Two Indiana-bred horses have been in the headlines for Korean racing recently, with both imports finding success at Seoul Racecourse for their separate owners.
Choego Money (Stephen Got Even – Lady Heroine, by Sea Hero) was bred by Lawrence Ernst and Red Heart Farm and exported for owner Humchan for trainer Yang Jae Cheol in South Korea. The gelding broke his maiden in November 2016 racing 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) at Seoul Racecourse. After a couple trainer changes, he's arrived at Australian Simon Foster's barn and has found success winning two Class 1 races in the year he's been with Foster.
Korea's class system sorts horses for non-stakes races based on a rating system, with Class 1 being the highest and Class 6 being the lowest. Classes 5 and 6 are restricted to Korean-breds, meaning a horse born in the U.S. and exported to the country can only run as low as Class 4.
“He's a lovely horse,” says Foster of his charge. “While he stands 16.3 [hands], he doesn't carry a lot of bulk. He moves with a big stride and relaxed action. Off track he loves being around people.”
Choego Money was purchased at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale for $30,000 by K.O.I.D. He has since amassed a race record of 24 starts with six wins, four seconds and a third, earning $351,690 in U.S. dollars.
Choco Candy (To Honor And Serve – Black Chocolate, by Harlan's Holiday) was bred by Greg Justice and Justice Farms and sold in the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $82,000 to Paul Reich. The filly, who was originally named Sayitagainjustice, was then exported to South Korea for owner Jeong Young Sik.
Breaking her maiden in just her second start in a Class 4 race for trainer Lee Shin Young, the dark brown filly has now amassed a record of three wins, two seconds, and one third in seven starts.
Choco Candy won her third race over the weekend. Her career earnings are now more than $139,700 in U.S. dollars.
“It's exciting to hear about horses coming from our breeding program finding success overseas,” says Jessica Barnes, director of racing and breed development for the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. “It just goes to show that while we might be a relatively small regional breeding program, our horses can be successful no matter the track type or the country.”
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