Seoul Race Park
|Seoul Race Park|
|Location||Gwacheon, Seoul, South Korea|
|Owned by||Korea Racing Authority|
|Date opened||September 1, 1989|
Seoul Race Park is a Korean thoroughbred racetrack in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. It is host to many of Korea's most valuable thoroughbred horse races including the Korean Derby and Grand Prix. Seoul Race Park is located next to Seoul Racecourse Park Station on Line 4 of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway. It is operated by the Korea Racing Authority (KRA).
The current site at Gwacheon is the third home of Seoul Race Park. The first was at a track in Sinseol-dong, Dongdaemun-gu which was in operation from the early 1920s until just after the Korean War. Following the closure of the Sinseol-dong track, a new racetrack was constructed at Ttukseom, on the north bank of the Han River In February 1983, after South Korea was awarded the 1988 Summer Olympics, the KRA was given the task of organising the Equestrian events. The Ttukseom Racetrack was inadequate for this so the KRA acquired a new site south of Seoul in Gwacheon Gyeonggi-do where the equestrian events were held and once they were completed, set about turning the site into a racetrack.
The first race at the new Seoul Race Park was held on September 1, 1989. The track can accommodate more than 80,000 spectators and in 2003 a second grandstand "Luckyville" was opened alongside the existing "Happyville". Races are run on an oval artificial sand-based track with a two-furlong home straight.
Currently, live thoroughbred racing takes place on Saturdays and Sundays all year round with twelve races each Saturday and eleven races each Sunday. On each race day, races are also simulcast from the pony racing track on Jeju Island and the thoroughbred track at Busan-Gyeongnam. Big races contested at the Seoul Race Park include the Korean Derby in May, the Minister of Agriculture Cup in October, the President's Cup in November and the season ending Grand Prix in December.
In 2007, the Korean bred horse J.S. Hold won all three legs of the Korean Triple Crown at Seoul Race Park. Those races were the Ttukseom Cup, the Korean Derby and the Minister's Cup. From 2008, the Ttukseom Cup was replaced as the first leg of the Triple Crown by the KRA Cup Mile, which is run at Busan-Gyeongnam Race Park on the first Sunday in April.
In 2009, the champion jockey at Seoul Race Park was Park Tae Jong - who also holds the record for most wins in Korean racing history. The 2009 Korean Derby was won by a filly, Sangseung Ilro who had previously won the KRA up Mile at Busan-Gyeongnam. At the end of each season, racing fans in Korea can vote for which horses they wish to take part in the traditional season ending Grand Prix race. In 2009, the American bred Dongbanui Gangja won the race for the second consecutive year.