Accepted nominations for the 2019 Keeneland Korea Cup and Korea Sprint, both of which will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday September 8 (Saturday night, Sept. 7, in the U.S. because of time zone changes), have been announced and it is US-trained horses who are set to have top billing.
In the Korea Cup, Lone Sailor tops the ratings among nominated horses. The Tom Amoss-trained four-year-old ran creditably in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) in 2018 before securing a graded stakes victory of his own in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) and then running sixth of 14 in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Lone Sailor is joined in the Cup (KOR G1 – 1800M) by fellow state-sider Harvey Wallbanger. Trained by Kenny McPeek, who returns to Seoul after guiding The Truth Or Else to 4th place in the Korea Sprint two years ago, the three-year-old won the Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park in May.
United Kingdom-based Ambassadorial, trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, and Hong Kong's Glorious Artist, from the string of rising trainer Frankie Lor, complete the International contingent for the 1 Billion Won race. They will face a strong local challenge which is expected to be headlined by Dolkong, winner of the Listed Curlin Handicap in Dubai earlier this year.
The Korea Sprint (KOR G1 – 1200M) has three American contenders. Holy Legal will become the first overseas-trained mare to take part in either race. She has spent the majority of her career in Uruguay, where she won five races in a row last year including the Gran Premio Maronas (G2) in a blistering 55.88 seconds over five furlongs, before coming to the USA earlier this year.
Heartwood, a winner of two of three starts this year, and the now Florida-based Fast Pass will also take their chance in the Sprint, which this year has had its prize money boosted to match that of the Cup's 1 Billion Won total.
Hong Kong trainer Me Tsui, who saddled Fight Hero to 2nd place in the Sprint a year ago, returns to Korea with his dirt specialist Ugly Warrior, while up and coming UK based sprinter Pass The Vino and France-trained Bakoel Koffie will also be in the starting gate.
Local interest in the Sprint will mainly be focused on the up and coming Blue Chipper, who drops back to six furlongs having obliterated the track record for a mile at Busan in July.
Barrier draws for both races will be made on Thursday, September 5, while on race day the Korea Sprint is scheduled to start at 3:05pm and the Korea Cup at 4:15pm local Seoul time.
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