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THW: Aquamarine II on Sunday

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  25 March 2009, Wednesday

Aquamarine II on Sunday

Once in a while, a racehorse comes along who’s so good that he has dominated the local scene, causing his connections to think of racing him abroad for the challenge of besting other opponents and for fame and fortune.

In recent memory, two horses come to mind – Wind Blown (Hazm-Wind in My Hair) and Ibarra (Yonaguska-Fire Down Under). Their owners – businessman Hermie Esguerra and Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos respectively – thought of bringing these champions to race in Malaysia or Singapore.

It’s too late now for Wind Blown, who was retired some years back, and is proving to be a popular sire at Esguerra’s Herma Stud in Batangas. But Ibarra, who is still an active runner, has a chance to look for a larger arena for his skills.

And now comes Lim Expensive Toys (Giant’s Causeway-Prophet’s Kiss), who has been doing well enough lately that his owner is contemplating racing him in Singapore as well.

Last Sunday at Santa Ana Park, Australian import Lim Expensive Toys was the super outstanding favorite for the Philippine Racing Commission Aquamarine I stakes, the third leg of the Import/Local Challenge series. Run over a mile, there were only four horses in the Aquamarine I – the others were fellow Aussies Ziraz (Aberet-Zariz) and Leave No Doubt (Seignorial-Merbla), as well as Traditional (Traditionally-Another Roof) from New Zealand.


“Aaand they’re off!” in the Philracom Aquamarine I stakes.

Railbirds said, “Segundo nalang ang pinaglalabanan diyan,” and sure enough, the favorite had an easy time, winning handily with a time of 1:42.6 over Santa Ana Park’s heavy track.


Lim Expensive Toys (#4) takes the outside position right after the start.

Third choice Ziraz snagged second place, Leave No Doubt was third, and Traditional, the second favorite, checked in last.


Lim Expensive Toys comes in lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

Ridden by promising young rider John Alvin Guce and trained by Lito Tornandizo, the 4YO chestnut colt owned by Roland Lim is touted to be one of the best imports running today. As the proud connections, their desire is to see Lim Expensive Toys face new challenges by racing abroad.


Guce receives his trophy from Philracom chairman Atty. Joy Rojas. With them are PRC SVP-Finance Allan Abesamis, Tornandizo, and Philracom commissioners Dr. Eyo Fernando and Boboc Domingo.


Sports writer Andy Sevilla¬†accepts the owner’s trophy in behalf of Roland Lim. Sevilla accompanied Lim to the Magic Millions sale at the Gold Coast, Australia, two years ago and recommended the purchase of the Giant’s Causeway colt they named Lim Expensive Toys. With Sevilla are trainer Lito Tornandizo and jockey John Alvin Guce.

However, it will take some time before this is accomplished. The Philippines does not have accreditation yet from international horseracing bodies for quarantine. Meaning, horses from the Philippines cannot be directly exported or sent out of the country.

One way of getting around this is for a horse to be brought to Malaysia, undergo the quarantine procedures there, and proceed to Singapore, with its glitzy tracks and hefty purses.

It’s a logistical challenge.

Meanwhile, speaking of 5YO Ibarra, who last showed off his skills two Sundays ago at San Lazaro Leisure Park by winning the 1900-meter Philracom Commissioner’s Cup, his owner, Mayor Abalos, has high hopes for him this season.

Said Abalos, “We’re waiting for news about the PCSO First Gentleman’s Silver Cup, where we may race Ibarra next. Ngayon bakasyon muna siya, ibabalik ko sa farm for at least two weeks’ rest.”

He revealed that his horse was suffering from pharyngitis the week before the Commissioner’s Cup. “Our veterinarian administered antibiotics, but I had decided to scratch Ibarra from the race if his condition did not improve by the Friday before the race. On that day, a blood test was performed that showed that his system had normalized. So we ran him, and thankfully he won. It’s a redemption for the horse.”

This Sunday, the Philracom Aquamarine II stakes will be held at SLLP over 1500 meters. Open to all local-bred 3YO, it’s a chance for other horses to shine and prove themselves champions of the track as well. ***

Related stories: Sucks

To all JENNYO.NET Readers – My apologies for this site being “down” for so long and so often.

The problem was my webhost – I had been with them ever since I moved my blogs away from a free blog site and put up my own website,, last July 2008.

It was okay for the first several weeks or so. Then the problems started – downtimes occurring regularly throughout the day for several hours. Often, because the server was down, I couldn’t see or access my blogs. I put up with it, thinking it was normal.

Then my IT guy checked my domain registration. Philhosting had charged me for two years’ worth of domain registration, which I paid. They even sent me on July 30 an email confirming my domain registration:

This message is to confirm that your domain purchase has been successful. The details of the domain purchase are below:

Registration Date: 07/29/2008
Registration Period: 2 Year/s
Amount: P900.00 PHP
Next Due Date: 07/29/2010

You may login to your client area at to view the detail.

Sales Department
Philhosting.Net Philippine Web Services

My IT guy found out in September that only one year’s worth had been paid for the domain registration.

I complained to Philhosting. This is what they emailed in response on Sept. 12:


FYI, our system will automatically renew it 15 days before the expiration date, that if you CHOOSE the domain to register in 2 year. Then we will billed you an invoice for 2 year.

Not only is the message grammatically incorrect, it also doesn’t make sense. And they misled me because they failed to explain all this in the first place. As the first email claimed, my “domain purchase” was “successful” with a “registration period of 2 year/s”.

They followed up later on by another email:

Hi! has been successfully renewed.

If my IT guy hadn’t checked, we wouldn’t have known that had paid only one year’s worth of my registration, although they had billed me for two years’ worth!

From there it became worse. Downtimes became more frequent, stretching from several hours for weeks in a row to entire days at a time. But their billings for the monthly fee were always prompt and up to date.

The last straw was during the holiday break. My site was down for five days. On Jan. 5 they said:

Hi jennifer,

your site is working fine now.

There is a problem happened this past holidays where some of our DNS server has been attacked that cause erratic server connection that affects clients site hosted in the server that has been attacked. This problem is already fixed and servers connection are now back to normal.


“Attacked”? What, they don’t have security for their clients’ data?

The last straw was this late January. My site was down for five days again. I was given the run-around. I called a tech, who told me again that their servers had “been attacked” and that “Admin” was just “making sure that everything was okay” before restoring the servers.

Last Friday, this same guy said over the phone that he would “ask Admin” to “restart the server” and he would ask if my blog could be “permanently up”.

What the…?!

That was it. That Friday, my IT guy transferred my content to a different webhost. So far my site is running smoothly there.

I gave every chance to fix it and make it right with me. Sadly, they gave me the worst service and the most horrible experience I have ever had with any company or service provider that I have dealt with.

I am very happy to be free of them. I just wish I had done my research before signing up with them in the first place. Google “philhosting sucks” and see what comes up. If only I had known this sooner!

In the six months I was with, it cost me a lot in terms of readership lost, etc. Much of my hard work in building up my site was wasted.

And since did not give me my oft-requested c-panel backup, my IT guy could only get my data out as XML files. Meaning I have to reconstruct my widgets from scratch all over again. That’s why my sites look so bare.

What a waste of time, effort, and money – all because a service provider that I trusted and paid hard-earned money to dicked around with my account and failed me.

The bright side is – there are alternatives. They are not the only webhost in the country, or on the planet for that matter.

There are choices. I could either stay with them and let them keep treating me like s**t, or I could stand up for my rights as a consumer, fire them, and find someone else who could deliver the services I paid for.

Sadly, a company with potential for a bright and profitable future is frittering it away with their horrible service. IT is a tough world; they have a lot of competitors. If they can’t deliver what they charge their clients for, then eventually they will lose their clients. It’s a fact of business. It’s their lookout.

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