Americans make their debut in Korea’s big day

Action from Seoul Racecourse, where the Keeneland Association-sponsored Korea Cup and Sprint will be run tomorrow. Photo: Sky Racing World

The United States makes its Korean debut in the sophomore edition of the Korea Autumn Racing Carnival tomorrow. Bragging rights will be at stake with five U.S.-bred horses, including U.S.-trained Papa Shot, looking to prevail over defending champion Chrysolite (Japan) in the G1 Keeneland Korea Cup at Seoul Racecourse. 

(Forestry) and Bold Kings (Afleet Express). Hong Kong will also be represented by U.S.-bred Circuit Land (Mizzen Mast), who will be ridden by leading Australian jockey Nash Rawiller.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-bred and trained The Truth Or Else will head into the Keeneland Korea Sprint. He will square off against a field of international horses, which include Japan's Graceful Leap and Singapore's Wimbledon. South Korea will have 11 runners go to post, six of which are U.S. exports.Last year's Korean Triple Crown winner Power Blade (Menifee), who might have been expected to line up in the Cup rather than the Sprint, is the leading Korean runner.

The Korean Cup and Sprint are the most prestigious international racing events in Korea, not only in terms of the quality of the fields but also because of the prize money. The Cup is contested over a mile and an eighth on sand and is worth $885,000. The Sprint challenges horses over six furlongs on sand with a purse of $620,000.

For the first time, TVG will provide live coverage of the two races in the Americas. Fans can tune into TVG1 at 11:30 pm PT for the Korea Sprint (Seoul race 7) and 12:35 PT for the Korea Cup (Seoul race 8) and watch the U.S. representatives taken on horses from  Japan, France and Hong Kong. 

By sponsoring the races, the Keeneland Association is deepening a long tradition of friendly ties with the Korean racing industry. Many Korean horsemen have, in the past, set their sights on Keeneland for breeding and racing opportunities, with sales made at Keeneland’s September Yearling, November Breeding Stock and January Horses of All Ages auctions.

U.S.-bred horses sold to Korea or sent there to compete raise the standard of racing in the industry.

Indeed, the three top ranked horses at Seoul and Busan racecourses in 2016 hailed from the USA. But non-U.S. horses are in no way short of talent in Saturday's showdown. Chrysolite, who led Japan to a 1-2 in the inaugural Korea Cup, will look to once again dominate the race. Japan-bred London Town also made a strong case for himself when he won the G3 Elm Stakes and Saga Kinen earlier this year. 

Given that no U.S. trained horses competed in 2016, there will be some pressure on Papa Shot to make his Korean Racing Carnival debut a memorable one. Having already proved his worth on home soil, Papa Shot has won allowance races and has placed in stakes multiple times.

Additionally, U.S.-bred Circuit Land, who is Hong Kong's first representative in the Cup, has placed in multiple Group races at Sha Tin and Happy Valley. 

As the only U.S.-trained horse in the Keeneland Korea Sprint, The Truth Or Else, a 5-year-old Sir Shackleton Stakes winner, will be up against runners from Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, most of whom have had a good form this season. 

U.S. handicappers can get past performances and race info for the ten-race card from Seoul and the six-race card from Busan from Sky Racing World. Wagering and live-streaming are also available via TVG, TwinSpiresXpressbetBetAmericaWatchandWagerNYRA Bets, AmWager, and HPIBet.

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