Menifee

Stallion Update: Menifee On Top Again / Thunder Moccasin, Hansen Impress / Cielo Gold Passes

With over half the season gone, it’s time to update the leading sire race and as usual Menifee is out in front, leading Ecton Park and the late Sharp Humor at the top of the General Standings.

Menifee 4

Menifee (Pic: Ross Holburt/Korea Racing Authority)

It’s in the other catefories where we potentially see the furture starting to take shape though, with Hansen and Pegasus Farm’s Thunder Moccasin currently 3rd and 4th in the Leading Sire of 3-year-olds list. Both are second-crop sires in Korea as is Testa Matta, who is also stating to show well.

Stallion list

We get asked a lot about Take Charge Indy – so here is a picture of him taken in May. His first Korean crop is set to hit the track in a couple of years.

Take Charge Indy 2

Take Charge Indy (Pic: Ross Holburt/Korea Racing Authority)

As ever, the English language Korean Stud Book has information on all racing and breeding horses in Korea: http://studbook.kra.co.kr/neweng/main.jsp

There is one obituary to announce. Cielo Gold [Conquistador Cielo – Private Light (Private Account] died at the Jangsu Stud Farm on July 25th. The cause is listed as “sudden death” (heart attack).

As a racehorse, Cielo Gold dead-heated with Star Dabbler in what was at the time a controversial 2006 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park (Simon Pure, also in Korea now, ran in that race too). Even Cielo Gold’s trainer thought he had been beaten. The same year, he finised 2nd in the West Viginia Derby at Mountaineer.

Cielo Gold spent a decade in Korea and generated a solid return each year from a modest book of mares. His chief earner so far is the recently retired Royal Impact.

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Menifee Leading Sire In Korea For Sixth Straight Year

Menifee has once more dominated the Leading Sire in Korea ranks. Grand Prix Stakes winner Power Blade was once again Menifee’s leading money earner as his progeny won almost double that of nearest rival Ecton Park. It was also an encouraging year for Hansen, whose first Korean crop of juveniles hit the track.

Menifee

Menifee, Korea’s leading sire, again

2017 Korea Leading General Sire (Money earned in 1000 Korean Won units – Chief Money Earner)

1. Menifee (USA) 8,973,350 – Power Blade
2. Ecton Park (USA) 5,272,610 – Triple Nine
3. Officer (USA) 4,074,930 – World Sun
4. Vicar (USA) 3,977,090 – Phantom Blade
5. Peace Rules (USA) 3,861,780 – Success Story
6. Forest Camp (USA) 3,627,530 – Raon Magic
7. Sharp Humor (USA) 3,583,880 – Golden Gate
8. Colors Flying (USA) 2,744,590 – Yeonggwanguihunter
9. Exploit (USA) 2,340,220 – Singgeureoun Gom
10. Ingrandire (JPN) 2,322,860 – Geombit Gangja
11. One Cool Cat (USA) 12. Whywhywhy (USA) 13. Chapel Royal (USA) 14. Rock Hard Ten (USA) 15. Cowboy Cal (USA) 16. Didyme (USA) 17. Hawk Wing (USA) 18. Simon Pure (USA) 19. Hansen (USA) 20. Pico Central (BRZ)

As ever Menifee was way out in front in terms of Starters, Winners, Strike Rate and Money Earned. He is covering progressively fewer each year (64 in 2017) as he nears retirement but he’ll up around the top for a few more years yet. Even without Power Blade’s 1.2 Billion Won in earnings, he was still significantly ahead of his nearest rival. This year, that was Isidore Farm’s Ecton Park, sire of Triple Nine while Officer jumped up from 7th to 3rd. Vicar and Peace Rules in 4th and 5th finished in exactly the same positons they did last year while Forest Camp dropped from 2nd to 6th.

For the second year running, Cowboy Cal was the highest placed stallion from outside of Korea  – he is now in Korea himself but all his runners were sired in the USA. Further down the list, Hansen entered the top twenty for the first time, which leads us to:

2017 Leading Sire of 2-Year-Olds in Korea

1. Menifee (USA) 1,369,930 – Choinma
2. Hansen (USA) 1,140,100 – Sinui Myeongryeong
3. Ecton Park (USA) 868,870 – Ecton Blade
4. Thunder Moccasin (USA) 829,580 – Yeongcheon Derby
5. Old Fashioned (USA) 550,640 – P.K. Party

Hansen actually had one more 2-year-old than Menifee make it to the track with 10 of his 33 winning at least once to Menifee’s imperious 18 from 32. Ecton Park has produced another solid crop while Pegasus Farm’s Thunder Moccasin got off to an excellent start in 4th place. Old Fashioned is now in Korea but his 5th place still relied totally on imports or those imported in-utero. Since coming to Korea Old Fashioned has already covered well in excess of 200 mares and he looks set to be a major player in years to come.

Accordingly Hansen and Thunder Moccasin were 1st and 2nd on the Leading First-Crop Sire list with the remianing top five being filled out by the Nokwon Farm based trio of Eurosilver, Testa Matta and Spicule.

Seven stallions were imported into Korea for breeding purposes in 2017, all from the United States. They are Afleet Express, Archarcharch, Modern Cowboy, Purge, Take Charge Indy, Tizway and With Distinction. With the exception of Take Charge Indy, who is owned by the Korea Racing Authority, all are standing privately.

Sadly some stallions did pass away during 2017. The most well-known was Whywhywhy who succumbed to complications arising from a debilitating back injury in September aged 17. Pensioned stallions who passed on during the year were Psychobabble and Silent Warrior, aged 26 and 25 respectively and Wheelaway, who was 20.

 

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)

Visiting Hansen – And Other Thoughts On The Korean Breeding Industry

Over the past few years Korea has become, if not a major player, at least significantly involved in the world bloodstock industry. That has resulted in a number of reasonably well-known stallions, principally from the United States, finding themselves in Korea. So what happens to them here?

Hansen at the KRA Jeju Stud Farm

Hansen at the KRA Jeju Stud Farm

The KRA began a domestic breeding industry in the 1990’s. Like most decisions here, it was done with realpolitik in mind. As a monopoly and a public company, the KRA is subject to the whims of the government of the day and as a result, needs to make itself as vital as possible to the nation.

That doesn’t just mean betting revenue – a casino with its mindless games of chance can do that – it also means jobs and support for the rural economy, something that had been neglected in Korea’s rush to development in the late 20th century.

The early breeding industry was haphazard. While the government was behind the idea, it simply gave subsidies for farmers to start breeding racehorses but offered no practical support as to actually how to breed racehorses. It was left to private farms such as Isidore to lead the way in bringing over foreign talent to oversee the breeding program.

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

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

The KRA also set up its own Stud Farms, on Jeju Island and also at Jangsu on the mainland. At its peak, it stood about 30 stallions but has gradually been encouraging private farms to take over and now does not automatically replace pensioned or passed away stallions. It now only purchases marquee names; Hansen and Tiz Wonderful being recent examples.

Hansen's box at the Stud Farm - he was out in the paddock at the time

Hansen’s box at the Stud Farm – he was out in the paddock at the time

The KRA’s Jeju Stud Farm is nothing short of a five-star hotel for stallions. When not servicing mares, the select few are housed in spacious boxes or in their own private paddocks. On a recent Monday, only leading sire in Korea Menifee was in his box.

Hansen was not in his box. Nice nameplate, though

Hansen was not in his box. Nice nameplate, though

Now 19-years-old, Menifee has been in Korea since 2006. That’s about as long as me but I have a feeling Menifee understands Korean better than I do. His handler (wearing a Hansen baseball cap) calls his name and in Korean, asks him to come out of his box and stand to attention – which he does. He is perfectly happy to trot up and down outside in the pouring rain while the French TV crew (who I have tagged along with as designated um….drinker) filmed him.

Tiz Wonderful would not come up to say hello. Nice paddock though

Tiz Wonderful would not come up to say hello. Nice paddock though

The rest of the stallions are outside in their private paddocks where they spend most of their time. Walking out of the stables and into a typically idyllic Jeju scene, even three paddocks over, one horse stands out. Of course he is the easiest to recognize but he is also the only one who is standing right at the very edge of his paddock, waiting for visitors. He cranes his neck to see who might be approaching and jumps about to attract their attention.

Hansen is a remarkably sociable stallion. The day has been stormy and Hansen has been rolling in the mud. He looks more like a bedraggled pony than a Gotham Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner but he puts his head through the railings to be petted. “Do you remember me?” the lady from Equidia asks, “I met you at Churchill Downs four years ago”.

He probably doesn’t but he makes a good show of it, allowing himself to be absolutely fawned over, even by the hitherto alpha-male French cameraman who has only vaguely heard of him but who turns into a simpering fanboy in his presence. Like everybody else. “Hansen loves people and everybody loves him” explains the Stud Farm manager – who is still wearing the cap with Hansen’s name on it

Tiz Wonderful and Forest Camp – the latter a notably shy stallion who has been kicked about by more than a few mares in his time – would not be distracted from their grazing but One Cool Cat was friendly while Hawk Wing seemed positively delighted to hear some English spoken to him.

The KRA Jeju Stud Farm is the best known stallion station on Jeju but it is deliberately drawing down its influence. Ecton Park stands at Isidore Farm, a place which has over the years played a huge role in the development of agriculture in general as well as racing on Jeju. Colors Flying is at Taeyoung Farm while the likes of Whywhywhy, Simon Pure and new star Strike Again also stand privately.

Facilities at some private farms such as Isidore and Pegasus are first rate. Others are developing. At Triple Crown Farm, we visit the resting place of Mister Park, who won 17 consecutive races, including the 2010 Grand Prix Stakes. Right next to him, mares and yearlings are in high spirits.

KRA training centre in Jeju

KRA training centre in Jeju

The final stop on what is now a hungover tour of the island (“I love my job, but not today” says the cameraman after an introduction to Halla-San Soju in Seogwipo the previous evening) is Nokwon Farm. This farm received international attention a couple of years ago as the home of Worldly Pleasure, dam of American champion Game On Dude. Of course, once Game On Dude became successful, Worldly Pleasure was on a plane to Shadai but Nokwon remains one of Korea’s top private farms.

Nokwon is owned by the former Chairman of the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association, Chi Dae Sub. Mr Chi is surprisingly in residence and in welcoming mood when we drop by uninvited last Tuesday. He was still smarting over Ham Wan Sik’s ride on his horse Forty Cure in the Selangor Turf Club Trophy last Saturday. Ham stood up in the irons and seemingly started celebrating despite being beaten a full length by Moon Se Young on Raon Morris on the line. “I wanted to kill him” was Mr Chi’s succinct post-mortem on the race.

Eurosilver at Nokwon Farm

Eurosilver at Nokwon Farm

We tour the farm on the back of a souped-up golf buggy, driven by Mr Chi. Clinging on to the roof, it was better than an Everland roller-coaster. Nokwon stands several stallions, including the Japanese racehorse Testa Matta and the US import Eurosilver. The farm has developed a very efficient system for exercising yearlings and sees itself as a prototype for the development for Korean-run farms on Jeju.

Chi Dae Sub has been one of the few supporters of the KRA’s internationalization program among Korean breeders (which is presumably why we were taken to his farm) who almost unanimously opposed the new rating system that ended separate class 1 and class 2 races for Korean and imported horses. “Bring them all on. Nobody thought that Koreans could make cars or televisions or mobile phones, but we did” he said “The KRA says we are 10 or 20 years away, I say we can do it in 5; Let’s race them”.

Racehorses are not mobile phones but the likes of Isidore with Rock Band and Triple Nine this past weekend have shown that the quality is coming. Choegang Schiller winning the Asia Challenge Cup, albeit not Korean-bred, demonstrates that Korean trained racehorses can compete at a good level. We have an awful long way to go. But from breeding shed to winning post, Korean racing is doing what it can to go in the right direction.

Watch out once Hansen’s progeny make it to the track.

Follow all horses racing or breeding in Korea through the Korean StudBook.

For anyone who finds themselves on Jeju Island, the KRA Stud Farm is happy to welcome visitors.

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]

Filly Queen’s Blade Romps to Korean Derby Victory

A Triple Crown may on the cards in the United States but any hope we may have had of getting our own in Korea this year vanished in the Seoul sunshine this afternoon as filly Queen’s Blade crushed all-comers in the Korean Derby.

Kim Yong Geun and Queen's Blade Cross the line as Derby winners (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Kim Yong Geun and Queen’s Blade Cross the line as Derby winners (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Most morning lines had KRA Cup Mile winner Cheongnyeong Bisang down as the likely winner so it was mildly surprising to see punters send Queens Blade, who had finished 5th in that race, off as the slight favourite for this, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown.

They were very quickly vindicated. Raon Morris, 4th in that Cup Mile in Busan last month, set the pace but Queen’s Blade went right with him. Cheongnyong Bisang tried to close in the home straight but he had too much to do. Queen’s Blade was out of sight.

Queen's Blade in the Derby Winner's Circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Queen’s Blade in the Derby Winner’s Circle (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The distance on the line was 10 lengths. It may as well have been 20 such was her superiority today. Jeongsang Bima, a 40/1 outsider, was the only one who did close semi-successfully, coming home 2nd while Raon Morris stayed on for 3rd, one place ahead of Cheongnyong Bisang.

Peter Wolsley’s Jungle Jim managed an unlikely 5th but it was a generally depressing race for the foreign contingent; Darryll Holland the highest finisher among the 5 foreign jockeys in the race, coming 6th on Wild Rush.

Connections get a cake in the VIP room after a Stakes win, trainer Kim Young Kwan is on the right of the picture (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Connections get a cake in the VIP room after a Stakes win, trainer Kim Young Kwan is on the right of the picture (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Queen’s Blade is a half-sister to 2008 Korean Oaks winner Jeolho Chance and was today recording her 5th win from 9 career starts. She looks set to be heavy favourite to follow her big sister in the Oaks in Busan in August.

For jockey Kim Yong Geun, it was just a second Stakes race win and his first Classic. For the remarkable trainer Kim Young Kwan, however, it was a third Korean Derby win. All three of those have been with fillies with today’s win adding to those of Sangseung Ilro in 2009 and Speedy First a year ago.

Another winner's circle pose (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Another winner’s circle pose (Pic: Ross Holburt)

It’s also another classic win for Busan means the southern track leads Seoul by 4 Derby victories to 3 since competition between the two began in 2008.

While Queen’s Blade and the other fillies today have the Oaks to attend to, the rest of the best of the 3-year-old crop won’t reassemble until the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul in October. How many of today’s field make it there is open to debate.

Nothing else in sight. Kim Yong Geun and Queen's Blade win the 2014 Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Nothing else in sight. Kim Yong Geun and Queen’s Blade win the 2014 Korean Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

A number of high-profile names didn’t make it into the starting gate today. Gilbert, who placed 2nd in the Cup Mile and the promising Yeonggwanguichampion both suffered injuries after the Cup Mile. Meanwhile Peter Wolsley’s best 3-year-old Never Seen Before failed his barrier trial last week and wasn’t allowed to run.

So dominant was Queen’s Blade today though that it is unlikely any of those three would have come any closer to her than the fourteen she left strung across the track in her wake today. The Queen from Busan, Queen’s Blade is our 2014 Korean Derby Champion.

Korean Derby (KOR G1) – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – May 18, 2014

1. Queen’s Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Kim Yong Geun
2. Jeongsang Bima (KOR) [Forest Camp – Smokegetenyoureyes (Smokester)] – Ham Wan Sik
3. Raon Morris (KOR) [Yankee Victor – Thunder By Night (Thunder Gulch)] – Moon Se Young
Distances: 10 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Cheongnyong Bisang 5. Jungle Jim 6. Wild Rush 7. Royal Impact 8. Namdo Trio 9. Gumpo Sky 10. Gangchi 11. Cupid Girl 12. Clean Up Speed 13. Pureun Geotap 14. Jangsan Horangi 15. Super Rider