THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 8 April 2015, Wednesday
Summer prize bonanza
The Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) launched an incentivized Summer Racing Festival program as a strategy to maintain or increase the number of entries in regular races.
“We have observed,” said Philracom Chairman Andrew A. Sanchez, “that during the summer months, sales are reduced due to fewer horses participating in racemeets.”
Summer is when horses are regularly spelled (generally, this means being sent to the ranches for vacation); this reduces the available horse population for racing.
In addition, high temperatures may cause epistaxis (nosebleeds) in horses. To reduce the incidence of this, horseowners and trainers opt to run their horses in fewer races or spell them for the entirety or part of the summer.
However, fewer entries may mean fewer races on the card and smaller field sizes, making races less interesting for aficionados.
“To entice owners to run their horses,” said Sanchez, “Philracom will be providing an added prize of P20,000 to the winners of races under this program.”
In Philracom’s Resolution No. 11-15 dated 25 March 2015, included in the Summer Racing Festival, which will run from April 7 to May 15, are class-division races, three each day from Tuesday to Friday, and four each Saturday and Sunday, for a total of twenty races each week.
Races picked for the Summer Racing Festival will no longer be placed under Philracom’s regular incentive program, which provides an added prize of P5,000 to the winner of class-division races.
Under the regular incentive program are four class-division races each weekday from Tuesday to Friday and five each Saturday and Sunday.
Also as part of its Summer Racing Festival, Philracom is sponsoring a 1,300-meter 3YO Condition Race on April 12 at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, with a prize of P300,000 allocated from first to fourth places.
Philippine Racing Club, Inc. (PRCI), owner and operator of Santa Ana Park, in support of Philracom’s initiative, will be providing an additional prize of P15,000 to the winner of races held at its track that are not included in the Philracom Summer Racing Festival program.
PRCI Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Allan V. Abesamis, in a letter to Philracom, said that they will place 73 Santa Ana Park races from April 11 to May 13 under their incentive program, and release a total of nearly P1.1 million in added prize money from for this purpose.
For this program, priority will be given to free handicapped races.
With these generous offers from Philracom and PRCI, will the other two tracks – Manila Jockey Club and Metro Turf Racecourse – follow suit and come up with their own summer incentive schemes?
Even with just the added prizes from Philracom and PRCI, race participants are already looking at a prize bonanza this summer – will this be enough enticement for them to run their horses?
Concerns as to the health of horses and jockeys may be partially addressed by the usual practice of moving the races to an hour or two later on weekend afternoons, avoiding the worst heat of day. * * *