-brother of 2008 Korean Derby winner Ebony Storm has since been moved from Peter Wolsley’s stable to that of Kim Young Kwan. Hasn’t won at further than 1300 metres but looks to have a lot more to give. Darryll Holland, who was second on Raon Boss in the KRA Cup Mile, gets his 1st Korean Derby ride.

The Korean Derby: All The Winners So Far

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.

Jigeum I Sungan was the 2012 Korean Derby winner (KRA)

Jigeum I Sungan was the 2012 Korean Derby winner (KRA)

The establishment of a domestic thoroughbred breeding industry and the introduction of the private ownership of race-horses – and therefore prize money – changed all of that. The late 1980’s and early 1990s saw the creation of big Stakes races and, with the breeding industry reaching some maturity, finally in 1998, the Derby was run for the first time. In 2007, the Korean Triple Crown Series was 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, as the first set of foals sent to Busan after the track’s opening in 2005 reached maturity, the KRA Cup Mile at the Southern track was re-designated as the “Korean Guineas” and replaced the Ttukseom Cup as the first jewel in the crown. The filly Sangseung Ilro won the first two legs in 2009 and Jigeum I Sungan won the Derby and Minister’s Cup last year, but no horse has yet won all three under the new set-up.

In the fifteen editions of the Derby 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 five times and in KRA Cup Mile winner Sting Ray, have the favourite for this year’s edition.

Here are all the winners with pedigree and jockey:

2012: Jigeum I Sungan [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – A horse who as just got better and better since winning the Derby at generous odds a year ago. He went on to win the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Trip Crown in October before coming back as a 4-year old to win the Owners’ Cup last month.

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.

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 an 8-year old, specialising in distances of up to a mile and his half-brother Fantastic Jazz is among this year’s hopefuls.

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 passed away of cancer in 2012.

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.

* This post is a slightly updated version of the one posted in corresponding Derby build-ups over the past couple of years.

Sting Ray Saunters to Victory in KRA Cup Mile

Sting Ray, the odds-on favourite, swept to a convincing victory in the KRA Cup Mile at Busan Race Park this afternoon.

Sting Ray and Kim Dong Young win the KRA Cup Mile

Sting Ray and Kim Dong Young win the KRA Cup Mile

The race, known informally as the Korean 2000 Guineas, was the first leg of the 2013 Korean Triple Crown.

Sting Ray (Forest Camp), who came into the race off the back of 2 consecutive impressive wins was always travelling well under Kim Dong Young as Harley (Menifee) set the early pace. As they entered the home straight and spread across the track, Sting Ray hit the front and never looked like being caught as he stretched away for a 4-length win.

Raon Boss (Pico Central) showed that his last outing, where he finished 13 of 14 was an aberration by finishing a strong second, giving British jockey Darryll Holland a great result in his first Korean Classic race.

The Peter Wolsley trained Fantastic Jazz (Menifee) was a close 3rd. Wolsley’s other-runner, the slightly better fancied Amell’s Atom (Menifee) finished 4th.

Sting Ray is a half-brother of 2012 Korean Oaks winner Rising Glory, through their dam Straight Cash. Straight Cash herself was a top class filly who ran in Korea and won the 2005 JRA Trophy race. With 2 Classic winners, she has already established herself as among the top broodmares too.

The result was another disappointment for Seoul based trainers as Busan-trained horses dominated the placings. Rapide Bullet (Revere), back in 5th, was the best placed finisher from the capital. It’s difficult to see how this is going to be reversed when the country’s top three-year olds reconvene in Seoul on May 19th for the Korean Derby.

Sting Ray has already won at 1900 metres – further than the Derby distance and looks like he’s only going to get better.

KRA Cup Mile (KOR GII) – Busan Race Park – 1600M – April 7, 2013

1. Sting Ray (KOR) [Forest Camp – Straight Cash (Straight Man)] – Kim Dong Young
2. Raon Boss (KOR) [Pico Central – Ivy’s Jewel Stone (Forestry)] – Darryll Holland
3. Fantastic Jazz (KOR) [Menifee – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] – Park Geum Man

Distances: 4 lengths/1.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Amell’s Atom 5. Rapide Bullet 6. Rising joy 7. like The Sun 8. Last Mudae 9. Yapung 10. Heungnyeong Bisang 11. Cheonneyon Dongan 12. Global Gangja 13. Harley 14. Ruby Canter.
Scratched: Pureun Energy, Energy Cell

Race video to follow.