Captain Yankee

Captain Yankee Adds Minister’s Cup to Cup Mile

Captain Yankee produced a late burst of speed to deliver an emphatic win in the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday, adding to his KRA Cup Mile victory in April and all but confirming his status as Champion Three-Year-Old.

Captain Yankee and Jo In-kwon acknowledge the Seoul Racecourse crowd (Pic: KRA)

Having finished 3rd in the Derby, Captain Yankee was sent off as third in the betting market behind that day’s victor Winner Star while punters also kept faith with Complete Value, the beaten favourite in both the Cup Mile and Derby.

As he had done in both previous Triple Crown races, Seungbusa set out to make all, allowing jockey Jo In-kwon to settle Captain Yankee in midfield and steadily improve as the sixteen-strong field made their way off the back and towards the final turn in the ten-furlong test.

The distance was new for every horse in the race and Seungbusa, who had battled on well for 3rd in the Cup Mile and 2nd in the Derby, this time gave way with just under two-furlongs to run as Complete Value struck the front. His lead would be short-lived though and once Captain Yankee pounced at the furlong pole, there was only going to be one winner.

Flying The Champ, who didn’t run in either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown closed strongly for 2nd, three-lengths behind the winner, while Complete Value held on for 3rd ahead of Saryeoni First. The 94/1 outsider appeared on the scene from nowhere having been last for most of race but posted a final furlong time quicker than any other runner including the winner. Winner Star was never a factor and finished in 7th.

Captain Yankee is by Old Fashioned, who stands privately in Korea at Challenger Farm. He is out of Can’t Rezist (by Action This Day) and was bred by Lee Kwang-lim. The Minister’s Cup was his seventh race start and his fourth career win.

The Minister’s Cup win saw Captain Yankee’s new rating stand provisionally at 80 which will mean he will be able to race at least once at class 2 level. That’s the same as Touch Star Man was awarded following his Minister’s Cup win in 2000M and they both had similar form coming into the race.

With the Triple Crown series coming to an end, so too do Graded races restricted to three-year-olds. A return to Seoul for November’s President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) is the probable long-term target for Captain Yankee.

Next Sunday, the Sprint Series continues with Eoma Eoma set to return in the SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3) at Seoul Racecourse. Raon The Fighter is not expected to run, but Black Musk, who came over the top to win the SROA Chairman’s Sprint last month, as well as East Jet and 2020 winner Morfhis are all in line for starts.

Minister’s Cup 2022 – Full Preview of the Final Leg of the Triple Crown

The Korean Triple Crown of 2022 reaches its climax on Sunday afternoon and while the Triple Crown itself isn’t on the line, champion three-year-old honours very much are as KRA Cup Mile winner Captain Yankee and Derby winner Winner Star are among a full sixteen-strong field in the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2).

Winner Star won the Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Captain Yankee was a 40/1 winner of the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile (1600M KOR-G3) at Busan on April 17th, launching a late run to thread through leaders Complete Value and Seungbusa to score. Winner Star was an impressive winner of the Derby (1800M KOR-G1) at Seoul on May 15th, swooping from a handy position and winning by two lengths from Seungbusa and Captain Yankee.

This time they have an additional furlong to contend with as well as a maximum field of sixteen. In addition to Winner Star and Captain Yankee, Seungbusa, with a 3rd and a 2nd from Cup Mile and Derby returns, as does Complete Value, last year’s champion juvenile, who was sent off as favourite for both races, finishing 2nd and 6th. A bold showing in the final leg can’t be ruled out from the son of Girolamo and he could end up being sent off as favourite again.

Wow Wow and Tiz Barows produced strong Derby performances and may appreciate the additional distance while among those who skipped one or both of the first two legs of the series, Beomi Naeyeo Onda and Burui Geom look perhaps the most likely to step up.

Beomi Naryeo Onda will be ridden by Franco Da Silva, one of four foreign jockeys to have rides in the race. Djordje Perovic will partner Winner Star, as he did in their Derby success, while Johan Victoire will be aboard Tiz Barows, and David Breux on Nubi Gangja.

The Minister’s Cup is race 8 on a 10-race program at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Here is the horse-by-horse:

1. FLYING THE CHAMP [Cowboy Cal – Thebignbadestbunny (Smart Strike)]

5(2/1/1) KRW 62,800,000

O: Kim Hyeong-sun T: An Woo-sung J: Park Jae-i

Class 5 winner over 1400M at Busan before stepping up to 1800M at class 4 and running 2nd to Burui Geom. Top jockey comes up from Busan to ride him and a money finish is possible.

2. TEN BAGGER [Cowboy Cal – Sugar Victory (Peace Rules)]

9(2/0/0) KRW 45,800,000

O: Kim Myung-sik T: Kang Sung-o J: Lim Da-bin

(more…)

Captain Yankee Swoops To Claim First Leg Of Triple Crown

40/1 chance Captain Yankee swooped late to cut down the favourites and claim the first leg of the 2022 Korean Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile (Korean 2000 Guineas) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Captain Yankee wins the Cup Mile (Pic: KRA)

With the fancied Aspen Taeyang a late scratching due to a hind leg injury, last year’s Champion Juvenile Complete Value was sent off as hot favourite for the 1600M first jewel, ahead of Winner Star, with Man Of The Year and Seungbusa the only other two in single digits in the markets.

When the race began, Beolmaui Star got the best of the start from gate number one and was joined on the early pace by Man Of The Year and Complete Value with Seungbusa looping across from gate ten to join them. Captain Yankee meanwhile sat in midfield as the front-runners set a fair pace.

The lightly raced Beolmaui Star would quickly weaken while Man Of The Year was always wide and never convincing and as the leaders entered the home straight, his challenge faded, leaving Seungbusa and Complete Value up front alone.

At that point it seemed it would be a duel of stamina between Seungbusa and Complete Value; a battle that only Complete Value could win. He did, seeing off Seungbusa with just over a furlong remaining. Victory seemed a formality but that was to reckon without the long-shot Captain Yankee, who began to rally and then close in on the leading two.

Captain Yankee would ultimately come through the gap between Complete Value and Seungbusa and go on to win by a full two-lengths on the line. Complete Value was 2nd with Seungbusa a further length and a quarter back in 3rd. It was a full eight-lengths back to the fourth placegetter, Unju Hero.

Winning jockey Jo In-kwon told in-house broadcaster KRBC that while he was confident in his horse, it wasn’t plain sailing: “I knew the pace would be very fast, but those leaders were so far ahead at one point that I thought that we would end up too far back and he might give up.”

“He hates kickback so I kept him wide and out of the sand and that gave us more to do, but just when I thought it might be too much, he responded so well and gave me his very best.”

Jo In-kwon is widely considered one of Korea’s most accomplished riders, but this was only his second Group winner since being licensed in 2008. It was his first big race win of any kind since 2012, when he was a fresh-faced rookie, about to go away to do his compulsory national service.

Now a grizzled thirty-five-year-old family man, Jo In-kwon admitted that he was nervous as Captain Yankee closed to victory: “I was very excited in the final furlong, but I tried to keep calm and make sure that we made no mistakes.” They did not, although it must be noted the jockey was deservedly – and perhaps leniently – fined half a million Won for his excessive and unnecessary whip use in the closing stages.

On pulling up, Jo sent a personal message to his young children, which was picked up by the on-board microphone he was carrying. “Yes, that was lucky, wasn’t it?” he laughed, referencing how the onboard “jockey cam” in the race was supposed to be carried by Moon Se-young, before Aspen Taeyang was found lame. Jo In-kwon offered to carry the camera, despite being on a 40/1 chance.

Captain Yankee is by Old Fashioned, who stands privately in Korea at Challenger Farm. He is out of Can’t Rezist (by Action This Day) and was bred by Lee Kwang-lim. The Cup Mile was his sixth race start and his fourth career win.

The second leg of the Triple Crown is the Korean Derby over 1800M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday May 15th.