US Trained Horses Head to Korea

Sep 09, 2017

US Trained Horses Head to Korea Wherever The Truth Or Else and Papa Shot finish on Sunday, the pair will make history as the first ever US-trained horses to run in Korea when they line up respectively in the KOR G1 Keeneland-sponsored Korea Sprint (1200m) and Korea Cup (1800m). Meanwhile, locally-trained horses will be looking for a first-ever win at the Korea Autumn Racing Carnival after overseas raiders landed both races last year. Handled by four-time New York champion trainer Linda Rice, Keeneland Korea Cup contender Papa Shot has been in great form in 2017, recording two wins and five places from seven starts, including a 13-length victory at Belmont Park. The five-year-old son of Distorted Humor is owned by former New York Racing Association Chairman Barry Schwartz, who said: “I am very excited that the Korea Racing Authority has selected Papa Shot to run in the Keeneland Korea Cup…Papa Shot will be the first American-based horse to ever compete in the Korea Cup and hopefully many will follow in the coming years.” Papa Shot has drawn gate four for the 1800m Cup and has been in good shape since arriving in the Korean capital last week, adjusting to the track well in early morning works. While the Japanese pair of London Town and last year’s winner Chrysolite will join Hong Kong’s Circuit Land as favourites, beyond those three, the race is wide open and if Papa Shot runs to his best, he can be involved. In the Keeneland Korea Sprint, trainer Kenny McPeek’s The Truth Or Else will fly the flag for the United States. The five-year-old son of Yes It’s True has landed 6 wins in 32 starts. In April 2017, he scored an impressive win with a dashing stretch run in the Listed Shackleton Stakes (1400m, dirt) at Gulfstream Park and has also run well at G2 level. McPeek has trained over 75 Graded Stakes winners, including the winner of the 2002 Belmont Stakes. Never afraid to go abroad, it is perhaps fitting that a McPeek horse is among the trailblazers for the US in Korea. The handler attended the barrier draw, held at a downtown Seoul hotel on Thursday morning, drawing the lot himself, and said he was happy with The Truth Or Else getting gate number one. Jockey Dylan Davis is in Seoul to partner both US runners. The Sprint is ultra-competitive but it is in that race that local hopes are strongest with 11 Korean horses in the line-up. Hong Kong’s Lucky Year is rightly set to be favourite to follow up Super Jockey’s win in the same race last year, while strong challenges are expected too from Japan’s Graceful Leap and Singapore’s Wimbledon. But at a sprint distance anything can happen and last year’s Korean Triple Crown winner Power Blade surely has a better chance than the early 25/1 that has been quoted in some quarters. The outside draw should mean little to both him and Perdido Pomeroy, who was fourth in the race last year. Doraonpogyeongseon and Silver Wolf also enter the race in very good form and are proven on the track. If the visitors are to make off with the prize once more, they will certainly have earned it. The Cup looks a much tougher prospect for the local contingent. Triple Nine will give it a good go as he always does, while Champ Line is better than his last race suggests. Shamrocker too, based as he is at Seoul, will have true home track advantage and a good run can’t be ruled out. They have their work cut out though given the quality of the visitors. In addition to Papa Shot and the France-trained pair of Nimr and Skiperia there is of course, the “big three” of Chrysolite, London Town and Circuit Land. A piece of Korean racing history is set to be made on Sunday. The US pair have already assured it simply by showing up. But there’s much more to it than that. Can Lucky Year or Circuit Land maintain Hong Kong’s 100% record of a win at the meeting and can Chrysolite make it two from two? Or perhaps it will be the locals celebrating a win for the very first time on the new biggest day in the Korean racing calendar.