The Gr.1 the Korea Cup and Gr.1 Korea Sprint are part of the Korean Autumn Racing Carnival held at Seoul racecourse, is the highlight of the local racing season. The Carnival is still in its infancy 2018. It was hosted for the 3rd time in 2018.
In 2018, Japanese-trained horses emerged victorious in both the Korea Cup & Sprint for the second consecutive time. For London Town in the Cup, it was just as much of a procession as last year but in the Sprint, Moanin had to battle all the way to the line to see off a valiant challenge from Hong Kong’s Fight Hero.
Horse racing in South Korea traces back to May 1898, when a foreign language institute run by the government included a donkey race in its athletic rally. However, this type of racing was sponsored for entertainment purposes. Betting was introduced in the nineteen twenties.
To form a link in the chain of the program to make the most of the Olympic facilities, the government designated the KRA as the organization exclusively responsible for providing the Olympic Equestrian Park. Accordingly, the KRA secured 280 acres (1.1 km2) of the land in Gwacheon area on the southern outskirts of Seoul, and began its construction in 1984 till 1988. After the Olympics, the Park was converted into racing facilities named Seoul Race Park and the first race was held on September 1, 1989. With the opening of the Seoul Race Park, the 36-year-long era of the Ttuksom Racecourse came to an end and the nation's horse racing continued to make great strides.
As part of the efforts to preserve the ponies native to Jeju Island, which has been designated as Natural Monument No. 347, the KRA began the construction of the 180-acre (0.7 km2) Jeju Racecourse at the foot of Mount Halla in October 1987. Three years later in October 1990, the Racecourse opened for pony racing.
As an effort to raise racing quality and promote horseracing nationwide, the KRA started to construct the new thoroughbred racecourse in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea. The racecourse opened in September 2005. The growth of Korean racing and KRA's internationalization efforts have drawn international attention since the beginning of the 2000s. Led by this, in October 2002, the Asian Racing Federation decided to designate South Korea as the host of the 30th Asian Racing Conference in May 2005. Also, in June 2004, the International Cataloguing Standards Committee included Korea as one of the Part III countries and decided to add seven South Korean Grade Races to the Blue Book list starting from 2005.
The Korea Autumn Racing Carnival is the renewed collaboration between the Korean Racing Authority and Keeneland as part of a long-standing tradition to export the best bloodlines to Korea and take its horse racing to world-class status. The participation of horses trained in nine different countries in 2018 year as well as the increased popularity of Korean racing in the US reflects the quality and global recognition the Autumn Carnival has achieved.
Gr.1 Korea Cup (1800m) and Gr.1 Korea Sprint (1200m) are already established as the premier horse racing events on the local calendar.