Picks for the Korea Sprint and Cup at Seoul, South Korea
Wild Dude (c) Ross Holburt/Korean Racing Authority
by Dick Powell
Race 8 on Saturday night is the $354,840 Korea Sprint Cup (Kor-G1). It has attracted 13 runners going about six furlongs on the sand track at Seoul, South Korea, and the imported horses look too tough for the locals on a class basis.
Racing over the quirky main track will present some challenges, and if you believe in the horse for the course angle, about half the field has experience over the track. They run left-handed like we do, and if there is any moisture in the track, speed will do well.
WILD DUDE (#11) ran well in the Dubai Racing Carnival this past winter and was a good fourth behind Mind Your Biscuits in the Golden Shaheen Stakes (UAE-G1) at the end of March. He ran poorly here in this race two years ago but won two Grade 1s at Santa Anita and Del Mar in 2015 on dirt.
Moanin (c) Ross Holburt/Korean Racing Authority
MOANIN (#9) has never raced here but has plenty of class coming in from Japan. The son of Henny Hughes has won seven times in Japan and captured the February Stakes (Jpn-G1) over two years ago. Recent starts in Japan on dirt have not been much but he is still the highest rated horse in the race.
TODAY (#2) looks to be the best of the locals with 10 wins in 13 starts and has run well both here and in Singapore against international competition. The gelded son of Drosselmeyer was third two starts back against similar company.
Wild Dude (#11)
London Town (c) Ross Holburt/Korean Racing Authority
Last year, London Town gunned to the front from post 11 and never looked back as Chrysolite, the 2016 champion, chased him every step. This year, London Town’s form is pretty dirtied up but he comes in off the same prep race in Japan that he used last year, the Sapporo Stakes (Jpn-G3), going slightly shorter and should be fit in his second start off a long layoff. The back class is there, the proven ability to handle this course is there and he should be able to make the lead going into the clubhouse turn.
CHEONGDAM DOKKI (#13) has won his last four starts here. The son of To Honor and Serve has 10 wins at Seoul and is coming off a big win in Busan last out against top local competition. His only loss in his last nine starts came going a quarter-mile farther than this and should be the strong horse in the stretch.
Forest Ranger (c) Ross Holburt/Korean Racing Authority
FOREST RANGER (#1) is from the dangerous Richard Fahey stable that beat Group 1 winner Deauville in a Group 3 to begin 2018. He has never raced on dirt before but romped in his lone start on the synthetic track at Newcastle, the same stakes race that Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up Gronkowski won this year.
London Town (#14)
Cheongdam Dokki (#13)
Forest Ranger (#1)