LetsRun Park in Korea makes efforts to popularize horse racing overseas


Horse racing, which was once among the most popular American and European sports, has lost much of its reputation in the second half of the 20th century. A Harris poll, held in January 2016, found that horse racing is now ranked 13th among popular American sports and only 1% of Americans listed it as their favorite; compared to 1985, when it was ranked 8th with 4% of people calling it their favorite. According to the Jockey Club, with so many new gambling and entertainment options, people are losing interest in horse racing. However, racing industry in all countries is not falling.

On the contrary, horse racing is the most popular sport and one of its residents’ biggest passions in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has over 150 years of horse racing history. The sport was introduced by the British in 1842, but official racing only began in 1884 with the establishment of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, a non-profit organization that contributes its betting revenues to charity and community projects. It is also the largest taxpayer in Hong Kong. In 1971, following the discovery that several horses had been doped, horse racing turned professional. Horse racing in Japan is a popular equestrian sport with more than 21,000 horse races held each year. The reason the Japanese racing industry is so much healthier and more popular than any of its counterparts is about much more than the quality of the horses. It’s the system. Nothing happens outside the purview of the Japan Racing Association, a public company in charge of the country’s biggest tracks, betting parlors, and training centers, and the licensing of jockeys, trainers, owners, even veterinarians.


There are many tracks all over the world but only a few are known as the biggest and best, hosting the most popular horse races known such as the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. Churchill Downs is one of the premier thoroughbred racecourses in the USA. The facilities and race track spread over 147 acres with the twin spires grandstand becoming a symbol for the famous track and the derby. The Santa Anita racecourse in California is home to some of the most prominent racing events in the USA. The race track and facilities are of the highest quality and boast the beautiful backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.

South Korea has also made various efforts to become an advanced country in horse racing. A new name for ‘LetsRun Park’ is running a horse riding healing-center, the Nol-lounge, the Baro-market, a theme park and a horse museum. In some cases, there are more people who come to enjoy other facilities than those who come to enjoy horse racing. LetsRun Park is not a non-profit organization like the Hong Kong’s Jazz Club but 16% of horse racing revenue is taxed, and 70% of profits are made to society. They are contributing to social contribution such as raising jobs, livestock development, and welfare of farming and fishing villages through the horse industry. This can solve problems such as social recognition, increase in content, and aging of racing fans. The company hopes that the horse industry will become a family-based entertainment rather than an image of gambling.


They are making efforts to globalize the Korean horse racing industry by participating in the world tournament, entering the Korean horse race overseas, and holding the international competition (Korea Cup). In March, the Korean racehorse ‘Triple Nine’ entered the final round in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Dubai World Cup, and on July 22, ‘Mr. Crow’ achieves great victory at the Maiden Special Weight (MSW) racing event in the Saratoga Racecourse. Additionally, LetsRun Park sold a racing screen with ‘Sky Racing World’ which is the US horse racing Export Company, and contracted to export to racing, which received a commission based on the sale of local book mark. LetsRun Park will continue to make various efforts to improve the horse racing industry, globalization and social awareness.

Dean Lee
Irene Kim
K-Herald Korea
(Los Angeles Times Advertising Supplement)