Ft. Stockton

After Feel So Good wins in the US, KRA tells trainers “Maybe we found out that the problem is not the horse”

There’s a very good write-up on Brisnet about Feel So Good’s victory at Calder Racecourse in Florida last week when he became the first Korean bred horse to win a race outside of Korea. The article quotes Ko Byung Un of the Korea Racing Authority as saying:

“…even though Feel So Good is a Korean horse, we had him in the U.S. since he was young, and the horse learned to race here and was taught by American trainers…I think maybe we found out that the problem is not the horse.”

That’s not exactly news to anyone who’s been watching Korean racing over the last few years although for a KRA official to come out and say it in such explicit terms is unusual.

Having invested shrewdly in the past few years, the stallion stock in Korea is very solid and improving all the time. The broodmares that they get to cover are also, while not among the world’s elite, more than adequate and certainly the equal of those who foal the cheap American imports that arrive here aged two and then regularly run faster than the homegrown talent.

Feel So Good in the winner’s circle at Calder

The idea of “Internationalization” is resisted by many in the industry in Korea for understandable reasons but it is necessary. It’s necessary not only for the sake of the sport but also because of the precarious position that racing – as one of very few legalised gambling options in the country – occupies.

Korean governments are nothing if not impulsive as recent policies attempting to “ban” public drinking (practically the national sport here), internet pornography and Sunday opening of supermarkets have shown. All of them were ill thought out and ended up being unworkable, however, it seems only a matter of time until legal gambling finds itself targeted to an even greater extent than it already is.

Some in the KRA realise this and are eager to make the racing industry, already a major employer, bankroller of Korean agriculture and charity fundraiser – not to mention tax payer – a source of national pride.

It’s difficult to get very excited about Feel So Good [Ft.Stockton – Courting Dreams (Eastover Court)] winning a midweek maiden claimer at Calder. If Dangdae Bulpae had been trained in the US, he could be winning Stakes races. However, the fact that he’s done it is important and sends a big message to those training young horses in Korea that we need to be achieving more. We have a captive audience of hundreds of thousands every weekend but we can’t stand still. And to be fair, most realise this.

Feel So Good makes the front page of the Korean Racing Journal

Feel So Good has already entered quarantine in preparation to return to Korea. On arrival he’ll be sold to a private owner to begin his domestic racing career. In pictures he looks bigger and stronger than other Korean bred horses his age. With plans to set up their own training centre in Ocala, the KRA is considering making Feel So Good only the first of many to spend the early part of their life outside of Korea.

There is one potential downside to Feel So Good’s win at Calder. As one trainer pointed out at the weekend, he was almost certainly running on Lasix. Like the vast majority of racing jurisdictions outside the US, raceday medication is banned in Korea and hopefully the KRA doesn’t get any foolish ideas.

Hopefully they won’t and if Feel So Good can finally put to rest the idea of “this is a Korean horse, it doesn’t understand western ways”, then the experiment will have been more than worth it.

* Thanks to @KeeneGal on twitter for the link to the Brisnet article.

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.