The Korean Derby

Korean Derby Day 2018: Race-By-Race Preview (May 13)

It’s the 2nd leg of the 2018 Korean Triple Crown as 10 horses line up for the 21st running of the Korean Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. And Divide Wind will join his stablemate Ecton Blade, who he beat by a length to capture the first jewel in the crown, the KRA Cup Mile, as favourite. The big race is the highlight of an 11-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 which also includes the ARF Commemorative Race, to mark the opening of the 37th Asian Racing Conference. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

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Divide Wind won the KRA Cup Mile. Can he add the 2nd leg of the 2018 Triple Crown? (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Divide Wind and Ecton Blade have been joined on the trip to Seoul by World Sun and Hiddden Champ. World Sun was a fast finishing 3rd in the Cup Mile and could challenge the two favourites here. As for Seoul, the challenge is led by Mask, who also ran well in the Mile for 4th and an upset is not impossible. Here is the race-by-race preview of all 17 Derby Day races at both Seoul & Busan with horse-by-horse comments for the ARF and Derby races?

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(1) SEUNGRI PLUS will be strong favourite to score here, having been getting progressively closer across his latest outings. He was 2nd to a good winner at this distance last time on April 7th and should have too much today. (4) MAIN RACER has shown some ability across three starts so far and can build on the 5th he managed last time while (5) RAON OPTIMUS enters after back to back 4th place finishes and should be looking to at least match here. (6) BARAM KING and (8) MAJJABEUN SON are others who can be considered.

Selections (1) Seungri Plus (6) Baram King (4) Main Racer (8) Majjabeun Son
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 1, 4, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) BLACK SPIRIT was an improved 3rd at 1300M on her last start at the beginning of March and returns here after a couple of months off with solid claims. She can come from just off the pace and finish strongly. (8) SANTOS showed prominently before weakening over 1300M two weeks ago. He drops back slightly in trip here and may benefit. (2) CLEAN FLOWER showed some signs of life with 5th place at 1300M last time and gets Manoel Nunes on board today. (6) ARGO UNIQUE and (11) DONGBANG JIJU are others with potential to improve on recent outings.

Selections (7) Black Spirit (8) Santos (2) Clean Flower (11) Dongbang Jiju
Next Best 6, 1
Fast Start 8, 9, 10, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) MACHA BUCHA ran a close 2nd at class and distance on April 7th having been prominent throughout and leading briefly close to home. He can go one better this time. (2) BOLD NINER comes in following back to back 4th place finishes at this distance and at 1200M and surely comes close again while (12) LEAD UP can overcome the widest draw to get close to the pace early and can match the 3rd she managed last tie. (4) EVER A ONE beat Macha Bucha at the distance two starts ago and while he didn’t go well at 1300M on reappearance last month, can be given another chance today. (9) STIRLING returns to action after a three-month absence and can be considered too.

Selections (8) Macha Bucha (2) Bold Niner (4) Ever A One (12) Lead Up
Next Best 9, 7, 1
Fast Start 8, 9, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) L CAR romped home to easily win his second start on April 14th. It was at 1000M, so he is up in both class and distance today, but he could well have enough to prevail again. (3) EAGLE SKY could be the one to beat though. He improved significantly last start on April 15th when ridden by Johan Victoire for the first time, just beaten half a length at this distance and looks set to go well here. (7) EUMAK DAEJANG beat a couple of these on his way to 3rd at 1300M on April 14th and should have the beating of plenty once more. One of those behind him that day was (1) REBECCA and the slight drop in trip may benefit her today. (9) SPECIAL LIGHT ran 4th in a solid race at 1300M last month and is another to consider. He usually comes from well off the pace so will need things to set up just right for him. (4) CHEON MONG is up in class after a somewhat unexpected win at 1300M and while he perhaps has a bit more to find, shouldn’t be ruled out completely.

Selections (3) Eagle Sky (8) L Car (9) Special Light (1) Rebecca
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 1, 4, 7

Busan Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) HOTHAE is up in class following a convincing win over this distance on April 13th. He made all that day and could well do so again here. It won’t be easy. (3) HANGIL too steps up following her maiden win which came at the fourth time of asking. Her triumph was over 1000M, so she faces an increase in distance as well but should be able to cope with it. (5) GEUJIKOJI had a hard time at a mile last time but should be more comfortable dropped back today. (1) BLUE DANCER defied her odds to run a good 2nd at class and distance three weeks ago and will not more respect here. (9) SWEET MEMORY steps up in trip after a 3rd and a 4th behind some useful ones in her latest two and can come under consideration.

Selections (7) Hothae (3) Hangil (9) Sweet Memory (1) Blue Dancer
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 1, 3, 7, 9

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) JANGSAN WILD has won two from three so far and is up in both class and distance today. He had to work for his win last time but looks to have scope for more improvement and he’s the one they’ll need to beat today. He had to battle last time though and if the additional furlong is a concern then (6) DAESEUNG BIBEOB is the one to turn to. He drops back in trip after some good efforts around two turns and will surely run on strongly. (7) TEUKBYEOL STAR still somehow remains a maiden. She’s a good filly and rarely misses the money but can’t quite make the breakthrough. That will probably be the case again, but she’ll be firmly in the placing hunt. (5) FINE CHAMP and (10) SPEED CHEONGNYONG, the latter up in class, both enter in good form and should also be involved.

Selections (1) Jangsan Wild (6) Daeseung Bibeob (7) Teukbyeol Star (10) Speed Cheongnyong
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 1, 2, 9

Busan Race 2:  Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(9) MAKGANG BOLT has won his latest two in decent fashion, his latest at this class. He’s a front-runner and with an apprentice keeping his carried weight nice and low, he has every chance of making it three in a row. (2) YUKRYONGI ran poorly when favourite last time out four weeks ago but had been showing enough prior to that to suggest he’s worth another chance today and he should be a threat. (11) QUEEN THE QUEEN is up in class following back to back runner-up finishes, both at this distance. She’s never been worse than 3rd and despite the step up in level, she can maintain that record today. (10) CHARTERED DREAM came home 2nd and 5th respectively when they raced each other at (more…)

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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

K-Triple Crown 2014: Korean Derby 2014 – The Runners & Riders

A field of 15 will contest the 17th Korean Derby at Seoul Race Park this coming Sunday.

If we're going to have a Triple Crown winner this year, it will be Cheongnyong Bisang (KRA)

If we’re going to have a Triple Crown winner this year, it will be Cheongnyong Bisang (KRA)

Cheongnyong Bisang took the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan last month and he returns to his home track to seek to take out the second jewel.

An unprecedented 5 foreign jockeys have rides in the race. Korean racing stalwarts Joe Fujii, Masa Tanaka, Ikuyasu Kurakane and Darryll Holland are joined by newcomer Shinichi Terachi. With trainers Peter Wolsley and Bart Rice both saddling runners, it is set to be the most international running of the Derby to date.

Below is a full run-down of the runners and riders but first here’s what’s happening around Korea this weekend:

Friday May 16
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 13:00 to 19:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:25 to 17:40

Saturday May 17
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00 including the JRA Trophy at 17:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:30 to 17:15

Sunday May 18
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00 including the Korean Derby at 16:40
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:05

The JRA are in town on Saturday for their annual trophy race and there are some good ones going in that. Our main focus though is the Derby and here is a full run down of the runners with [Pedigree} (Starts/1/2/3) (Trainer) – Jockey (Home Track):

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

1. Raon Morris [Yankee Victor – Thunder By Night (Thunder Gulch)] (7/3/1/1) (Lee Shin Young) – Moon Se Young (Seoul)
Set the pace for much of the Cup Mile and ran on well to finish 4th at generous odds. He has every chance of improving here and if he gets the lead and others have a bad trip, he just might keep it.

2. Gangchi [Volponi – Regal Heir (Regal Intention)] (10/3/1/1) (Bart Rice) – Masakazu Tanaka (Busan)
Bart Rice is the new star of the Busan trainer colony and he saddles his first Korean Derby runner here. Gangchi made little impact in the Cup Mile and will need to show a lot of improvement to challenge here.

3. Jeongsang Bima [Forest Camp – Smokegetenyoureyes (Smokester)] (9/2/3/2) (Park Hui Cheol) – Ham Wan Sik (Seoul)
A winner over the distance, albeit at class 4, he has a nice turn of foot and likes to come from just behind the leaders. Could be worth a place interest.

4. Jangsan Horangi [Forest Camp – Steal The Show (Cat Thief)] (5/2/2/1) (Kim Jeom Oh) – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Seoul)
Lightly raced and untried at further than 1400M and hasn’t won at higher than class 5. Has plenty of promise and has never finished worse than 3rd but is difficult to recommend here.

5. Wild Rush [Forest Camp – Wisconsin Girl (Smart Strike)] (7/2/3/2) (Kim Young Kwan) – Darryll Holland (Busan)
Won a minor event on Cup Mile day and yet to go further than a mile. Kim Young Kwan doesn’t bring horses to Seoul unless he has high expectations though and with Darryll Holland on board, punters will take note.

6. Gumpo Sky [Vicar – Perfect Storm (Didyme)] (8/3/2/2) (Kwan Seung Joo) – Jeong Dong Cheol (Busan)
Comes into the race in excellent form with two consecutive wins behind him, the most recent of which was just 2 weeks ago over a mile. Expect him to be close to any early pace, he’ll need to show a bit more speed than he has to date in the home straight to challenge.

7. Jungle Jim [Peace Rules – Diamond Stephanie (Lucky Lionel)] (5/2/1/1) (Peter Wolsley) – You Hyun Myung (Busan)
Peter Wosley is searching for his first winner at Seoul and while this colt is not without claims, he will have to improve to win this. Rallied well for 2nd over a mile last start and if he comes on here, he could cause problems at the business end of the race.

8. Queen’s Blade [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] (8/4/3/0) (Kim Young Kwan) – Kim Yong Geun (Busan)
Sent off as the odds-on favourite in the Cup Mile, she finished a disappointing 5th having shown briefly at the front with a furlong to run. The half-sister to 2008 Oaks winner Jeolho Chance will have plenty of backers to put things right here. Kim Young Kwan will no doubt have fixed her final furlong but will others have come on more?

9. Royal Impact [Cielo Gold – Skeemo (Meadowlake)] (8/2/3/0) (Kim Byung Hak) – Song Keong Yun (Busan)
The closer never closed in the Cup Mile, staying in 11th position the whole way around. Needs others to run poorly to have a chance.

10. Super Rider [Ft.Stockton – Poyeon (Road Of War)] (9/1/0/1) (Choi Yong Goo) – Shinichi Terachi (Seoul)
Little to recommend this one-time winner who is yet to start at further than 7 furlongs. Japanese jockey Shinichi Terachi gets a first Derby ride in just his 2nd week in Korea.

11. Clean Up Speed [Pico Central – Rich Emotions (Rizzi)] (7/4/1/0) (Seo In Seok) – Ikuyasu Kurakane (Seoul)
The Oaks may be a more realistic target for this filly but she’s a frontrunner with a quick finish who’s beaten colts before. These may be a bit too good though. Was in great form until a disappointing 5th last time out.

12. Namdo Trio [Didyme – Tapas (Sky Classic)] (10/2/4/1) (Baik Kwang Yeol) – Kanichiro Fujii (Busan)
The surprise package of the Cup Mile, he closed very strongly to land third. Joe Fujii rode Speedy First to win this race last year and while he’ll not be favourite to win here, heis not without a chance.

13. Cheongnyong Bisang [Volponi – Miss Alwuhush (Alwuhush)] (8/5/0/0) (Kim Jeom Oh) – Seo Seung Un (Seoul)
The Cup Mile winner and favourite. He was superb in Busan last month and if he repeats that form, he wins. Cheongnyeong Bisang’s defeats have come when he’s had a poor trip and Seo Seung Un is going to have to work very hard to get him into his favoured position from gate 13.

14. Cupid Girl [Vicar – Sheza Hot Dish (Rubiano)] (9/4/0/1) (Park Jae Woo) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Seoul)
A decent filly but another for who the Oaks is a more likely target. A creditable 8th in the Cup Mile, a similar position here seems achievable.

15. Pureun Geotap [Menifee – Charmin Strike (Smart Strike)] (9/2/2/3) (Ji Yong Cheol) – Lee Chan Ho (Seoul)
Had an abortive attempt on the Cup Mile but otherwise has form at this distance, winning a slowly run race here in March. This will be tougher though.