In 2015 Korean adopted a rating system for thoroughbreds. These ratings are used for domestic purposes only.
The rating bands were revised in February 2016 and are as follows:
Class 1: 81 & Up (Korean & Foreign Bred)
Class 2: 66-80 (Korean & Foreign Bred)
Class 3: 51-65 (Korean & Foreign Bred)
Class 4: 36-50 (Korean & Foreign Bred)
Class 5: 35 & Down (Korean Bred only)
Class 6: New and unrated (Korean Bred only)
Here is a list of the top twenty horses by rating who are currently in training at Seoul Racecourse as of August 2019:
1. Dolkong (USA) – 129
2. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) – 128
3. Moonhak Chief (USA) – 127
4. Silver Wolf (AUS) – 125
5. Gaon Champ (KOR) – 120
6. Shamrocker (USA) – 119
7. Sanggam Mama (KOR) – 112
8. Cheonji Storm (KOR) – 112
9. Road Winner (USA) – 112
10. Winner Gold (USA) – 112
11. City Star (KOR) – 109
12. Cheonjiga (USA) – 108
13. Choegangja (USA) – 107
14. Another Smart One (USA) – 105
15. Mighty Ssing (USA) – 105
16. Gasokbulpae (KOR) – 104
17. Haemaru (KOR) – 103
18. Final Boss (KOR) – 103
19. OP Seven (USA) – 103
20. Zentenary (USA) – 103
And some notable horses from the archives:
Myeongmun Gamun (KOR) [Future Quest – Guided Dancer (Incinderator)] – Retired in 2009 with a career record of 17 wins from 34 starts and earnings of well over KRW 1 Billion. Notoriously badly behaved at the starting gate, he still managed to win consecutive President’s Cups in 2007 and 2008 and was twice the highest placed Korean horse in the Grand Prix Stakes. Here he is winning his first President’s Cup in 2007.
Bally Brae (USA) [Yarrow Brae – Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)] – One of the most popular horses in Korean racing and winner of the Grand Prix Stakes in 2007. His “feud” with Subsidy in 2006/2007 provided some of the most talked-about races in Korean racing history. Retired to the Korea Horse Affairs High School in 2011 he passed away through illness in 2012. Here’s the Grand Prix win.
Subsidy (USA) [Mr. Prospector – Foreign Aid (Danzig)]- The last son of Mr. Prospector. In one of the rags-to-riches stories that make this sport so great, he wa plucked from from being a mid-week claimer at Philadelphia Park and the Aqueduct “inner-dirt” in the US in 2004, to winning the Grand Prix Stakes and being crowned Korea Horse of the Year in 2005. Bally Brae was his nemesis and the two traded big handicap wins in 2007 with Subsidy ultimately coming off second best in the Grand Prix but not before getting the better of him in the final furlong in this great battle from March 2007. See this post for Subsidy’s full story. Like Bally Brae, Subsidy also passed away shortly after retirement, this time in a paddock accident.
J.S. Hold (KOR) [Ft. Stockton – Hwansanjiljoo (Passetreul)] – Winner of the inaugural Korean Triple Crown in 2007, and regarded by many as the best Korean bred horse ever. His last outing was in completing the TC in October 2007 with this win in the Minister of Agriculture Cup. J.S. Hold has a career record of 9 wins from ten starts and won all four of his races as a three year old. Disappointingly for many, he didn’t start the 2007 Grand prix race due to injury. He returned to training in Spring 2008 but was unable to fully shake off his injury and was officially retired at the end of September. His owner later admitted he should never have run in that historic Minister’s Cup. Here is his complete domination of the 2007 Korean Derby and his emotional retirement ceremony in November 2008. Currently retired in Jeju Island.
Dongbanui Gangja (USA) [Broken Vow – Maremaid (Storm Bird)] A two time Grand Prix winner in 2008 and 2009, he also won the Seoul Owners’ Cup. Won his final start in February 2012 to retire with career figures of 20 wins from 35 starts.