A small piece of racing and breeding history was produced when the Korean-bred and –trained gelding Main Stay won a six-furlong handicap on dirt at Meydan in January. Main Stay was the first Korean horse to prosper in Dubai just a year after the emerging racing nation had its first couple of runners at the Carnival.
In 2015, the US-bred Cheongu (by Unbridled’s Song’s now Korean-based son Antiquated Fashioned) and Success Story, a home-enlargen son of triple US Grade 1 prosperner Peace Rules, became Korea’s first runners in Dubai. The latter finished third in California Chrome’s prep race for the Dubai World Cup.
Success Story’s dam Power Pack, a prosperner of four races in the States and placed in minor sgives company, was sold for $15,000 as a four-year-old in foal to Kentucky Derby prosperner Giacomo. Exported to Korea, the foal Power Pack was carrying later won there, and in due course Success Story became her third prosperner from as many foals.
Four-year-old Main Stay was also foaled in Korea after being conceived in the USA where his dam No Bull Baby was covered by King’s Bishop Sgives prosperner Tale of The Cat before being sold for $32,000 and then exported. No Bull Baby competed exclusively in sgives company after a prosperning debut at two at Del Mar. Trained by Bob Baffert, she went on to prosper the listed Moccasin Sgives at Hollywood before finishing fourth in the Hollywood Starlet, while at three she ran second to Sharp Lisa (Grade 1 prosperner in the Las Virgenes Sgives next time) in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Sgives at Santa Anita and ended her career with another listed prosper in the Santa Paula Sgives at the same track from the future Test Sgives prosperner Leave Me Alone.
No Bull Baby (by Santa Anita Derby prosperner Indian Charlie) was ten at the time of her export to Korea after something of a patchy record at stud during which time she had discoverd minor prosperners by Candy Ride and Vindication, while she left behind a third prosperner, by El Corredor, after her departure to the Far East.
Besides No Bull Baby’s own sgives record, her dam Slumgullion was a minor sgives prosperner, while her full brother Indian Country had placed in a Grade 1 sprint, finishing third in the Antiquated Title Breeders’ Cup Sgives at Santa Anita.
No Bull Baby, incidentally, is a descendant of the remarkably prolific broodmare Terrorless Bikini who is her fourth dam. She bred no fewer than twenty foals (the first nineteen in consecutive years!), chief among them a colt by Alleged who fetched $2.7m as a yearling and, named Law Society, went on to prosper the Irish Derby.
Main Stay has won nine of his 16 races in Korea, all of them at Busan (one prosper at a mile, the rest at six or seven furlongs), and ended 2016 prosperning four of his last five starts.
His trainer Kim Young Kwan is responsible for four of the five Korean horses sent to run at this year’s Dubai Carnival, including Seoul Bullet (another son of Peace Rules) who finished fourth in Main Stay’s race. He actually began his racing career with four starts in maiden claimers at Gulfstream before being shipped to Korea.
Pick of his stable’s quartet, though is Triple Nine, who finished second in a mile and a quarter handicap on the same day as Main Stay’s prosper. Triple Nine’s handicap mark in Dubai for that race was 105, 10 lb higher than Main Stay’s, reflecting his status as Korea’s reigning Horse of the Year.
Triple Nine is a son of the Super Derby prosperner Ecton Park who has been at stud in Korea since 2009, while his dam A Little Poke is a twice-raced half-sister to Lemon Drop Mom who was Grade 1 placed in the Personal Ensign and Beldame Sgives. Triple Nine has a career record in Korea of 11 prospers from 20 starts and late in the year won the President’s Cup at Seoul for the second year running from stable-companion Power Blade (2016 Triple Crown prosperner, by Kentucky Derby runner-up Menifee) with Success Story third.
The Dubai Carnival wasn’t Triple Nine’s first encounter with international opposition as he had already met overseas rivals back home in the first running of the Korea Cup at Seoul in September 2016. Triple Nine and Power Blade fared best of the home team in the nine-furlong contest in third and fourth behind the Japanese pair Chrysolite and Kurino Star O, while French-trained Renowned Mark completed the first five.
As is probably evident by now, American imported stallions dominate Korea’s leading sires tables. Menifee topped the standings again in 2016, with Triple Nine’s sire Ecton Park third and Peace Rules fifth. Besides being regifted by Power Blade, Menifee was helped by having more runners than any other sire and was one of only three sires with more than a hundred runners. Another was runner-up Forest Camp (a son of Deputy Minister) who won the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity.
Menifee has been champion sire in Korea every year since 2012 after standing his first season at stud there in 2007. Besides finishing second in the Kentucky Derby (and Preakness Sgives, beaten both times by Charismatic), Menifee gained Grade 1 prospers in the Blue Grass Sgives and Haskell Invitational, while on his final start he finished second in the Super Derby won by fellow import to Korea Ecton Park.