Biwa Shinseiki

Japan-Raced Stallions Biwa Shinseiki & Eagle Cafe Have Died

Biwa Shinseiki, sire of three-time President’s Cup winner Dangdae Bulpae, has died aged 18. The Japanese-bred stallion was standing privately in Korea. Eagle Cafe, winner of the NHK Mile in 2000 and Japan Cup Dirt in 2002, also passed away on Jeju Island in September.

Dangdae Bulpae Jo SUng Gon

Biwa Shinseiki’s best was Dangdae Bulpae, seen here on one of his three visits to the President’s Cup winner’s circle

Bred by Hayata Farms, Biwa Shinseiki [Forty Niner – Oceana (Northern Dancer)] was a very good racehorse in Japan landing 10 wins, 7 places and 8 shows from a total of 33 starts in a career lasting from 2001 until 2004. Those wins included two big Stakes races as well as five consecutive victories between May and December in 2002.

That winning streak came to an end when he was 2nd in that year’s Tokyo Daishoten at Ohi, a race in which he would finish 3rd in 2003. Also in 2003, he was 2nd in the February Stakes, one of the few Grade 1 races in Japan to be run on dirt. Usually run over a mile at Tokyo Racecourse, in 2003 it was held at Nakayama over 1800M.

Due to its dirt and its distance, the February Stakes is a popular race among Korean breeders with past winners Meisei Opera (1999), Admire Don (2004) and most recently Testa Matta (2012) all going on to stand at stud in Korea. Following a racing career in which he earned in excess of 370 Million Japanese  Yen, Biwa Shinseiki was purchased by Korean interests in 2005 to stand at Pureun Farm.

For a privately standing sire, he got plenty of mares but it was in his very first season at Stud, in 2006, when he covered the Alydeed mare Indeed My Dear. She had produced some very average racehorses beforehand but the resulting foal would become one of the best horses Korea has seen.

Dangdae Bulpae would win 19 of his 32 races between 2009 and 2013. He was quite a late-developer as a three-year-old only managing 3rd in the 2010 Korean Derby but he won the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup, in October and a month later returned to Seoul the following month to claim Korea’s joint-richest race, the President’s Cup, something he would go on to do for the following two years.

Dangdae Bulpae’s exploits helped Biwa Shinseiki to 8th place on the Leading Sire list on 2010, to 10th in 2011 and 12th in 2012. None of his other foals would be anything like as good although he produced many winners even if few made it up to class 1 level. Biwa Shinseiki died on September 28. Cause of death is yet to be officially confirmed.

Also passing away in September was Nokwon Farm’s Eagle Cafe (Gulch), another horse who raced in Japan. He was the winner of just five races, however, they included the NHK Mile Cup at Tokyo in 2000 and then in 2002, the Japan Cup Dirt (now known as the Champion’s Cup) under Frankie Dettori.

Eagle Cafe [Gulch – Net Dancer (Nureyev)] was bred in the US but trained in Japan. He also raced in Dubai and France. He came to Korea to stand at Nokwon – a farm with close Japanese ties – in 2011 but covered few mares and was to all intents and purposes retired in 2014. His gelding Honey Butter Nino is the first Korea-based horse in training for Japanese owner Shigeo Kadono. Eagle Cafe died from colic aged 19 on September 30.

Record-Breaking Stakes Winner Dangdae Bulpae Retired

Dangdae Bulpae, a three-time winner of the President’s Cup, has been retired.

Dangdae Bulpae in the President's Cup winner's circle - a place he made his own

Dangdae Bulpae in the President’s Cup winner’s circle – a place he made his own

A winner of 19 of his 32 starts, Dangdae Bulpae won a Korean record 10 Stakes victories and amassed a record KRW 2.9 Billion (around US$2.6Million) in prize money. Among those Stakes wins were three consecutive triumphs in Korea’s richest race, the President’s Cup.

By the unfashionable – and generally unsuccessful – Japanese sire Biwa Shinseiki and out of the Alydeed mare Indeed My Dear, Dangdae Bulpae debuted as a 2-year-old in 2009, running a rather inauspicious 5th place over 5-furlongs. He won his next 4 though, which was enough to allow him to take his chance in the 2010 Spring Classics.

Jo Sung Gon reacts as Dangdae Bulpae crosses the finish line (Pic: Newsis)

Jo Sung Gon reacts as Dangdae Bulpae crosses the finish line (Pic: Newsis)

He could only manage 8th in the KRA Cup Mile but on his first trip to Seoul, he was an impressive 3rd in the Korean Derby behind Cheonnyeon Daero. The winner that day would spend most of the rest of his career looking at Dangdae Bulpae’s tail.

Maturing in the autumn, Dangdae Bulpae won the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup and then landed the first of his President’s Cups.

This set the tone for the next two years and although he had the occasional off-day – neither of his two attempts on the Grand Prix Stakes were successful – he and the late great Mister Park became the dominant Korean bred horses of their era.

He generally came off second-best to Mister Park, including one comical afternoon where the two found themselves facing each other with 1st year apprentice jockeys on their backs as both trainers baulked at the weights they’d been assigned in the handicap.

Most of the time though, things were serious and Dangdae Bulpae was a serious racehorse. While the 2300 metres of the Grand Pix proved out of his distance range, he did win the “Summer Grand Prix”, the Busan Mayor’s Trophy in 2012 in a another golden year that culminated in his 3rd and final President’s Cup triumph.

2013 saw him add another Stakes win – the Busan Ilbo Cup in February – but injury then intervened and it was a very different Dangdae Bulpae who lined up in Seoul last month to try for his 4th President’s Cup. He ran a shadow of his former self and retirement was immediately decided on. Dangdae Bulpae had done quite enough.

Horse racing in Korea although run on the flat, is similar to jumps racing in that its stars can have reasonably long careers on the track. From a sporting point of view, this is an overwhelming positive as we get to follow our favourites for a number of years. From a welfare point of view, it relies heavily on owners doing the right thing by their horses both before and after retirement.

Since I started writing this blog back in 2007, there have been perhaps two big “eras” of Korean racing. The first, from 2007 until mid-2010, was dominated by an American import, Dongbanui Gangja. However, the star of the second, from mid-2010 to the present, was the home-grown Dangdae Bulpae. He’ll be missed but has thoroughly earned his retirement to stud.

Exploit is Leading Sire in Korea 2011

It came down to the last day of the season but while Menifee’s colt Magnifique won Seoul’s big race to close the gap to just a few thousand dollars, Exploit is the Leading Sire in Korea 2011.

Exploit - Leading SIre 2011

It’s a first Leading Sire crown for the fifteen year old who came to Korea in 2005. He finished seventh on the earnings list last year but, with more runners on the track than any other sire in the country, this year he was always best placed to succeed Creek Cat as champion.

However, with Menifee and Vicar in second and third – despite them both only having two crops of foals of racing age – in what was the closest race in years, it is likely to be a short reign for Exploit.

While Menifee and Vicar held a near monopoly on the three-year old classics, a year behind them is Forest Camp. He was by far and away the leading first-crop sire and also walks of with the title of leading sire of two-year olds. Ecton Park and Peace Rules are both due on stream soon and will be followed by the likes of Officer. The future is looking bright for breeding here.

American bred stallions accounted for none of the top ten money-earners with the Japanese Biwa Shinseiki occupying the final spot, due mainly to the continuing exploits of Dangdae Bulpae.

Leading Sires In Korea 2011 (Name/Pedigree/Owner/Earnings in Korean Won/Chief Earner)

1. Exploit (USA) [Storm Cat – My Turbulent Miss (My Dad George)] – (KRA) – 3,339,327,000 – Champion Belt
2. Menifee (USA) [Harlan-Anne Campbell (Never Bend)] – KRA – 3,333,776,000 – Useung Touch
3. Vicar (USA) [Wild Again-Escrow Agent (El Gran Senor)] – KRA – 3,248,167,000 – Dongseo Jeongbeol
4. Creek Cat (USA) [Storm Cat – Vivano (Island Whirl)] – (Evergreen Farm) – 2,980,533,000 – Cheonnyeon Daero
5. Concept Win (USA) [Manila – Conveniently (In Reality)] – (Korea Mainland Horse Breeders’ Association) – 2,674,959,000 – Hongji
6. War Zone (USA) [Danzig – Proflare (Mr. Prospector) – (KRA) – 2,201,102,000 – Black Ruby
7. Volponi (USA) [Cryptoclearance – Prom Night (Sir Harry Lewis)] (Korean Mainland Horse Breeders’ Association) – 2,045,542,000 – Crown Flag
8. Ft. Stockton (USA) [Cure The Blues – Tai The Devil (Tai)] (KRA) – 1,918,536,000 – Cheonun
9. Didyme (USA) [Dixieland Band – Soundings (Mr. Prospector)] – (KRA) – 1,915,015,000 – Mupae Star
10. Biwa Shinseiki (JPN) [Forty Niner – Oceana (Northern Dancer)] – (Kim Chong Sik) – 1,710,714,000 – Dangdae Bulpae

* Five registered stallions passed away in Korea this year. They were Yankee Victor (USA), Ft. Stockton (USA), The Groom Is Red (USA), Tayasu Meadow (JPN) and Air Smap (IRE).

Ft. Stockton sired the 2007 Korean Triple Crown winner JS. Hold while the best horse by The Groom Is Red was the hugely popular Classic winner Baekgwang.