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Horse racing in Korea traces back to May 1898, when a foreign-language institute run by the government held a donkey race on its sports day.

1910s - 1920s

In April 1914, the first race meeting in the country that was open to the public for entertainment purposes was held. No betting was conducted. Horse racing involving a betting system made its debut in the 1920s and in 1922, Joseon Racing Club was established as the nation’s first authorised racing club.

In 1933, a decree allowing only incorporated racing clubs to conduct horse racing was promulgated, Joseon Horse Racing Association (non-governmental) was established to oversee and regulate the incorporated racing clubs across the nation.

Joseon Racing Association, the governmental regulatory body was established in 1942, and the association was renamed "Korea Racing Association (KRA)" in 1949.

1930s - 1940s
1950s - 1960s

The development of horse racing was undermined by the Korean War which broke out in 1950, resulting in great turmoil for Korean society. Racecourses were used for military training and horse racing came to an abrupt halt during this period.

With the construction of the Ttukseom racecourse in Seoul during the war and opening in May 1954, horse racing activities in South Korea were resumed. The Ttukseom racecourse served as the hub of Korean horse racing until it was relocated to the modern racecourse in Gwacheon in 1989.

The enactment of the Korea Racing Association Law in 1962 provided a legal basis to Korean horse racing.

Pari-mutuel bets were tallied manually until a computerized pari-mutuel betting system was established in 1984, and at the same time, horse racing was televised in colour, both on and off-course.

The Olympic Equestrian Park which was constructed in 1984 for the Olympics was converted into a racing facility named "Seoul Racecourse" with the first race held on 1 September 1989.

1970s - 1980s

In June 2004, the International Cataloguing Standards Committee designated South Korea as one of the Part III countries and decided to add seven Korean Grade Races to the Blue Book list, starting from 2005.

Korea held the 30th Asian Racing Conference in May 2005.

The Busan racecourse was opened in April 2005 and the Korea Racing Association was renamed Korea Racing Authority as the regulatory authority governing horse racing activities in the nation.

Racing in Korea

Thoroughbred flat races regulated under the Korea Racing Authority (KRA) are conducted at the Seoul and BusanGyeongnam racecourses weekly on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with some exceptions on national holidays. There are 12-16 races on a race day, with an interval of 25-60 minutes between them.

From mid-July to mid-August, when the temperature is very high, races take place at night to protect the horses from the heat and to provide a more comfortable environment for the racing fans.

Track Information

Left-Handed Track: 2 Sand Tracks

Outer track - 1,800m(L) ; 25m(W)
Inner track - 1,600m(L) ; 25m(W)
Homestretch - 450m(L) ; 30m(W)

(Images and information copyright of Korea Racing Authority)

Left-Handed Track: 3 Sand Tracks

Outer track - 2,000m(L) ; 25m(W)
Inner track - 1,470m(L) ; 25m(W)
Homestretch - 500m(L) ; 25m(W)
Training track - 1,300m(L) ; 20m(W)

(Images and information copyright of Korea Racing Authority)

Race System

The basic structure of Korean thoroughbred racing consists of a binary system of domestic and foreign-bred horses. Taking other conditions into account, such as prize money earnings and age, the races are further divided.

Grade-Open Races: 8 to 16 runners
Listed: 8 to 14 runners
Others: 8 to 14 runners*

* Maximum field size for other races subject to changes according to season and/or distance.

Class Rating Band
1 81 & above Korean & foreign bred
2 66-80 Korean & foreign bred
3 51-65 Korean & foreign bred
4 36-50 Korean & foreign bred – all new foreign bred horses will be classified as Class 4 with a rating of 40 (2023~)
5 35 & below Korean bred
6 Unrated New & unrated Korean bred horses racing under Set Weights

In 2004, KRA introduced its own grade system for thoroughbred racing. The Grade Races have been included and listed in PART III of the International Cataloguing Standards Committee (ICSC)'s Blue Book since 2005. This year, there were 13 Grade Races (eight in Seoul, five in Busan).

Outline KRA

Ranking for the Past Season (Year 2023)

Seoul Racecourse

Trainer Win 2nd 3rd Total Runs
Seo In SeokSeo In Seok 57 47 47 486
Park Jong KonPark Jong Kon 55 34 29 271
Song Moon GilSong Moon Gil 46 37 52 369

BusanGyeongnam Racecourse

Trainer Win 2nd 3rd Total Runs
Baik Kwang YeolBaik Kwang Yeol 60 65 36 429
Kim Young KwanKim Young Kwan 56 32 34 249
Kwon Sung JuKwon Sung Ju 51 51 45 469

Seoul Racecourse

Jockey Win 2nd 3rd Total Rides
Moon Se YoungMoon Se Young 66 76 39 326
Lee HyeokLee Hyeok 56 57 53 401
Kim Yong GeunYoo Sueng Wan 54 39 50 355

BusanGyeongnam Racecourse

Jockey Win 2nd 3rd Total Rides
Seo Seung UnSeo Seung Un 106 56 56 416
Francisco Da SilvaFrancisco Da Silva 74 58 57 416
Choi Si DaeChoi Si Dae 73 61 44 471
You can find the latest Korea racing information at the RACING | KRA website.