Archive of ‘Misc’ category

THW: Tri-Org Racefests: It’s a Go in 2013

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 7 August 2013, Wednesday

 

Tri-Org Racefests: It’s a Go in 2013

The three horseowners’ organizations – Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners (MARHO), Philippine Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Organization (Philtobo), and Klub Don Juan de Manila (KDJM) – decided to push through with the staging of their iconic racing festivals this year.

The three groups, collectively known as the “Tri-Org”, said that they have decided to hold their racefests at their usual venues for the two days allotted to each racing club every week.

The test case for the “two-day racefest” model will be the 5th Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing (RDB) Memorial Cup, to be held at the Manila Jockey Club’s (MJC) San Lazaro Leisure Park on the two days allotted to that raceclub next week – Thursday, August 15, and Sunday, August 18.

KDJM will be the first to hold their event, in October, followed by MARHO in November and Philtobo in December.

More details will be announced in the coming weeks as the Tri-Org finalize the preparations for their respective events.

* * * * *

Speaking of the RDB Cup, the event staged by the Bagatsing family in honor of their late clan patriarch sparked huge interest in horseowners, who submitted over 800 “intents” (potential entries) for August 18.

The average number of intents for a day is less than 200. “That means,” said MJC Racing Manager Jose Ramon “Ding” C. Magboo, “the 800 intents the event received is almost equivalent to the number of intents we usually get for an entire raceweek.”

RDB scions Manila Congressman Amado S. Bagatsing and his brother lawyer Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr. were gratified by the news. “That’s like sixty horses wanting to enter each of the event’s races!” exclaimed the congressman.

The RDB Cup’s major sponsors are Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Racing Commission, and Resorts World Manila.

Other supporters are Solaire Resort and Casino, Belle Corporation, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Midas Hotel, Tiger Resort and Leisure, Congressman Albee Benitez, EEG Development Corporation, Mr. Bing Tecson, Atty. Narciso Morales, Red Bull, Andok’s, All –Tech/Ridgemont Feeds, and San Juan Coliseum.

***

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KL: Mowelfund Race

KARERA LANG! by Jenny Ortuoste for Bandera, 12 May 2012, Saturday

Mowelfund Race

May matagal nang tradisyon ang karera sa kawang-gawa, sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaroon ng mga charity races kung saan ang makakalap na pondo ay ido-donate sa beneficiary na tao or organisasyon.

Ayon kay sa dating presidente ng Klub Don Juan de Manila, Lamberto “Jun” Almeda Jr., ang KDJM ay sponsor ng one-day racing festival sa Mayo 13 sa San Lazaro Leisure Park.

Tinaguriang “Tulong sa Mowelfund”, ang proceeds ng 11 o 12 karera para sa araw na iyon ay mapupunta sa grupong tumululong sa mga movie industry workers.

“Maraming mga artista ang dadalo,” ani Almeda. “Pupunta raw si Lorna Tolentino at Philip Salvador upang ihandog ang mga tropeo para sa Rudy Fernandez Cup, in honor ng yumaong aktor; ang race sponsor ay si Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr.”

Dagdag ni Almeda na baka rin humabol sa racefest sina Dingdong Dantes at Marian Rivera.

* * * * *

Binanggit din ni Almeda na nagkaroon ng eleksiyon ng bagong opisyales ang KDJM noong Abril 16, at ang bagong presidente ng grupo ay si Antonio “Tonyboy” Eleazar.

Si Almeda ay malimit tumulong sa industriya, at ang isang nais niyang makita ay ang pagpaparami ng mga bagong horseowners.

“Inaanyayahan namin ang mga mahilig sa karera na maging bahagi nito sa pamamagitan ng pag-i-invest sa sport na ito bilang horseowners, na kailangan natin lalo sa nalalapit nang pagbukas ng pangatlong karerahan sa Batangas.”

Sa kasalukuyan, dalawa ang operating na karerahan, parehong nasa Cavite – ang SLLP ng Manila Jockey Club sa Carmona at ang Santa Ana Park ng Philippine Racing Club sa Naic.

Ang pangatlo ay ang Metro Manila Turf Club na tinatayo ngayon sa Malvar, Batangas, proyekto ng horseowner-breeder at negosyanteng Dr Norberto Quisumbing Jr.

Ayon din kay Almeda, may trial workout sa MMTC noong Abril 28.

Malamang hindi na rin malayo ang pagbukas ng karerahang ito.

Karera lang – walang personalan!  ***

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New Philracom Board

Philracom wishes to announce the composition of the new Philracom Board: Chairman Angel L. Castaño Jr. and Commissioners Atty. Vic Tantoco, Dr. Reynaldo Fernando, Mr Jesus Cantos, Mr Lyndon Guce, and Mr Franco Loyola.

The turnover/oathtaking ceremony was held today at Philracom.

Chairman Castaño was formerly the Manila Jockey Club chairman of the board of stewards. Atty. Tantoco and Mr. Cantos are horseowners. Dr. Fernando is an equine veterinarian. Mr. Guce is a professional jockey. Mr. Loyola is not from the horseracing industry.

Except for Mr. Loyola, the new board members have been involved in the industry in various capacities for many years. We wish them the best of luck.

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THW: A Sense of Racing History

THE HOARSE WHISPERER  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  29 June 2011, Wednesday

A Sense of Racing History       

Filipinos in general don’t have a sense of history.

True or false?

In my experience, I’ve found this to be true, more often than not. Sadly for those who do appreciate the past, the horseracing milieu does not keep memorabilia, ephemera, pictures, clippings, and other tokens of the past. There isn’t even an archive of early races. I envy US racing, which has footage of races from as far back as the 1930s, and even older than that, perhaps. We can watch Seabiscuit and Man O’War run over and over. We can still view Secretariat race each succeeding quarter of the 1973 Kentucky Derby faster than the one before it, and be wrapped up in the display of power, speed, and sheer joy in running.

Yet we do not even have footage of our own champion horses like Triple Crown sweepsters Fair and Square, Time Master, Sun Dancer – and I’m just talking the’80s.

Thankfully, the present management of the racing clubs – Philippine Racing Club and Manila Jockey Club – have kept copies since the change of management and ownership in the ‘90s and the advent of the digital age. CDs and DVDs take up less space and are easier to manage than other forms of video storage.

However, the loss of our precious racing heritage is still deplorable. Apart from the lack of archives, there aren’t any books on racing. The gap needs to be filled. But because the racing community is so small, there aren’t a lot of people who can write about the topic with authority and creativity, who can make such a vibrant and dynamic subculture such as this one come alive for readers.

But one can always hope that this situation will change in the future.

*****

 What’s got me in a nostalgic mood? Last June 24, that’s what. Araw ng Maynila. The traditional date for the running of what used to be one of the most significant races on the calendar – the Gran Copa de Manila, once staged at MJC’s San Lazaro Hippodrome in Tayuman.

The Hippodrome was a lovely Art Deco grandstand, designed by National Artist architect Juan Nakpil, that had become unkempt and shabby through the decades and was torn down to make way for an SM Mall and other modern high-rise buildings. The development has beat back inner-city decay somewhat and contributed positively to the area economy, but yet again it shows how little Filipinos value history, and the beauty of historical artifacts and structures.

When MJC moved to a much larger site in Carmona, Cavite, in 2003, the Gran Copa was held only until in 2006. (Supercolt Real Spicy won that year.) Too bad. That’s another bit of history that’s lost in the past.   ***

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THW: Jockeys Day 2011

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 4 May 2011, Wednesday

Jockeys Day 2011

Now an annual tradition, the New Philippine Jockeys Day rolls around once more in its eight incarnation, inciting anticipation in the hearts of true-blue racing aficionados.

To be held the event’s home track, the Philippine Racing Club, Inc.’s Santa Ana Park  on May 7, Saturday, the action will take place not only on one day, despite the title of the event. Organized by the New Philippine Jockeys Association, “Jockeys Day” will cover Friday and Saturday, with both days crammed with special races.

It is a fundraising activity, with net proceeds paying for the medical expenses of seriously injured and disabled jockeys undergoing treatment for injuries sustained during regular races and morning workouts.

All eight races on May 6, Friday are sponsored and titled races. The highlight activity, backed by the Philippine Racing Commission, is the Jockeys Cup on Saturday, a mile race. The ten other races on the card that day will be named for the various sponsors. Each winning groom in those ten races will receive an added cash prize of P1,500, from longtime horseowner Tarlac congressman Jeci Aquino Lapus.

According to PRCI assistant vice-president and racing manager Dan Valmonte, two PRCI-supported races will be run on Saturday, each with an added purse of P50,000 distributed from first to fourth places. One of them, a 1,300-meter race, is also dubbed the first leg of the PRCI Invitational Challenge Series.

The other races on Saturday will be of varying distances, depending on what groups of horses have the most entries come declaration day.

In Philippine horseracing, horses are grouped according to past performance (and therefore ability at a given time) in “class divisions”. Older and less able horses, and those in the elite ranks, tend to be raced over shorter distances, to maintain soundness and reduce the risk of injury.

So-called “iron horses” in the lower groups and elite horses may choose to compete over longer distances, usually in stakes races that offer much higher prizes than usual, giving more incentive for the risk exposure.

The 2011 Jockeys Day sponsors are: Philracom, PRCI, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners, Klub Don Juan de Manila, Don Antonio Floirendo Sr., Cong. Jeci Lapus, Mayor Eddie Dimacuha, Coun. Marvin Rillo, SC Stock Farm, Ultra Mega Multi-Sales, Mr Nathaniel Velasco, Dr Pinky Isaac, Mr Danny Nicdao, Mr Napoleon Magno, Mr Luis Chuidian, Mr Joseph Dyhengco, and Mr Manny Pangilinan.

“Because of their generosity,” said NPJA president Antonio Alcasid Jr., “we are able to put up added cash prizes of P5,000 for each winning jockey during the event.”

Other incentives, Alcasid added, are the “Longshot Jockey” prize of P5,000, given to the jockey who boots home the winning horse that’s had the least money wagered upon it; and an inter-class competition among the jockeys – Classes A, B, C, and D – the winners to receive cash and trophies.

Jockeys, like horses, are also grouped into classes according to a point system based on money earned, which is taken as a gauge of their ability and performance; it is meant as a guide for bettors making their choices.

Other than Alcasid, NPJA’s directors are jockeys Val Dilema (vice-president), Lyndon Guce (secretary), Manolito Daquis (treasurer), Joey Macaraig, Hermie Dilema, Gilbert Francisco, Rey-ann Camañero, Demony Camañero, Edwin de la Cruz, and Domingo Vacal.

***

Announcement from the PCSO Committee on Races: the June 12 “Araw ng Kalayaan” Special Maiden Race at San Lazaro Leisure Park has been moved to June 11, June 12 having been declared a non-racing holiday. Registration of horses is on May 10, declaration on May 12, at the Draw and Races department of PCSO. ***

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KL: Jockeys’ Day

KARERA LANG! by Jenny Ortuoste for Bandera, 3 May 2011, Tuesday

Jockeys’ Day

Taunang idinadaos ang jockeys’ day ng New Philippine Jockeys Association. Ito’y isang araw (o minsan weekend) ng pakarera na fundraising para sa disabled jockeys’ fund.

Ayon kay NPJA president Antonio Alcasid Jr., nakatakda para sa Sabadong ito, Mayo 7, ang 2011 Annual Jockeys Day Cup, sa Santa Ana Park, Naic, Cavite.

Kasama sa kanilang sponsors ang Philippine Racing Commission, Philippine Racing Club (owner-operator ng host track), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners, at Klub Don Juan de Manila.

Mga iba pang sponsors: Don Antonio Floirendo Sr., Cong. Jeci Lapus, Mayor Eddie Dimacuha, Coun. Marvin Rillo, Ultra Mega Multi-Sales, Mr Nathaniel Velasco, Dr Pinky Isaac, Mr Danny Nicdao, Mr Napoleon Magno, Mr Luis Chuidian, Mr Joseph Dyhengco, Mr Manny Pangilinan, at SC Stock Farm.

Ayon kay Alcasid, kailangang mag-fundraising ang NPJA para sa mga hineteng nakatamo ng disgrasya sa laban o sa ensayo.

Kalimitan, pag naging baldado gawa ng pananakay, hindi na nakakapagtrabaho ang hinete kaya kailangan talaga ang pangtustos sa kanyang medikal na gastusin.

Sa ibang dako naman: kahapon, Mayo 2, ang kaarawan ni Philracom chairman Atty. Joy Rojas. Happy birthday, sir!

Ayon naman sa PCSO, ang kanilang Special Maiden Race na nakatakda ng Hunyo 12 sa San Lazaro Leisure Park ay ililipat ng petsa sa Hunyo 11 dahil non-racing holiday ang Hunyo 12 (Araw ng Kalayaan).

Karera lang – walang personalan! ***

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KL: Wanna Change sa PCSO Trial

KARERA LANG! by Jenny Ortuoste for Bandera, 2 April 2011, Saturday

Wanna Change sa PCSO Trial

Dinaanang parang bagyo ni Wanna Change ang kalaban nung Marso 29 trial ng Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race.

Ang trial race ay ginanap sa Santa Ana Park, at doon din idadaos ang mismong laban sa Abril 17 sa distansiyang 1,200 meters.

Si Wanna Change ay kabayo ni Tarlac congressman Jeci Lapus at ginabayan ni jockey Rey-ann Camañero. Umoras ito ng 1:18 sa 1,200 meters. Sumegundo si Gold Field ni Rosenda Ann Ocampo, tersero si Beau Erin ni Honorato Neri, at cuarto si Sparkler ni Augusto Benedicto “Ochie” Santos. Quinto si Sunshine ni Andre Angelo Santos at bugaw o panghuli sa lahat si Aduana ni Herminio Esguerra.

Kadalasan ang nagiging basehan ng mga mananaya sa araw ng karera ay ang resulta ng trial, ngunit tandaan na ang trial race ay “compliance” rule ng PCSO at kailangang lamang lagpasan ito ng mga entries.

Hindi pinupuwersa ang mga kalahok sa trial upang mapanatili ang kanilang kundisyon at upang bawasan ang chansa na masugatan o mamilay ang kabayo.

Ngunit base na rin sa ipinakita niya sa trial, malaki ang chansa ni Wanna Change na manalo sa araw ng laban.

***

Inaabangan naman ng Bayang Karerista ang Philippine Racing Commission Diamond I Stakes race bukas, Abril 3, sa Santa Ana Park. Ito ay ang third leg ng Imported/Local Challenge series.

Maglalaban sa distansiyang 1,800 meters sina Botbo, Fierce Fighter, coupled entries Indy Hay at Juggling Act, Mooney Money, at Yes Pogi.

Heto ang choices ni veteran jockey Joey Macaraig: ”Matured sa laban si Juggling Act at distansiya niya ito, kaso ang peso niya ay 57 kilos, kaya panegundo ko siya; may ka-couple pa siyang Indy Hay.  Ang third choice ko ang Mooney Money dahil magaling siyang magpa-remate. Pero tailor-made ang karerang ito para kay Yes Pogi, na siyang pam-primero ko.”

Para sa akin, di na pinag-iisipan ang karerang ito – Yes Pogi na, all the way!

Karera lang – walang personalan! ***

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KL: Hataw, Bandera!

Thanks to Bandera management, especially sports editor Frederick Nasiad, for reviving my Taglish “Karera Lang!” column that was first carried from 2007 to 2009 in the now-defunct tabloid Tumbok, a sister publicationof Bandera under the Inquirer Group.

“Karera Lang!” will appear in Bandera every  Tuesday and Saturday.

KARERA LANG! by Jenny Ortuoste for Bandera, 29 March 2011, Tuesday

Hataw, Bandera!

Maraming salamat kay Bandera sports editor Mr. Fred Nasiad at sa management ng Inquirer Group of Publications sa kanilang pagbigay-daan sa pagbabalik ng “Karera Lang!” tuwing Martes at Sabado.

Ipinanganak ang kolum na ito noong 14 May 2007, at ang pamagat ng maiden column ay “Tabako, Bagong Stakes Winner”. Lumabas ito sa Tumbok tatlong beses kada linggo. Nagtagal ito hanggang 28 February 2009, kulang-kulang dalawang taon din.

Pagkatapos noon ay nagkaroon ako ng mga English-language racing column at opinion column sa isang broadsheet, kaya di naman natigil ang aking pagsusulat. Ngunit maraming karerista ang nakapagsabing nami-miss nila ang aking Tagalog kolum.

Sari-saring balita ang laman ng “Karera Lang!” – mga schedule ng stakes races, analysis nito, mga tips (dehadista ako), resulta ng mga stakes races, mga kaganapan sa industriya ng thoroughbred racing at breeding, at iba pang impormasyon na sana makatulong sa inyo o makadulot ng kaunting kasiyahan man lang.

Mababasa ninyo ang archives ng “Karera Lang!” column at ang aking ibang mga sanaysay tungkol sa karera sa aking website, http://jennyo.net.

Sana rin ay mabuhay natin ang pakarerang sponsored ng Philippine Racing Commission na dating tinaguriang “Tumbok Cup”. Nagkaroon ito ng apat na karera at ang mga proceeds ay ipinamahagi sa charity organizations. Ang naging beneficiary ng 4th Tumbok Cup ay ang Bahay Maria para sa mga street children. Magkaroon kaya tayo ng “Bandera Cup” charity race sa hinaharap?

* * * * *

Nilampaso ng tersero llamadong Smart Guru noong nakaraang Linggo sa San Lazaro Leisure Park ang tatlo pang kalaban sa Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden race. Lulan ni jockey Antonio B. Alcasid Jr., umoras ang kabayo ni Honorato Neri ng 1:23 para sa 1,300 meters at nanalo ng isa’t-kalahating kabayo.

Segundo ang llamadong Tiger Run na pagmamay-ari ni Mayor Benhur Abalos at tersero ang dehado sa lahat na Just For Keeps ni Joel Songsong. Huling dumating ang segundo-llamadong Ooh La La’s Gold ni Eduardo Dimacuha, na siyang nanalo sa trial race.

Ang susunod na pakarera ng PCSO ay April 17 sa Santa Ana Park. Isa rin itong Special Maiden Race na may distansiyang 1,200 meters. Ang trial ang gaganapin ngayong hapon, at mga kasali rito ay mga 3-year-olds (3YO) local-breds – sina Aduana, Beau Erin, Gold Field, at Sunshine (fillies) at Sparkler at Wanna Change (colts).

Karera lang – walang personalan! ***

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THW: 38th PCSO Presidential Gold Cup on Sunday

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 8 December 2010, Wednesday

38th PCSO Presidential Gold Cup on Sunday

As one of the premier sporting events of the country, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup is eagerly awaited by fans and participants alike. With a history of nearly four decades, it has become an annual tradition and one of the most significant events on the racing calendar.

This particular edition of the race is special to PCSO as it is the first to be held under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III and is the 38th in its history. It is set for December 12 at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.

The Gold Cup race was conceived in the early ‘70s by the PCSO Board of Directors headed by chairman and general manager Nereo C. Andolong. The motivation for instituting the program was in line with PCSO’s mandate to support the industry. The race and its hefty purses provide incentives for local horseowners and Thoroughbred breeders to produce more horses and attain excellence in the sport.

The first Gold Cup was held on 7 October 1973 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Hippodrome. In recent years, it is staged in December, highlighting the holiday racing season and serving as a fitting end to a year of action and achievement in the sport.

Among the more memorable stagings of the Gold Cup include the very first, which the incomparable Sun God, owned by Pedro Cojuangco, won virtually unopposed, capping an impressive career. In 1981 and 1982, Herminia Mamon’s Fair and Square won back-to-back, both times under the reinsmanship of the “maestro”, Jesus Guce.

The feat was duplicated in 1989 and 1990 by Toshio Abe’s Sun Dancer, a plucky filly guided on both occasions by Eduardo Domingo Jr., the “gentleman rider”.

Other track stars which have won the Gold Cup two-in-a-row are Chito Arceo’s Bulldozer (1996 and 1997), both times under Joe Noel Camu, and Wind Blown, which won in 2000 when owned by Leonardo Javier Jr. and in 2001 under the ownership of Herminio S. Esguerra.

Other highlights over 38 years of this race were the dramatic rally from last by Rolando Rojas’ Crown Colony, winner in 1994; Rojas’ Real Top setting a track record in 1998 to crown an impressive year of sweeping the year’s major stakes races including a slam of the Triple Crown; and the thrilling neck-and-neck stretch duel between Triple Crown winner West Bound of C&H Enterprises and longshot Red Star Rising of Francis Trillana, resulting in a win by the latter.

Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos’ Ibarra, the victor in 2008, was denied the chance for a two-peat in 2009 by Don Enrico. Ibarra attempts another win this year. Also trying for another Gold Cup victory is Antonio Tan’s Native Land, 2007 Gold Cup winner and the oldest horse in this race at nine years old. Tan’s Shining Fame, a 2009 contestant, is back on this year’s lineup.

Expected to emerge as favorites are Francis Lim’s Yes Pogi, a two-leg Triple Crown winner, and Esguerra’s Go Army, whose latest conquest was the San Miguel-MARHO (Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners) Cup 2,000-meter Classic.

Not to be discounted are the chances of Rita Pilapil’s entries – two-leg Triple Crown winner Heaven Sent and stakes-caliber contender Lively Dude - and Deemark International’s Righthererightnow.

Don Enrico winning the 2009 Presidential Gold Cup at San Lazaro Leisure Park.

The 38th PCSO Gold Cup has a distance of 2,000 meters and is open (as to age and sex) except to imports, with standard weight-for-age handicapping with sex allowance for fillies and mares.

Which of this year’s contestants shall earn the P2.5 million first place purse? The glittering prize was put up jointly by PCSO, contributing P1.5 million, and the Philippine Racing Commission, which provided P1 million for first. The second-placer shall receive P500,000; third, P250,000; and fourth, P125,000. There is also a breeder’s purse of P50,000 for the breeder of this year’s PCSO Presidential Gold Cup champion.

Also to be held on Sunday is the Philippine Sportswriters Association Cup, a stakes race sponsored by the Philracom for the benefit of the PSA, which annually stages a recognition program for the notable achievers in the realm of sports.

The event, to which all PSA members have been invited, will be the first occasion for many sportswriters to travel to Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, and for many will be their first chance to witness live horseracing.  ***

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On Philracom (for “Racing Sun”, July 2008)

Articles written for Racing Sun publication, July 2008.

 

The Philippine Racing Commission: Past, Present, and Future

By Jenny Ortuoste

 CLANG! The gates fly back with a crash. Almost as one, the horses jump out of the gate, muscles flexing under glossy hides, tails streaming in the wind. On their backs, jockeys clutch the reins tightly, faces set in grim concentration as they coax their mounts into the most advantageous positions. A journey of less than two minutes around the track is for them an eternity as they all struggle for victory. Sweat streams, cheers and curses rip the air, whips fly and crack as they round the bend and come roaring down the straight. Fans in the stands bolt out of their seats, fists tight around their betting tickets, urging their choices on. But at the finish line, there can only be one winner.

 THIS IS horseracing, the noblest sport of all, the “sport of kings”, and it alive and well in the Philippines. Enjoyed by the elite of society in various forms since the late 1800s, it is today a billion-peso business that not only provides a unique form of entertainment but, more importantly, generates jobs, agricultural development, and revenues for the government.

Acting as overseer of the sport is the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom), a government agency under the Office of the President. Since it was created on 20 March 1974, the Philracom has kept true to its mandate of supervising the sport and promoting not only racing, but related industries and business initiatives such as thoroughbred breeding and importation.

 The Past

              Horseracing was formerly under the supervision of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), which to this day regulates other professional sports such as boxing and basketball. With the growth of the sport and its related industries, jurisdiction was transferred to the Philracom, created by Presidential Decree 420.

It was during the term of its first chairman, businessman-horseowner Eduardo “Danding” M. Cojuangco Jr., that the framework for stewardship of horseracing’s concerns  was established. During this pioneering period, rules and procedures for the importation of thoroughbreds were drawn up, to encourage the influx of horses to boost the local population for racing and improve breeding stock.

Then, as now, two racing clubs were in existence – the Manila Jockey Club (MJC), located at the San Lazaro Hippodrome in Tayuman, Manila; and the Philippine Racing Club, which had its home in Santa Ana Park, in Makati close to the boundary of Manila.

Beginning in the 1970s, Philracom supported the racing clubs’ efforts to extend the off-track betting station (OTB) network to increase distribution channels and consequently boost sales revenue. Prior to the establishment of OTBs in the 1950s, all viewing and betting was done at the tracks. Around this time, in the ’70s and onwards, attempts were made to broadcast the races, which settled into an accepted activity in the ’80s.

By the 1990s, from 50 or so OTB’s, the network had expanded to over 300, skyrocketing sales even as live broadcast of the races were shown regularly over cable television, reaching audiences not only in OTBs but also homes throughout the nation.

Philracom was supportive of all these efforts, and continued their sponsorship of prestigious, big-money stakes races that attracted racing fans and sustained the expansion of the sport, which has benefited the government with over P1 billion in annual revenues for the past several years.

 The Present

Today, the Philracom is led by its Chairman, Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, himself a horseowner and breeder of twenty years’ standing and a well-respected member of the racing community. Together with Commissioners Victor Tantoco, Atty. Vergel Cruz, veterinarian Dr. Reynaldo Fernando, Gerardo Espina, and former star jockey Eduardo C. Domingo Jr., they make up the Philracom Board which formulates official policies and rules and regulations governing horse racing. From handicapping to licensing, the Board sets the general vision and sees it to fulfillment, mobilizing members of the industry to work together to achieve common goals.

      Providing able support to the Board is the Office of the Executive Director, which manages the Office and its 71 employees, and implements the rules and regulations of horse racing. Executive Director Jorge G. Necesito, a retired admiral of the Philippine Navy, brings his extensive experience in operations and human resources to running the Philracom. He is seconded by Deputy Executive Director Eva Bataller, a career service employee of the Philracom for nearly two decades.

      Other departments include Finance and Administration (headed by Susana S. Franco), Legal (under Atty. Ricardo C. Angeles Jr.), Field Inspection Division (run by Dr. Peter S. Rojas, DVM), Regulations and Licensing (headed by Dr. Alejandro C. Cambay, DVM), and the Stud Book Division (headed by Dr. Jose Noel C. Danao, DVM).           

      Racing sales for 2007 reached an auspicious P8.88 billion pesos, a 1.17% increase over 2006 sales of P8.78 billion. For 2007, Philracom remitted P1.43 billion to the National Treasury as the government’s share of the revenues.

      Under Chairman Rojas’ leadership, Philracom is set to fulfill its mandate to “promote and direct the accelerated development and continued growth of horseracing, not only in pursuance of sports development, but also to assure the full exploitation of the sport as a source of revenue and employment.”

  The Future

            Chairman Rojas has envisioned a Master Plan for Horseracing, which sets long-term goals and policies designed to stand the test of time. Among the programs begun this year are the ISO-accreditation of Philracom; creation of an organizational manual; and the revision of the Philracom Rules and Regulations Manual, otherwise known as the “Blue Book”.

            Also in the works are an equine laboratory and research center, incorporating an animal drug-testing unit; the pursuance of Philracom’s application for membership to the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities; and the computerization and automation of many of Philracom’s registration and licensing procedures.

            Tall order? Yes, indeed. But Chairman Rojas has more plans and programs lined up to benefit the industry: a long-awaited upgrade of the Philippine Jockeys’ Academy; a modernization program for Philracom based on international “best practices”; and a support plan for the joint task force against illegal bookies, an effort spearheaded by law enforcement agencies.

            In addition to all these, there are other plans and programs being developed, but despite all the hard work that is sure to be involved, Chairman Rojas is cheerful and optimistic about the future of racing in the country. “Slowly but gradually,” he says, “we will get to where we want to be. Philippine racing and breeding have so much potential to grow and be at par with more developed racing nations. And Philracom will be here every step of the way until we reach that goal.”

 As the horses thunder down the straight, fans cheer themselves hoarse, caught up in the sheer spectacle of power and beauty that is horseracing. A winner flashes past the wire first; to his jockey, owner, and trainer go the trophies that commemorate their victory. As the gold cups are raised aloft, it is proof of the popularity of horseracing in the Philippines, of its sustainability as a sport and as a business enterprise, and as a means for economic growth and nation-building under the firm and benevolent guidance of the Philracom.

     

************************

 Philracom Departments

By Jenny Ortuoste

 Philracom manages its affairs by delegating tasks to its various departments that have control and supervision over particular aspects of the sport. The Agency has a manpower complement of 71, with five Commissioners and one Chairman.

 Office of the Chairman and Board of Commissioners

            Headed by the Agency’s chairman, Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, and ably assisted by the Board of Commissioners – Atty. Vergel Cruz, Atty. Victor Tantoco, Dr. Reynaldo Fernando DVM, Eduardo Domingo Jr., and Gerardo Espina Jr. – this office formulates policies as well as the rules and regulations governing horseracing.

            In practice, the Chairman and Commissioners wield great influence in the sport. Since they all are from the racing world, their long and wide-ranging experience makes them supremely fitted to deal with whatever matters may arise, from handicapping decisions to major crises that have far-reaching implications. The racing and breeding industries look to this Office for guidance on many aspects concerning, but not limited to, regulation and monitoring.

 Office of the Executive Director

            The Executive Director’s Office, run by retired Admiral Jorge G. Necesito, is a one-stop shop for appeals, requests, complaints, and all the nitty-gritty of running the sport. It is the perhaps the busiest among the different departments, as it is usually among the first to be approached by racing insiders and the public as well.

            Director Necesito, with his vast  operational experience gained from many years of service in the Philippine Navy, manages the entire office as well as implements the rules and regulations of horseracing, as formulated by the Office of the Chairman and Commissioners. The Director also exercises overall authority in planning, directing, and coordinating the administrative and technical activities of the Commission.

            The Executive Director is assisted by the Acting Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Eva Bataller, who is a career service officer of the Philracom of many years’ standing.

  Administrative Division

            Ms. Bataller is directly responsible for the smooth running of the Administrative Division, which has control and supervision over internal matters, with regard to office operations, personnel, and the like.  It is her office that produces the annual accomplishment report, and provides the data necessary for strategic business planning not only for the Philracom but also for the entire industry.

 Finance  

            The Finance Department, actually a part of the Administrative Division, is headed by Ms. Susana S. Franco, also a long-time Philracom employee. Finance deals with internal matters (payroll and the like), assists with the computation and disbursement of prize money for Philracom-sponsored races, and performs other necessary accounting tasks.

 Legal Division

Atty. Ricardo C. Angeles Jr., head of the Legal Division, supervises and coordinates the legal function of the Commission involving the review, preparation, and interpretation of legal documents as well as the investigation and hearing of cases arising from the violation of rules and regulations on horse racing.

 Field Inspection Division

This Division, well-guided by Dr. Peter S. Rojas, DVM, has a very great responsibility to fulfil as its personnel are the front-liners in monitoring and supervising race conduct in the field. They implement the rules and regulations of horse racing, and file reports on violations, irregularities, and any such infractions of the racing rules committed during racing days.

Regulation and Licensing Division

Races may not be conducted if its officials and other participants – owners, trainers, jockeys, and the like – are unlicensed. This is the task of this Division, run by Dr. Alejandro C. Cambay Jr., DVM. He directs, supervises, and coordinates matters of licensing and registration involving horseracing. This division also collates policies, rules and regulations, and amendments. In addition, they also plan, direct, coordinate, and implement technical activities of the Commission. For instance, in the case of outbreaks of epidemics, it is Dr. Cambay who is in the forefront of coordinating the programs created to deal with such crises.

 Stud Book Division

            This Division, formerly under the National Stud Farm (now dissolved), is headed by Dr. Jose Noel Danao, DVM. They perform the important tasks of regulating horse breeding, inspecting racehorses, conducting blood typing and parentage verifications. This division also issues registration certificates for qualified foals, broodmares, and stallions, as well as publishes the Philippine Stud Book, a copy of which is sent to international agencies so that local bloodstock may be acknowledged abroad. ***

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