Archive of ‘Manila Standard-Today: Sports News’ category

SN: Trillanes scores Cojuangco for sports “mess”

SPORTS NEWS By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 6 February 2014, Thursday


Trillanes scores Cojuangco for sports “mess”

Senator Antonio Trillanes blamed Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. for the current poor state of Philippine sports in a hearing of the Senate Games and Amusements Committee yesterday.

The meeting was to discuss and deliberate on two proposed Senate bills. Trillanes’s Senate Bill No. (SBN) 649 advocates the creation of a Department of Sports, while Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s SBN 2019 seeks to create a National Academy of Sports as an attached agency of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

Present at the hearing were Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Games and Amusements Committee, and heads and officials from various government agencies, including the PSC and POC.

PSC Commissioner Jose Luis R. Gomez gave a presentation on the current state of Philippine sports. He pointed out that Filipino athletes have high potential for success, but that lack of funding and equipment, low salaries, and outdated facilities are hampering their development.

POC Chairman Tom T. Carrascoso Jr. and POC Executive Director Cynthia Carrion also answered questions from Angara, but came under fire from Trillanes.

Trillanes alleged, “the big problem is Peping Cojuangco in the POC…he played politics…he messed it up” and called the POC and PSC officials “lackeys” and “rubberstamps” of Cojuangco.

Carrion sprang to Cojuangco’s defense, saying “I’m not a lackey of Peping Cojuangco, but I think he’s doing a good job.” It is Cojuangco’s third term as POC head; he has served since 2005.

Trillanes pointed out that the Philippines’ ranking in the South East Asian Games  (SEA Games) steadily declined during Cojuangco’s watch – from first place in 2005 (an achievement “inherited”, he said, from former POC president Celso Dayrit, who served from 1999 to 2004), to 5th in 2007, 6th in 2009, and 7th in 2013.

The irate senator told Carrion, “Let’s thank him [Cojuangco] for bringing us to 7th place from 1st [in the SEA Games], ” adding “defending Cojuangco is untenable…I’m trying to restrain myself.”

He cited several problems that he ascribed to Cojuangco. Chess grandmaster Wesley So was not recognized by the PSC nor the PSC because “he defied Cojuangco” and was thus not allowed to join the SEA Games.

The Philippine Dragon Boat team, for the same reason, was not included among the teams that competed in the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, despite being a consistent medal winner.

In table tennis, Trillanes’s sport, he pointed to “ghost tournaments” being run by an associate of Cojuangco and funded by the PSC.

Trillanes made similar explosive remarks in October 2013 during a meeting of a Senate sub-committee that was deliberating the PSC’s budget proposal for 2014.

At that meeting, he announced that he filed a malversation case before the Office of the Ombudsman against Cojuangco, Garcia, and other officials of the PSC and the POC for allegedly releasing funds to bogus national sports associations (NSA).

Trillanes’s proposal to create a Department of Sports, he said, will address the need for youth and sports development programs from the grassroots level, and do away with the PSC.

“There are ‘untouchables’ in Philippine sports,” he said. “Gusto nating basagin iyan [we want to break that].” ***

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Race Tax Bill Passes Lower House

Race tax bill passes Lower House

By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 20 May 2009, Wednesday

 (Banner story on the Sports page. Last two paragraphs below omitted from published story due to space constraints.)

“It’s a landmark day for the racing industry.”

This was the comment of Palawan Rep. Abraham Mitra yesterday when the House of Representatives Ways and Means and Games and Amusements Committees approved House Bill 4176 that he authored.

The law rationalizes direct taxes on exotic bets which at present make Philippine horseracing, taxed at 20%, among the highest-taxed even among its counterparts abroad. With other deductions such as those for track take and prize money, the total tax rate for exotic bets soars to about 35%.

Exotic bets include the Winner-Take-All, Pick 6, Pick 5, superfecta, supersix, pentafecta, quartet, and triple trifecta. Direct taxes on these are the documentary stamp tax at 10% and the tax on winnings at 10%.

Cong. Mitra’s bill, incorporating policy suggestions from the Philippine Racing Commission, will cut the taxes on exotic bets by half to mirror the present tax rate on special bets – daily double, forecast, double quinella, trifecta, daily double plus one, extra double, and win – which are taxed 5% for DST and 4% for tax on winnings.

In his presentation before the two House committees, Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II pointed out that every time taxes on racing were reduced, industry gross sales and government revenue increased. “When Executive Order 194 was passed in 1987,” said Rojas, “reducing direct taxes on special bets, gross sales reached a billion pesos for the first  time the following year. A positive impact was felt immediately.”


Slide from the Philracom presentation showing the tax structure that passed muster (highlighted in yellow).

He added that paradoxically, when taxes are increased, revenues plunged. This occurred several times – when Presidential Decree 1947 increased the DST to 10%; in 1984 when PD 1959 doubled the DST to 20%, causing racing operations to cease for a time due to the prohibitive tax burden; and in 1993 when Republic Act 7660 increased the DST from 5% to 10% on special bets.

According to House Games and Amusements Committee chairman and Manila congressman Amado Bagatsing, the bill “will greatly benefit the betting public because more funds will be available for payouts. This in turn would weaken illegal bookie operations because they would not be able to match the higher payouts that the racing clubs will give under this scheme.”

Tarlac congressman Jeci Lapus agreed, saying that “this will be a big boost to the development of the horseracing and breeding industry. Increased sales will be an incentive for more players to invest in the sport by way of horses, infrastructure, and off-track betting stations.”

Cong. Mitra expressed his pleasure on the support his bill received from his colleagues in the Lower House, saying, “We expect this to encourage wider public participation and an increase in probable stakeholders, leading to jobs generation for trainers, jockeys, grooms, and other workers in the industry, and other economic benefits.”

The bill still has to undergo the scrutiny of the Senate before it passes into law.   ***

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Go Army Out of Race

Go Army Out of Race

By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 12 May 2009, Tuesday

(Back sports page; last two paragraphs below omitted from published version)

 It’s a wide-open competition for Triple Crown I honors on May 17 at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, with the withdrawal of classy chestnut colt Go Army from the first leg of the most prestigious racing event for 3YO local thoroughbreds.

Go Army (Mr. Sutter – J’Approve), bred by his owner Herminio S. Esguerra at his own Herma Farms and Stud in Lipa, Batangas, earned top honors during his juvenile campaign last year.

Despite a string of setbacks this year that marred his perfect 2YO record, Go Army is still one of the best-regarded 3YO horses in the country and was considered as one of the favourites going into this summer’s Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored Triple Crown series.

Reliable sources confirmed that Go Army connections submitted the requisite scratching form at the Philracom office today. The reason for the scratching was given as “bruised sole”, a catch-all phrase that connotes an injury, soreness, or other condition that prevents a horse from running in optimum condition.

 Sources revealed that Go Army incurred an injury in one leg after running in a tune-up race last May 3 at Santa Ana Park, which he won. This was during the same racing week that saw thirteen horses injured at the track, with four of them eventually breaking down and having to be humanely destroyed. The poor track condition was blamed for Go Army’s stressed leg.

 Veteran jockey Antonio Alcasid Jr., who steered Go Army to victory in the tune-up race and was declared to partner him again in the Triple Crown I, will be riding Go Army’s stablemate Go Navy instead in that race.

 Two other Philracom stakes races will also be held on May 17 at Santa Ana Park. The Hopeful I, the auxiliary race to the Triple Crown, is less one competitor with the scratching of Key Joshua. The Bonifacio Mantilla-owned colt went lame after a workout last week.

 In the Emerald I, the final lineup includes four horses – Tony de Ubago’s Chariot of Fire, Aristeo Puyat’s Cutting Edge, Lorraine Uy Wi’s Don Enrico, and Roberto Yutadco’s Speed Almighty. ***

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Track Condition Deplored

Track Condition Deplored

By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, Saturday, 9 May 2009

 (Banner story on the Sports page.)

The largest horseowners’ organization in the country reacted strongly to a spate of accidents that occurred last week at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite,

From Wednesday to Sunday last week, four horses incurred severe injuries that necessitated their humane destruction. On Wednesday, Sun Chaser suffered a complete compound fracture of the distal third metacarpal bone of the off-forelimb. On Saturday, Midnight King had a fracture of the humerus of the off shoulder and What About Andee, a complete compound fracture of the distal third cannon bone of the near-fore. On Sunday, Fantasy Angel suffered a dislocation of the fetlock joint on the off-fore.

Nine other horses – Time Deposit, Miss Malabon, Bumpy Johnson, Tiger Raffy, I Remain, Hugs and Kisses, Winking Eye, Raven, and Doña Marucha – were found to be limping after their races.

Worse were the injuries suffered by the jockeys – Mark Alvarez, unseated off Midnight King on Saturday, was unable to ride the rest of the weekend. Egay Lumagui, who fell off What About Andee on Saturday, is still in the ICU unit of M. V. Santiago Hospital in Trece Martirez, Cavite.

According to the New Philippine Jockeys’ Association, Lumagui suffered a blood clot in the brain and could not speak coherently or comprehend until yesterday. Today, one of his physicians, Dr. Pinky Isaac, says his condition has improved, and the clot is expected to diffuse on its own without need for surgery.

According to Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners president Mandaluyong Mayor lawyer Benhur Abalos, jockeys and trainers said heavy rains at the track last Thursday may have caused the sand of the track surface to settle unevenly, which could have led to the rash of accidents. 

Abalos sent a letter in behalf of MARHO to PRC management saying, “PRC needs to be more prudent with their safety measures. These accidents are very alarming.”

He added that the racing club needs to assure horseowners that their track is in a fit condition for this coming PRC racing week, especially since three Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored stakes races will be held there on May 17 – the Emerald I, the Hopeful I, and the highly-prestigious Triple Crown I for local 3YO horses.

MARHO director Jose Mari Franco lauded Abalos’ move, and noted that “horrendous” conditions at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite, also need to be investigated. “My horse Spanish Ruler hit a lubak there two weeks ago and suffered multiple slab fractures on the right knee and can never run again.” 

For their part, the racing clubs are acting to improve the condition of their tracks. The outer track of SLLP’s twin tracks have been undergoing rehabilitation for some weeks now, with repair of the inner track to follow.

PRC Racing Manager Dan Valmonte said that in coordination with jockeys Lyndon Guce and Edwin de la Cruz of the jockeys’ association, an inspection was made of their Santa Ana Park track a few days ago with the jockeys pointing to what they said were soft spots.

“We took up the surface at the spots they pointed out,” said Valmonte, “but we found nothing wrong with the layers; everything was intact.”

He added that the rains caused the track surface to harden. “What we will do is harrow the track with a roto-tiller to restore the surface to the condition it was before the rains – a bit soft. Track times may slow down, but we will do all we can to ensure the safety of race participants. Everything is being done to have the track ready for the next racing week.”   ***

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Equine Care Seminar Held

Equine Care Seminar Held   

By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 28 April 2009, Tuesday

(This story appeared in the paper in edited form.)

Race horse owners’ group Klub Don Juan de Manila recently spearheaded an equine seminar that presented aspects of horse care and training to horsemen in the country.

The guest speaker, Australian veterinarian Ross Teitzel, discussed yearling selection, conformation and balance, diet, and workouts, among other topics.


Dr. Teitzel presents to over 70 attendees.



Equine nutritionist Greg Manley of Australia’s Hy-Gain Feeds also spoke about horse digestion and nutrition.

It was one of the few rare times that representatives from the various equine sports – racing, equestrian, and polo – converged for one event. Among the attendees were Pampanga congressman Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, chairman of KDJM, and Equestrian Association of the Philippines director Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, equestrian champion.


Ms. Cojuangco-Jaworski watches as her groom (left) and Herma Farms and Stud veterinarian Dr. Karlo Santos (dark green shirt, right) put her horse through a test, while Dr. Ross Teitzel (back) observes.

Held last April 20 at the Manila Polo Club, the seminar was co-sponsored by two other racing groups, Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners and Philippine Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Organization.

Said KDJM president Lamberto C. Almeda Jr., “We plan to host more events of a similar nature that will be of interest and benefit to the participants of equine sports in the country.” ***


Among the seminar attendees at the MPC’s “The Last Chukker” restaurant, the event venue, were trainer Dong Velasquez, New Philippine Jockeys’ Association president and veteran rider Antonio Alcasid Jr., trainer Gil Pansoy, Philracom commissioner and former star jockey Eduardo Domingo Jr., and NPJA director jockey Gilbert Francisco.


Seminar attendees observe the hands-on evaluation conducted by Dr. Teitzel.


KDJM president Lamberto “Jun” Almeda, trainer Jess Pabilic, KDJM directors  Robert Francisco and Atty. Alex Carandang, KDJM chairman Pampanga congressman Mikey Arroyo, C. Mano of Singapore, Dr. Teitzel, KDJM member Nani Almeda, and KDJM treasurer VG Martinez.


Among the other guests were (extreme left) Ms. Cojuangco-Jaworski, MPC’s Ms. Mia Virata, Hy-gain’s Greg Manley (with glasses), Caloocan councillor and MARHO member Maca Asistio (orange shirt), KDJM officer Alvin Ferreras (behind him), and Philtobo and MARHO director Manny Santos (extreme right).

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Jockey Banned for Life

Jockey Banned for Life

By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 26 April 2009, Monday

(Banner story on the back, or sports, page. The last paragraph below was omitted from the published version.)

Suspended horseracing jockey Jonathan Hernandez is banned for life from the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

This was announced last April 22 by MJC chairman lawyer Alfonso Reyno Jr. “Hernandez is banned from the premises, and from participating in workouts and anything racing-related at SLLP,” said Reyno. The ban is total – the disgraced rider will not be permitted to work horses, watch races from SLLP’s Turf Club, nor use its other facilities like the restaurants or casino.

Reyno added that the ban shows MJC’s commitment to clean racing.

 This move by MJC follows the Philippine Racing Commission’s recent affirmation of Hernandez’s one-year suspension. The Philippine Racing Club Board of Stewards slapped the suspension on the star jockey for “deliberately losing the race” last April 3 at Santa Ana Park , when Hernandez eased up on outstanding favorite Blue Ocean before the wire in Race 8 that evening, allowing lightly-regarded Boot Legs, ridden by John Paul Guce, to come from behind and grab the win.

Hernandez’s actions were in violation of PR (Philippine racing rules) 12 Sec. A, which state that a rider shall be penalized for 52 racing weeks if he “deliberately loses a race in any manner whatsoever or by pulling or stopping his mount without justifiable reason”.

Hernandez has admitted to “overconfidence”, but denies any malicious intent in his ride.

Hernandez was the 2006 and 2008 Jockey of the Year awardee of the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association and topped 2008 Philracom rankings among jockeys, with an estimated personal income of around P5 million from almost P42 million in horse prize money earned for that year alone.

At least one other jockey has been banned by MJC “for life” – Jeffril Zarate, who was suspended by the Manila Jockey Club Board of Stewards in 2006 for one year for throwing away weights before a stakes race. However, after the completion of his suspension, Zarate, upon the intercession of an influential horseowner, was allowed to ride again at SLLP.

Reliable sources say that Hernandez is upset about MJC’s ban, especially since the infraction he committed took place at PRC and not at MJC, unlike Zarate’s offense. PRC has not made any move so far to similarly ban Hernandez from their facilities at Naic, Cavite. A source there opined that the jockey’s one year suspension from active riding is “punishment enough”.

The rider is now finalizing plans to ride in the Middle East or elsewhere abroad for the duration of his suspension. His other options include filing an appeal with the Philracom after three months, or with Malacañang, a privilege provided for in Presidential Decree 420, the act that created the Philracom. ***

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