Breeding

Menifee Heads All US Top Ten Leading Sires In Korea For 2016

For the fifth year running, Menifee claimed the Leading General Sire in Korea title in 2016. The 20-year-old stallion headed an all American-bred top ten with his progeny winning nearly double the amount of prize-money than nearest rival, Forest Camp.

Menifee

Menifee is Korea’s leading sire once again

2016 Korea Leading General Sire (Money earned in 1000 Korean Won units – Chief Money Earner)

1. Menifee (USA) 7,927,060 – Power Blade
2. Forest Camp (USA) 4,229,230 – Ottug Ottugi
3. Ecton Park (USA) 4,199,740 – Triple Nine
4. Vicar (USA) 3, 636,710 – Haemaru
5. Peace Rules (USA) 3,439,700 – Success Story
6. Colors Flying (USA) 3,373,000 – Touch Flying
7. Officer (USA) 3,248,690 – Ice Marine
8. Didyme (USA) 3,196,550 – Hoseungjibyeok
9. Sharp Humor (USA) 2,846,480 – Gorgeous Dream
10. Exploit (USA) 2,758,910 – Dixie Ploit
11. One Cool Cat (USA) 12. Creek Cat (USA) 13. Whywhywhy (USA) 14. Volponi (USA) 15. Pico Central (BRZ) 16. Hawk Wing (USA) 17. Cielo Gold (USA) 18. Cowboy Cal (USA) 19. Ingrandire (JPN) 20. Capital Spending (USA)

Menifee continued to dominate. Even without Triple Crown  winner Power Blade, who contributed nearly 1.5Billion Won to his total, he still had more runners, more starters and more winners than any other Korea based stallion and while he is now covering fewer, it’s inevitable that he’ll be on top for at least a further year. Forest Camp rose six places on 2015 with Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi his chief earner for the second year running. Colors Flying and the late Sharp Humor entered the top ten for the first time while two more who have passed away in recent years, Creek Cat and Pico Central, dropped out. The latter was the top non-US bred on the list. The highest placed stallion not standing in Korea was Cowboy Cal in 18th place. That’s been put right though as Cowboy Cal landed in Korea on December 29th and is currently in quarantine having been purchased by local interests.

2016 Korea Leading Sire of 2-year-olds

1. Menifee (USA) – Final Boss
2. Officer (USA) – Ice Marine
3. Sharp Humor (USA) – Europa
4. Chapel Royal (USA) – Wonder Wall
5. Ecton Park (USA) – American Power
6. Forest Camp (USA) 7. Exploit (USA) 8. Vicar (USA) 9. Ingrandire (JPN) 10. Whywhywhy (USA)

Menifee was also leading sire of 2-year-olds with his colt Final Boss winning both the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup and Breeders’ Cup to be crowned champion juvenile. Newcomer Chapel Royal posted strong figures. Sharp Humor sadly passed away over a year ago and his final full crop is set to hit the track in 2017.

2016 Korea Leading First-Crop Sires

1. Chapel Royal (USA)
2. Simon Pure (USA)
3. Rock Hard Ten (USA)
4. Symphony Sonata (KOR)
5. Raconteur (USA)

Only five first-crop sires managed to deliver a winner and only Chapel Royal delivered significant numbers in terms of runners and winners. Last year’s first-crop winner Strike Again finished in 24th place in this year’s General List, however, he only has very small crops racing at the moment. His unexpected success in this category in 2015 led him to cover 72 mares in 2016 – an almost five-fold increase on 2015 and only four fewer than Menifee – so he may well rise in future years.

2015 Review: Leading Sires

Menifee is the Leading Sire in Korea for the 4th year running. It wasn’t quite as one-sided as last year but he still earned $2 Million more than closest challenger, Ecton Park. Menifee stands in good stead for the future too as he also comfortably claimed the Leading Sire of Two-Year-Olds title. Strike Again is Leading First Crop Sire.

Menifee

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

Siring the Derby winner as well as significantly more winners than any other sire, Menifee is, for the 4th year running, the Leading Sire. He is quite the phenom here in Korea and will be hot favourite to win next year too, simply by weight of numbers. There will, however, be a change below soon with both Didyme and Creek Cat, mainstays of the Korean breeding program, having passed away recently.

Leading General Sire

Name, Earnings ‘000 KRW (Runners/Winners/Starts/Wins) Winning % (Chief Earner)

1. Menifee (USA) 7,680,833 (144/74/921/124) 13.5% (Yeongcheon Ace)
2. Ecton Park (USA) 5,447,012 (92/37/574/75) 13.1% (Triple Nine)
3. Creek Cat (USA) 3,810,773 (99/43/647/67) 10.4% (Jangpung Parang)
4. Didyme (USA) 3,519,796 (90/36/554/68) 12.3% (Best Guy)
5. Vicar (USA) 3,515,249 (106/36/609/55) 9.0% (Gumpo Sky)
6. Peace Rules (USA) 3,404,896 (76/32/508/57) 11.2% (Heba)
7. Forest Camp (USA) 3,307,403 (135/40/809/61) 7.5% (Ottug Ottugi)
8. Pico Central (BRZ) 3,161,609 (98/44/639/69) 10.8% (Daepungnyeon)
9. Volponi (USA) 3,035,469 (88/36/674/56) 8.3% (Goldholic)
10. Exploit (USA) 2,582,665 (114/43/714/53) 7.4% (Lion Star)
11. Colors Flying (USA) 12. Ft. Stockton (USA) 13. Hawk Wing (USA) 14. Officer (USA) 15. One Cool Cat (USA) 16. Biwa Shinseiki (JPN) 17. Capital Spending (USA) 18. Revere (IRE) 19. Cielo Gold (USA) 20. Admire Don (JPN)

Menifee is also leading sire of two-year-olds. Colors Flying has been producing foals which really run well on the sand tracks of Korea and will be featuring highly on the general sire list from next year while freshman Strike Again also signals intention here. There also needs to be a word for Cowboy Cal. It’s unusual for a non-Korean based sire to appear on these lists but from nine two-year-old runners, he has got six winners:

Leading Sire of Two-Year-Olds

1. Menifee (USA) 896,150 (23/10/69/17) 24.6% (Power Blade)
2. Forest Camp (USA) 641,100 (29/10/80/17) 21.3% (Ottug Ottugi)
3. Colors Flying (USA) 468,300 (26/8/79/13) 16.5% (Baedari Bobae)
4. Strike Again (USA) 387,100 (13/3/35/7) 20.0% (Winners Glory)
5. One Cool Cat (USA) 352,950 (26/7/65/8) 12.3% (Major Winner)
6. Didyme (USA) 335,050 (19/6/50/7) 14.0% (Seomgwangi)
7. Sharp Humor (USA) 334,800 (35/8/73/10) 13.7% (Pokpung Sinhwa)
8. Vicar (USA) 300,300 (23/5/53/6) 11.3% (Sidaeuiyeowang)
9. Cowboy Cal (USA) 293,100 (9/6/30/7) 23.3% (Miso Wangja)
10. Pico Central (BRZ) 277,950 (15/4/40/4) 10.0% (Waikiki)

The Korean breeding program suffered a sad setback with the loss of Sharp Humor. The stallion reportedly suffered fatal injuries while rearing up during a thunderstorm and slipping. Sharp Humor is second on the First-Crop sire list behind Strike Again.

Leading First-Crop Sires

1. Strike Again (USA) 387,100 (13/3/35/7) 20.0% (Winners Glory)
2. Sharp Humor (USA) 334,800 (35/8/73/10) 13.7% (Pokpung Sinhwa)
3. Whywhywhy (USA) 200,000 (25/4/71/5) 7.0% (Doctor Why)
4. Delago Brom (AUS) 72,350 (7/3/24/3) 12.5% (Delago Dream)
5. Stromberg Carlson (AUS) 57,850 (2/1/8/1) 12.5% (Short Stop)

Korea’s New Rating System Explained

It is the year of change for horse racing in Korea. The racing calendar has been revamped, foreign ownership of racehorses has been approved (see bottom of this article) and now a new rating system is coming in.

Yeonseung Daero - (Pic: KRA)

Yeonseung Daero usually ran against foreign opposition. In future he will be the rule, not the exception – (Pic: KRA)

Of all the changes, it is the rating system that has caused – and continues to cause – the most debate within Korean racing circles as what it means is that if Korean-bred horses are to win class 1 races, they will need to beat imported opposition. 

The KRA believes this will raise the quality of Korean horses. Local breeders and some owners disagree.

Under the new system, every horse will be assigned a rating from 0-140 to accurately reflect their current ability.  The rating will determine their eligibility for races and their handicap mark.

The ratings are for use in Korea only and are not intended to mirror what a horse’s international rating would be.

Over the past couple of months horses at Class 1 and Class 2 have already been receiving a monthly rating. This will now be rolled out to all classes.

The Current System

There are six classes in Korean racing (only five are used at Busan). Within each class, all races are further split into two categories:

Domestic: Races restricted to Korean-bred runners
Mixed/Foreign: Races open to both Korean and Foreign-bred runners.

Horses move up in class according to points earned for winning or placing in races and prize-money won. They can never return to a lower class, regardless of recent performance.

The New System

All horses will be assigned a rating which will determine which class they are eligible to run in. With the exception of some Stakes races, such as the Korean Derby, eligibility for all Class 1 and Class 2 races will be determined solely by their assigned ratings. The rating band for each class is as follows:

Ratings table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Summary:

– All races at Class 1 and Class 2 will be open to both Korean-bred and Foreign-bred runners
– Some races at Class 3 and Class 4 will continue to be restricted to Korean-bred runners.
– All races at Class 5 and Class 6 will continue to be restricted to Korean-bred runners.
– Horse ratings may go up or down according to recent past performance. This means that a horse may move down in class as well as up.

On the subject of foreign ownership of racehorses, they will be allowed to buy up to fifteen horses, which is the same as local owners. However, unlike the locals, foreign owners must buy four Korean-bred horses for every foreign-bred horse they wish to import to Korea. This is one reason why it has been a slightly less controversial development than might otherwise have been expected.

Some of the first batch of foreign owners will be able to start purchasing at the 2-year-old sale on Jeju Island in March.

2014 Review: Menifee Dominates Leading Sire Ranks Again

For the third consecutive year, Menifee was Leading Sire in Korea in 2014. This time it was by a record margin as his son Gyeongbudaero completed a late season President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes to take his sire’s earnings to nearly double that of next best, Forest Camp.

Menifee is Leading Sire once again (Pic: Malsarang)

Menifee is Leading Sire once again (Pic: Malsarang)

The table was very similar to last year’s with the only new entrant to the top ten being Peace Rules in 9th, who saw a remarkable 21% of all his starters win. He replaced Japanese sire Ingrandire, who dropped down to 17th after his best horse, Jigeum I Sungan, was retired at the end of 2013.

Leading General Sire in Korea 2014
Name – Earnings in 1000KRW – (Runners/Winner/Starts/Wins) Win% – Chief Earner

1. Menifee (USA) – 8,265,181 – (145/79/901/146) 16.2% – Gyeongbudaero
2. Forest Camp (USA) – 4,700,535 – (147/53/926/83) 9.0% – Magic Dancer
3. Vicar (USA) – 4,428,950 – (102/47/697/78) 11.6% – Gumpo Sky
4. Creek Cat (USA) – 3,301,666 – (124/44/675/78) 11.6% – Jungang Cheonhae
5. Pico Central (BRZ) – 3,098,159 – (113/39/641/61) 9.5% – Road To Prince
6. Volponi (USA) – 3,065,538 – (111/32/728/52) 7.1% – Cheongnyong Bisang
7. Didyme (USA) – 3,062,492 – (90/33/554/59) 10.6% – Hangangui Gijeok
8. Ecton Park (USA) – 3,044,083 – (85/37/516/63) 12.2% – Never Seen Before
9. Peace Rules (USA) – 2,924,780 – (67/35/365/78) 21.4% – Geumbit Hwanhui
10. Exploit (USA) – 2,843,528 – (107/36/711/51) 7.2% – Impetus
11. One Cool Cat (USA) 12. Yankee Victor (USA) 13. Ft.Stockton (USA) 14. Hawk Wing (USA) 15. Revere (IRE) 16. Capital Spending (USA) 17. Ingrandire (JPN) 18. Duality (USA) 19. Henny Hughes* (USA) 20. The Groom Is Red (USA)
* Very popular these days with Korean importers, Henny Hughes is the only non-Korea based sire to make the top 20

There is likely to be a shake-up next year though. While Menifee, as leading sire of two-year olds as well, is likely to keep his crown for a fourth year, top sires Creek Cat, Didyme and Pico Central have all passed away in the past two years and will gradually drop off the list.

Meanwhile Colors Flying has made an immediate impact with his first crop of two-year-olds hitting the track in 2014.

Leading Sire of Two-Year-Olds in Korea 2014
Name – Earnings in 1000KRW – (Runners/Winner/Starts/Wins) Win% – Chief Earner

1. Menifee (USA) – 920,575 – (38/22/123/32) 26.0% – Summit Myeongun
2. Colors Flying (USA) – 698,904 – (32/9/89/15) 16.9% – Doraon Hyeonpyo
3. Creek Cat (USA) – 567,884 – (34/11/108/19) 17.6% – Dream Queen
4. Forest Camp (USA) – 441,882 – (30/11/80/17) 21.3% – Yesuri Myeongun
5. Didyme (USA) – 363,080 – (25/5/78/10) 12.8% – Yuseong Fighting

Looking further into the future, Hansen covered 83 mares in his first season standing in Korea while 2014’s big money purchase, Tiz Wonderful, arrived on Jeju Island in November.

Sadly some stallions are no longer with us. Here is a list of foreign born sires who passed away in Korea this year:

Commendable (USA) [Gone West] (see obituary here)
Revere (IRE) (Dancing Brave] (Obituary to follow in January)
Al Naba (USA) [Mr. Prospector]
Field Asuka (USA) [Forty Niner]
Enlisted (USA) [Our Emblem]
Big Swing (USA) [Dixieland Band]
Happy Jazz Band (USA) [Dixieland Band]
Turbulent Storm (USA) [Storm Creek]

Breeding Review: Menifee Dominates Leading Sire Race / Pico Central Best Known of 11 Sires To Pass Away in 2013

Menifee retained his Leading Sire crown by a huge margin at the end of a year where his progeny have dominated once again.

Leading Sire in Korea. Again: Menifee (KRA)

Leading Sire in Korea. Again: Menifee (KRA)

Filly Speedy First, who landed a Korean Derby and Oaks double was Menifee’s chief money earner in a year where the Leading sire saw 14.2% of all his starters win.

Forest Camp got the closest to Menifee ahead of Vicar and the late Pico Central. Meanwhile, One Cool Cat just headed Peace Rules in the first-crop sire race. Those latter two will have their first foals reach 3-years-ol in 2014.

Even more competition is on its way. Chapel Royal and Rock Hard Ten covered their first mares in 2013 while the end of the year saw Hansen make his way to Jeju.

Leading General Sires in Korea 2013
Prize Money in Korean won ($1=1055KRW) (Runners/Winners/Starts/Wins) Win %age – Leading Money Earner (Big Race wins)

1. Menifee (USA) 6,985,819,000 (131/67/760/108) 14.2% – Speedy First (Korean Derby/Oaks)
2. Forest Camp (USA) 4,904,203,000 (140/71/874/108) 12.4% – Sting Ray (KRA Cup Mile)
3. Vicar (USA) 4,550,712,000 (104/45/672/75 11.3% – Joy Lucky (Sports Seoul Cup)
4. Pico Central (BRZ) 3,910,888,000 (99/44/605/76) 12.6% – Major King (Minister’s Cup)
5. Volponi (USA) 3,904,000,000 (124/48/872/80) 9.2% – Cheongnyeong Busang (Breeders’ Cup)
6. Creek Cat (USA) 3,270,478,000 (106/46/565/71) 12.6% – High Five
7. Exploit (USA) 3,099,129,000 (124/35/771/57) 7.4% – Singgereounachim
8. Ecton Park (USA) 3,025,779,000 (57/31/342/54) 15.8% – Indie Band (President’s Cup, Grand Prix Stakes)
9. Ingrandire (JPN) 2,378,958,000 (51/14/346/31) 9.0% – Jigeum I Sungan (Owners’ Cup)
10. Yankee Victor (USA) 2,053,560,000 (87/28/504/41) 8.1% – Raon Morris (Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup)

Sadly, we also lost a number of stallions in 2013. Pico Central was the best known among them, but all had their stories. The following registered sires died in 2013:

Dancing Surpass (IRE) – by Dancing Brave. He did his racing in Japan where he also stood at stud before coming to Korea in 2006. Passed away aged 23.

Editor In Chief (USA) – by Kingmambo. Winner of 2 of 4 starts in the US before resuming his racing career in Korea where he won 4 more times. Died in Setember aged 14

Gamun Bobae (USA) – by Silic. A good racer in Korea, passed away from Colic aged 9

Kwaedo Nanma (KOR) – by Didyme. A very good racehorse in Korea with 21 wins and was shaping up to be the best ever domestically bred sire before he died in February aged 15.

Lazer Beam (USA) – by Seeking The Gold. An average racer in the US, he came to Korea in 2001. Had been pensioned after illness for the past 3 years and finally passed away aged 18.

Lethal Instrument (USA) – by Gulch. Winner of 7 races in the US, he came to Korea in 2005. Died aged 17.

Nite Dreamer (CAN) – by El Prado. Earned over $1Million in prize money in the US despite only winning 5 races, a quarter of it coming in the “Cornhuskers Breeders’ Cup” at Prairie Meadows in 1999. His stud career was short and he was pensioned in 2006. He passed away after illness in October aged 18.

Perfect Vision II (USA) – by Storm Cat. Unraced, he came to Korea in 2006. Had been regularly siring winners up until his death, aged 18 in July.

Pico Central (BRZ) – by Spend A Buck. One of the jewels of the Korean breeding program, he sired his first Classic winner Major King, in the same year as his untimely passing aged 14.
Sunny Mountain (KOR) – by Lost Mountain – 5 wins from 12 starts in Korea, he was registered as a stallion but was more a family pet. Died aged 11.

Wanggol (AUS) – by Jet Spur. Won 6 of his 12 starts in Korea. Was retired to stud only this year but fell ill and passed away aged 6 before covering any mares.

Wheels N’Wings (USA) – by Thunder Gulch. A winner of 2 races in the US and 3 in Korea, he had modest success at stud and passed away after illness aged 14 in June.

K Pop Becomes 1st Korean Export Winner in Malaysia

K Pop (Vicar) came home on top in race 5 at the Penang Turf Club in Malaysia last Saturday to become the first Korean bred horse to win a race in that country and in the process record an important milestone for the Korean breeding industry.

Journey Ends in Winner's Circle - K Pop on his way to export in 2011 (KRA)

Journey Ends in Winner’s Circle – K Pop on his way to export in 2011 (KRA)

A 4-year old gelding, K Pop was one of three horses exported from Korea to Malaysia in 2011. They were followed by six more in 2012. K Pop was making his 5th start and had one previous 2nd place finish to his name before last Saturday’s win. His time was 4 seconds quicker than the Seoul Racecourse record for the same distance of 1700 metres although it was on turf.

The KRA began its breeding program in the early 1990’s, however, the three sent to Malaysia in 2011 were the first to be commercially exported. The KRA has set a target of 50 horses per year to be exported by 2020, primarily to Macau and Malaysia, however the long-term goal is to break into the potentially huge market of the gargantuan neighbour to the West of the Korean peninsula.

Last year, Feel So Good (Ft.Stockton) became the first Korean bred horse to win a race in the United States. However, like a number of Korean horses each year, he had been sent there for training purposes and was brought home shortly afterwards.

K Pop is different and many involved in the breeding industry here will have been celebrating his win. As for K Pop himself, he celebrated breaking his maiden by promptly dumping his apprentice jockey onto the track as soon as they crossed the line.

Record Breaking $225,000 Filly Arrives In Seoul

The most expensive imported racehorse in Korean history has arrived at Seoul Racecourse. The filly, by Henny Hughes and out of the Cape Town mare Cape Discovery, was purchased by owner Oh Ho Kuk at the OBS Spring Sale of Two-year Olds in Training in Florida this April. Having cleared quarantine, she arrived at the track earlier this month.

The Henny Hughes filly, with trainer Choi Bong Ju (left) and owner Oh Ho Kuk (right), who has become the most expensive imported racehorse in Korean history

The filly, who remains unnamed, was the fastest under-tack in the lead-up to the sale, posting a time of 9.8 seconds for 1 furlong – considerably faster than anything has ever run in Korea. According to The Bloodhorse, family members include G2 winners Unbridled Energy and Heart Of Joy and G3 winners Inexplicable, Midnight Cry and White Mischief.

The filly is by far the most expensive purchase made by a Korean buyer since the price cap for imported fillies was removed on a trial basis earlier this year. The cap, which existed to promote the local breeding industry, had been increased in recent years from $20,000 all the way up to $70,000 before being removed completely in order to provide not only a better standard of racehorse but also to improve the breeding stock. Great news for OBS and others who already see the lower end of their sales propped up by Korean buyers but also, the Korea Racing Authority hopes, for the nation’s own breeders.

The cap remains on colts and geldings, however, with the breeding industry here now sufficiently developed in terms of facilities and well stocked with an ever-improving standard of stallion, the KRA believed that the time was right to remove the cap for fillies for racing (mares imported solely for breeding purposes had never been subject to the cap). To encourage the import of quality fillies, the “Queens’ Tour” of valuable Stakes races was introduced this year.

The KRA wants Korea’s breeding industry to develop to such an extent that ultimately the country becomes a net exporter of racehorses. Last year, several horses were sold to Malaysia and ultimately Korea, like every other country in the region (and most of the world) has its eye on China as an export market if and when they begin importing horses.

Of course, on the track the challenge remains for these expensive fillies to be able to live up to their potential as Korean training remains significantly below international standards. The Henny Hughes filly has been sent to the barn of Choi Bong Ju who, although 49, has only been training since 2007 after retiring as a jockey. Choi told the media that he “doesn’t feel a burden” in being put in charge of the star newcomer. Likewise owner Oh has insisted – publicly anyway – that his trainer is under no pressure. We will see.