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Santa Ana Park

THW: Jockey Kelvin’s Status Still Shaky

by Jenny on September 22, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 22 September 2010, Wednesday

Jockey Kelvin’s Status Still Shaky

Despite protracted negotiations in an effort to restore peace and harmony within the industry, Manila Jockey Club’s chairman and CEO lawyer Alfonso R. Reyno Jr. stood firm on his decision to ban jockey Kelvin Abobo from the premises of MJC’s San Lazaro Leisure Park.

However, as of presstime, the racing club has not released any notice regarding Abobo; his status is still floating and the rider has no idea when he may resume active racing or even his morning workouts with horses at the facility in Carmona, Cavite.

Several top horseowners had written to Reyno vouching for Abobo’s character. Philippine Racing Commission chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II had also conversed with him seeking an amicable resolution to the crisis.

The case stems from two weeks ago, when Abobo was suspended by the MJC Board of Stewards for “lack of interest” on third favorite Supreme Leader. Abobo appealed to the Philracom, as provided for by law. Upon review of the race, the Philracom review committee lifted the suspension. Whereupon MJC slapped a ban on the rider.

The New Philippine Jockeys’ Association members, appalled at the lack of guidelines and criteria in the imposition of bans, contemplated a strike for this racing week, which was averted after several industry personages stepped forward to mediate.

The jockeys have never questioned MJC’s right to ban anyone from their property. However, as riders who have a job to do on the premises, they wonder at the lack of clear criteria, the bans, they say, imposed seemingly at whim.

A jockey’s work is not confined to riding in races. His day begins at four o’clock in the morning, when he works the horses assigned to him until seven or eight o’clock. Working horses is necessary for the rider to build rapport with his mount, get to know his or her habits and quirks, perform corrective measures as necessary, and so on. That is why a total ban from premises is problematic. A jockey who is forbidden from working horses at a certain track will be unable to continue his training of the horses, and may even lose these rides should the horseowner or trainer decide to hire someone else who can proceed with the required regimen at that particular track.

That is why to place a rider on ‘floating’ status spells disaster not only for the rider, but will also cause headaches for the horseowner, trainer, and the horses. The sport of racing is synergistic system – ‘synergy’ meaning, “two or more agents working together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the agents independently.” The word comes from the Greek syn-ergos – “working together”.

In the subculture of the sport, harmonious relationships are essential for the smooth flow of activities. It is almost a dance. A misstep, and the entire pattern is thrown into disarray.

The jockeys need clear guidelines on MJC’s banning of riders and request due process in the imposition of bans. It is illogical and unjust to place a rider on ‘floating’ status. And don’t make me bring up Marxist dialectics and question whether this constitutes a class struggle – the working class against the moneyed elite.

*****

My thanks to the Philippine Racing Club, especially AVP and racing manager Dan Valmonte who arranged a tremendously exciting Communication Research trophy race last week at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. The race was named after the social science discipline I am currently studying at the doctoral level and was meant to provide my classmates and professor from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication a unique communication environment experience. The visit to the track broadened the knowledge of Dr Jose Lacson and professors Bea Lapa, Rod Rivera, Julienne Baldo, and Nina Villena regarding sport communication and subcultures within mainstream society.

After I gave them tips for the first daily double (the combination Defiant-Yes Pogi paid about P22) and they collected winnings for the first time, it seems that a couple of them are hooked enough to pursue their newfound interest in the sport. That’s how some horseracing aficionados are born – after watching the races live.

The Communication Research Trophy Race, with an added prize of fifteen thousand pesos and a trophy for the owner, was won by two-leg 2010 Triple Crown winner Yes Pogi, ridden by veteran jockey Manolito Daquis, trained by Felix Lauron, and owned by Francis Lim. ***

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THW: Third Race Track?

by Jenny on September 9, 2010

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

Third Race Track?

Headline got your attention? Of course it would. For ages since anyone can remember, there have been only two – the Manila Jockey Club (founded 1867) and the Philippine Racing Club (1937). Yet in this age of declining sales due to substitute products (other forms of entertainment), an investor is poised to set up another facility as a venue for the ‘sport of kings’.

Over breakfast last week with horseowner and businessman Norberto Quisumbing, he discussed his vision for Metro Manila Turf Club. The 25-hectare property sits on the towns of Malvar and Tanuan in Batangas, sharing the cool climate of nearby Lipa, where 80% of the country’s Thoroughbred breeding ranches are located. Building a racing facility in this area, said Dr. Quisumbing, is only logical, given the close proximity of the farms where the horses are bred and spelled.

The track surface will be of sea sand, which is plentiful in this archipelago and still has, to many minds, excellent features such as superior drainage and good cushioning, as long as it is of the right grade. It is also cost-effective. A comfortable grandstand will be built that will have restaurants and VIP boxes – think Santa Anita Park in California. Stables will be constructed close by.

Apart from the racetrack, other contemplated amenities are villas and other residential spaces, a landscaped park for rest and relaxation, and a horseback riding trail. Groundbreaking for the project is slated for the end of this year, with completion by late 2011 or early 2012.

With the existing two tracks already in stiff competition for sales, the addition of a third racecourse will up the ante on the business and marketing end. At present, neither MJC nor PRC have anything by way of a consistent, branded marketing effort that makes intensive and effective use of traditional advertising channels and professional ad agencies. Much reliance is still placed on the existing niche market, word-of-mouth, and cable television racing channels run by homegrown talents, not experienced pros from the networks.

In terms of computer-mediated communication, the racing community might as well be in the Dark Ages. Use of digital media such as the Internet are not optimized; the official websites are slow and cranky, with minimal content that is not often updated. The fan websites provide more interesting and dynamic user-generated content. Mobile phones? Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which have proven powerful for disseminating information? Forget it.

One constraint the industry has that it perhaps does not realize is the inadequacy of competent and imaginative writers to produce quality material. Racing needs not only competent, but excellent writers.

The sport of kings is alive and thriving in the Philippines; what a pity not more than a handful of people know about it. But hope springs eternal; perhaps someday the tracks will recognize the importance of communication and use trending channels in addition to others that have been proven effective for business purposes.

However, it must be mentioned that the industry also operates under heavy burdens, among them taxation. Philippine racing is among the highest taxed in the world while track take is low, leaving little left over for the tracks after operations to improve their facilities with.

A pending bill in Congress, authored by Tarlac representative Jeci Lapus and left over from last year, which was written by Palawan congressman Abraham Mitra and supported by Manila lawmaker Amado Bagatsing, seeks to reduce some racing taxes in a move to boost the sport’s sagging revenues by making it more attractive to bettors.

Maybe this year that law will finally be passed and bring some relief to an industry filled with passionate supporters like Dr. Quisumbing and stalwart institutions like PRC and MJC. ***

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THW: Juveniles – Heirs to the Throne

by Jenny on September 1, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 1 September 2010, Wednesday

Juveniles – Heirs to the Throne

After winning the Lakambini Stakes two weeks ago with his racemare Redemption, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos scored again with his juvenile colt Barkley in the Philipppine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race last Sunday.

Held at San Lazaro Leisure Park, the 1,300-meter race for juveniles attracted an elite crowd – Ronald Tan’s Constatic (Ecstatic-Consa), Nap Chua’s Rosemary Blue (Perfect Cut-Being There), Tony de Ubago’s Chief Joesan (Wando-Question Answered), Ed Gonzalez’s Simply Believe (Strong Material-Fair Maid of Kent), Sixto Esquivias’s Cheese Mosa (Shooting Star-Magic Find), Don Antonio Floirendo’s Indy’s Task (Indy Minstrel-Family Task), Amado Bagatsing’s Outstanding (Wind Blown-Cristalina), Mandy Carlo Sanchez’s Maryland Dream (Inner Harbour-Sky Reply), as well as Abalos’s Barkley (Baseball Champion-Treeline).

First out of the gate was Constatic, followed by Indy’s Task, Simply Believe, and Barkley. Into the backstretch, Indy’s Task was in the lead by three, with Barkley just running of the pace.

Indy’s Task with FM Raquel Jr. aboard, in the lead by four over Barkley with Jesse Guce (yellow silks). Images: screenshots of SLBN live coverage.

A sudden surge of power at the far turn took the latter past the frontrunner, Barkley barely breaking a sweat to win by five over Cheese Mosa, Simply Believe, and Rosemary Blue, who managed to place even if she had run at the back of the field for almost the entire distance.

It’s Barkley by six over Cheese Mosa, who staged a rapid rally on the outside to come in second.

Baseball Champion (Wild Again-Pennant Champion), standing at Tito de Jesus’s Rolling Green Farms in Lipa, has been a fairly busy sire since being brought over from the US. Bred by the famed Phipps Stable in Kentucky, he had 19 starts (4-4-1) and won nearly $180,000 in prize money before being sent to stud in the Philippines.

His damsire is Mr. Prospector, while on his sire’s side he is of Nearctic stock with a double dose of Nearco – a nice, solid, sturdy lineage, dependable in the crunch. Baseball Champion’s progeny are making waves, among them Triple Crown leg winner Dream Supreme (out of Belle of Ack, dam of stakes winner Treasured Ack), stakes contender Elgin and Chairman (o/o Defensive Lady), and sturdy runner Gundam Exia (o/o Snow Queen).

A portrait of Italian-bred Nearco (Pharos-Nogara), f. 1935, d. 1957. Bred and owned by the great racehorse trainer Federico Tesio. Nearco was the “sire of champions Nasrullah, Nearctic, and Royal Charger, thus the point stallion for the Northern Dancer and Bold Ruler lines” (pedigreequery.com).

Meanwhile, on the Philippine Racing Commission stakes calendar for September are the fourth legs of the 1,500-meter Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile Colts, to be held on the 11th and 12th respectively at SLLP. October will see the running of the 2,000-meter Opal I (5th leg of the Import-Local Challenge Series) on the 10th also at SLLP and the 1,800-meter Sampaguita Stakes, for fillies and mares 3YO and older, on the 17th at Santa Ana Park.

A reminder to all Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners (MARHO) members – there will be a general assembly and election of the board of directors on 13 September, Monday, at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club at 7pm.   ***

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THW: Of Lakambinis and Broken Records

by Jenny on August 29, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 25 August 2010, Wednesday

Of Lakambinis and Broken Records

It’s a rule of thumb in handicapping (choosing winners in horseracing) to opt for a colt or male horse over a filly or mare. It’s just one of those things, like taking a sprinter over a stayer in short distance races, stayers over sprinters in mid- to long-distance battles, and bays over grays and roans in bright day races.

To remove the gender factor, there are “distaff” races open only to fillies and mares, such as the Philippine Racing Commission’s annual Lakambini Stakes for local-bred 3YO fillies. Horseowners with high quality fillies take the effort and time to prepare their horses for this big-money stakes race that is usually run over a long distance.

This year it was run over 1,800 meters at Santa Ana Park last Sunday, with a slate of talented thoroughbreds coming out of their stables to compete for first prize of P720,000 put up by the Philracom, which also allotted prizes for second to fourth and for the winning breeder.

First out of the gate was the heavy favorite, Eric Tagle’s Thief in the Nite, with Cito Esquivias’s Empire Glory running off the pace. Longshot Ma’am Mika ran in third, moving up in the backstretch to grab second position before the far turn.

At the top of the stretch, Thief in the Nite was still in front but fading, allowing Ma’am Mika to take the lead. Third choice Redemption, guided by top rider Jesse Guce, staged a powerful rally in the final eighty meters to win by a length over Jun Molina’s Ma’am Mika. EB King’s Bilyonarya took third, C&H Enterprises’ Westerly Wind fourth. Total time for the race was 1:53.6.

Owned by Mandaluyong City mayor Benhur Abalos, Redemption is trained by Ruben Tupas. Sired by Sailaway out of American mare Fire Down Under, Redemption is half-sister to Mayor Abalos’s champion Ibarra, which was sired by a Cherokee Run progeny, Yonaguska.

In another special race also last Sunday, the mile-long Samahang Plaridel Race, second favorite Hot Shout, owned by Tito de Jesus’s Rolling Green Farms and ridden by John Alvin Guce, clocked 1:41 to win over placers Tiger Moon, Lakota Creek, and Okay Approve.

In last Thursday’s 2nd Mayor Ramon Bagatsing Memorial Raceday, the two 1,700 meter highlight races proved exciting with the record for that distance being broken within both races.

It’s “Horses out!” for one of the Mayor Bagatsing Day special races.

In the Division I Bagatsing Cup, third pick Thoti’s Best, steered by Daniel Camanero,  scored an upset over heavy favorite Yes Pogi and close second choice Carriedo. The time for the race was a record 1:45. Two races later, in the Division II, the Jeff Zarate-piloted Batang Tundo set the track on fire with a blistering 1:43.

Thoti’s Best flashes past Carriedo in the RDB Cup – Div I.

Though low-key compared to last year’s week-long event debut, the Bagatsing Raceday was special, with recognition given to winning grooms via cash prizes of P1,500. Sponsors Euromed, Red Bull, and Pocari Sweat had giveways packs for winning owners, trainers, jockeys, and grooms.

JennyO interviews Cong. Amado Bagatsing on the live cable TV coverage.

Meanwhile, the nomination of yearlings to the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners racing program will be accepted until October 31. A general assembly and election of officers will be held in the first or second week of September.

All in all, these are interesting times for the sport, with annual events being sustained by their founders and sponsors despite tight economic times. ***

All photos by Joselito Vilella.

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THW: Bagatsing Cup and Lakambini Stakes

by Jenny on August 18, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 18 August 2010, Wednesday

Bagatsing Cup and Lakambini Stakes

On August 19, the racing community will commemorate the late great consummate horseman Manila mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Sr. on his birth anniversary for his contributions to the sport.

His sons Manila congressman Amado Bagatsing and former congressman lawyer Ramon “Dondon” Bagatsing Jr. initiated a racing festival in honor of their father last year. It was well supported by fellow horsemen and outside sponsors, pointing to the warm affection people feel until today for the late mayor.

Now an annual event, the 2nd Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Memorial Racing Day will be held at Santa Ana Park, home of the Philippine Racing Club in Naic, Cavite. There will be eight races on the card, with the highlights being the 2010 Philracom-Mayor Ramon Bagatsing Memorial Cup divisions I and II, both 1,700 meters and sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission.

Said Philracom chair lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, “The Commission gladly supports this event that revives the Gran Copa de Manila races that were a special project of the late mayor to boost the popularity of the sport.”

The RDB Cup I is for 3YO local horses. Handicapping rules are male horses to carry 54 kgs, female 52 kgs. Guaranteed prizes total P700,000 allocated as follows:  1st – P420,000; 2nd – P157,500; 3rd- P87,500; 4th; 35,000.

In the lineup are Air of Distinction, Carriedo, Thoti’s Best, Yes Pogi, and Real Winner, making this look like a Triple Crown battle.

The RDB Cup II pits imported and local 3YO and older horses with guaranteed prizes totaling P500,000 allocated as follows: 1st – P300,000; 2nd – P112,500; 3rd- P62,500; 4th; 25,000.

The entries are Batang Tundo, Dailies, Gentle Irony, Juggling Act, Mooney Money, Multiply, and Fierce Fighter.

In both races there will be trophies for the winning owner, trainer, jockey, and breeder.

There are also to be six trophy races each with added P50,000 and trophy for  the winner only: the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office TR, the Herma Farms & Stud TR, two PAGCOR TRs, and two SMART Communications TRs.

Winning grooms will each receive P1,500 cash for each winning groom, while Red Bull and Pocari Sweat energy drink packs will be given to the winning trainers and jockeys. Euromed dextrose bottles will also be given away.

The Bagatsing family thank their sponsors Philracom, PCSO, PAGCOR, SMART Communications, Herma Farms and Stud through Mr. Herminio S. Esguerra, Red Bull and Pocari Sweat, and Euromed.

On Sunday, August 22, fillies and mares will see action against each other in the Philracom Lakambini Stakes, to run over 1,800 meters. In the lineup are Bilyonarya, Compelled To Lead, Empire Glory, Ice Storm, Ma’am Mika, Open Slew, Perfect Material, Redemption, Sail Street, The Chairwoman, Thief In The Nite, and Westerly Wind.

The first placer will receive P720,000, second P270,000, third P150,000, and fourth P60,000, with a winning breeder’s purse of P50,000.   ***

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THW: Longshot Overload

by Jenny on August 12, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 11 August 2010, Wednesday

Longshot Overload

Last Sunday at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, was a day of elderly longshots, with four veteran runners wreaking havoc with punter’s expectations in the exotic betting.

In the first set of the Winner-Take-All, the holders of the seven winning tickets took home over P312 thousand pesos each. In the second set, there were only two winners who struck it rich with P645,000 each, while pickings for the 17 winners in the third set quite adequate at P66,000 each.

The longest shot of all was 10yo veteran Empire Maker (Strike Too – Go Dilly). Steered by Class D jockey Carias Moreno, the tandem upset top choices Celestial, Rivaldo, Buena’s  Hope, and three others in their Class Division 1 race.

From a total pool of P3.37 million when the event begun at Race 1, the live wagers plummeted to only 804 after Empire Maker’s shocking win.

In the previous race, Tony de Ubago’s 10yo Reporter (Decawan – Natural Civet), was sixth choice in a field of eight CD1 horses, winning by one length over another longshot, Mike’s Zam Lady . 6YO Suavetiger (Rum Tum Tiger – Slim Berta), another sixth favorite, also won by a length to best eight other horses in CD6 while far fourth pick Reality Show (Amerigo – True To Life) clobbered ten foes in CD1.

It just goes to show that in racing, while age may be a factor, sometimes it doesn’t matter but skills and condition do.

***

It’s “all set and ready to race” for the 2nd Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Cup on 19 August at Santa Ana Park. A full card of eight races has been prepared in honor of the late Manila mayor, a horseowner and breeder whose sons Manila congressman Amado Bagatsing and former congressman lawyer Ramon Bagatsing Jr. have carried on his legacy in the sport.

The Bagatsing brothers have announced that in addition to major sponsor Philippine Racing Commission, SMART Communication, PAGCOR, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and Herma Farms and Stud have put up prize moneyfor trophy races.

Philracom will sponsor the Philracom – Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Memorial Cup which has two divisions. The first has prize money of P700,000 allocated from first to fourth, while the second has P500,000 in total prizes.

In addition to purses for the winning owners, the winning grooms of each of the eight races will also receive P1,500 cash each.  ***

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THW: A Rockin’ Jockeys’ Day

by Jenny on July 28, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 28 July 2010, Wednesday

A Rockin’ Jockeys’ Day

From Alcasid to Zarate, the entire jockey community rocked the track last Sunday during the Jockeys’ Day celebration that capped an entire raceweek of activities at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park.

The racecourse in Naic, Cavite, played host to a slew of sponsored races over the weekend with recognition and cash for the winning jockeys and grooms. The highlight races were Saturday’s Juvenile Fillies Stakes second leg and Sunday’s Juvenile Colts Stakes second leg (both 1,300 meters) and the mile New Philippine Jockeys Association Cup, all sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission. Also held last Sunday was the 1,200-meter Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race for 2YO.

One of the activities was a contest for the riders. From Tuesday to Saturday, all the jockeys’ wins and places up to fourth were tallied using a points system to choose the winning jockeys in four classes –A, B, C, and D. A “Longshot Jockey” was also chosen based on the lowest sales for any longshot winning horse.

According to NPJA president Antonio Alcasid Jr., the jockeys were so interested in the contest that they put up computer-generated charts on one wall inside the jockeys’ quarters. Each win or place was immediately marked on the chart with gate tallies, the jockeys good-naturedly teasing each other after each race.

Santiago de Galicia, patron saint of the predominantly Roman Catholic jockey colony.

The Philracom Juvenile Fillies Stakes, run without betting due to few entries, was won wire-to-wire by Antoine D’Ugo, ridden by Fernando Raquel Jr. Owned by lawyer Sixto Esquivias IV, the filly, who also won the first leg, is trained by Renato Yamco. Eric Tagle’s Restless Heart came in second, three lengths behind, followed by Wilbert Tan’s Gandang Pinay in third and Esquivias’s Pot Pot’s Love (coupled entry) in fourth. Meant to Blush (coupled entry of Gandang Pinay) broke down in the middle of the stretch, unseating rider Patricio Dilema. The race’s total time was 1:19.8, with quarters of 7-22-23’-27.

In the Philracom Juvenile Colts race, the far second choice, Nap Magno’s Naugh Naugh, scored an upset. Steered by Jesse Guce, they hit the wire half-a-length ahead of the third favorite, SC Stockfarm’s Bosbarawana. Outstanding favorite Arvin Dugo, owned by Ralph Javier, settled for third, while Tan’s Perfect Pyjama came in fourth.  Quarters for the race were 7-22-23’-26, total 1:19. The last quarter was a blitz attack by the Donato Sordan-trained colt, who mowed down the opposition under heavy urging from Guce.

Naugh Naugh (Rum Tum Tiger-Velocity) was bred by Raymund Puyat and Antoine D’Ugo (Fort Dignity-Mrs. Rainier) by Tony de Ubago.

Philracom chairman Atty. Joy Rojas awards a trophy to Naugh Naugh owner Nap Magno. With them are Atty. Vic Tantoco and PRC racing manager Dan Valmonte.

The PCSO Special Maiden Race was won in 1:13.7 by the SC Stockfarm owned- and –bred Mr. Universe (Strong Material-K Mister Vee), ridden by Lord Santos and trained by Bogie Fernandez. Rita Bustamante’s Lexibonn came in second, Esquivias’s Prince Isiah was third.

PCSO’s Dr. Romeo Buencamino and Atty Jose Malang, trainer Chito Santos, rider Lord Santos, trainer Bogie Fernandez, PCSO’s Rey Empremiado, and PRC racing manager Dan Valmonte.

The most exciting main race of the weekend was the NPJA-Philracom Cup, won by a longshot – sixth choice Trinity Moon (Mojave Moon-Trinity Shot). Owned by Mandy Carlo Sanchez, guided by Jhemo Tinte, and trained by Emilio Basco, the feisty 4YO filly clocked 25’-23’-23’-26’ for a total 1:39, nearly tying the 1:38 track record set by import Copper Dew in 2007.

On Sunday, Alcasid announced the winners of the Jockeys’ Week contest: Class A, Jessie Guce; Class B, Jonathan Hernandez; Class C, Jordan Cordova; and Class D, Conrad Henson. The longshot jockey was Louie Balboa, who rode fifth choice Moonraker to a victory on Saturday. All of them received P7,000 cash and medals sponsored by Francis Lim’s Ultra Mega Trading, Dodo Atienza’s Felindo Trading, and Congressman Gabby  Espina and Governor Gerry Espina’s Don Enrico Stable.

Conrad Henson, Jordan Cordova, Oyet Alcasid, Jesse Guce, Jonathan Hernandez.

It has been the practice in previous years for the successive Boards of Directors of NPJA to request for a charity race yearly from the Philracom and other sponsors for the benefit of the disabled jockeys’ fund.

But it was not until last year, during the the first term of current NPJA president Alcasid, that the event elicited more participation from the jockeys themselves in terms of organization and fundraising. Most of the NPJA members had a wait-and-see attitude towards Alcasid’s low-key style. He did away with the flamboyance that marked past events and insisted on a casual, cost-cutting Jockeys’ Day that focused on fundraising rather than celebration, as a consequence netting the highest amount ever for the disabled riders’ fund.

This year, the jockeys strengthened the event with their full support, tapping their horseowners and other friends for sponsorships.

Hermie Dilema presenting an award to a representative. With them are Patty Dilema, Oyet Alcasid, Jeff Zarate, and Joey Macaraig.

Their biggest and staunchest sponsor remains Philracom – its chairman, lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, and commissioners lawyer Vic Tantoco, veterinarian Eyo Fernando, former star jockey Eduardo Domingo Jr,, and James Paman. Alcasid said, “We did not have to ask chairman Rojas twice. Our request was approved by the Board right away.”

According to Chairman Rojas, “We were happy to provide a charity race for the jockeys because they are an integral element of the sport. In tandem with the horses, they give us the races that we enjoy watching.”

PRC supported the event as the host track and provided trophies, jockey medals, and additional prize money for the winning horseowners of five special races. Tarlac congressman Jeci Lapus, a horseowner and trainer of decades-long standing, gave P1,500 to each winning groom of 11 out of 13 races held last Sunday. The other sponsors were Jo Lagrata, Ric Aquino, SC Stockfarm, Dc Tan Trading, Nap Magno, Paolo Crisostomo, Vicente Go Bon, Mayor Eduardo Dimacuha, ESQ, Luis Chuidian, Jose Miguel Chuidian, and Klub Don Juan de Manila.

With several longshots winning races on Sunday, there are carryovers in the Winner-Take-All and Pick-6 events at PRC on August 3. The weekend was so successful that upon the request of the jockeys, chairman Rojas assured them that the Philracom will look into sponsoring another charity race at the end of the year.

Congratulations to the Philippine jockey colony! ***

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THW: Triple Crown Sweep?

by Jenny on July 16, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 14 July 2010, Wednesday

Triple Crown Sweep?

After a nine-year drought, will there finally be a Philippine Triple Champion?

After winning the first two legs of the Philippine Racing Commission three-leg championship series for local-bred 3YOs, Yes Pogi needs to win the last battle on Sunday to make his mark in racing history as a successor to the illustrious lineup of champions.

However, he won the first two legs at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park. The final showdown will take place at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park over a lung-busting 2,000 meters – the longest leg of the series.

Yes Pogi, owned by Francis Lim, goes up against Hermie Esguerra’s Carriedo  (who was not in the first two legs), Jun Almeda’s Consolidator, Vicente Lava’s Go Vinnie, Joseph Dyhengco’s Lakota Creek and Scotland Yard, Deemark Trading’s Righthererightnow, Wilbert Tan’s Thoti’s Best, and Eric Tagle’s Thief in the Nite, the lone filly who will carry an impost of 52 kgs., while the others – colts – carry 54 kgs.

If Yes Pogi is still in the same stellar condition as when he won the first two legs, he has a very good chance to sweep. But now he has to contend with tough foes at a different track. I don’t see the longer distance as a problem; it might in fact be an advantage for this stayer, who usually runs in last or at the back of the pack, and edges up in the back stretch close to the far turn before going into full rampage at the top of the stretch to mow down the frontrunners. Talk about intimidation.

I’m also looking at other stayers to do well, such as Lakota Creek and Righthererightnow. First prize in this race is P1.8 million, a hefty purse which will be hotly contested by all. Should Yes Pogi accomplish a sweep, he takes home an additional P500,000, a bonus prize put up by Philracom for whoever wins all three legs of the most important series for 3YO.

The Philracom’s Hopeful Stakes, auxiliary to the Triple Crown and open also to 3YO local-breds, is set for Saturday at SLLP over 2,000 meters. Declared for this race are Hermie Esguerra’s Andalucia, C&H Enterprises’ Gallant Prince and Westerly Wind, Jeci Lapus’s Ice Storm, Nonoy Niles’s Invincible, Wilbert Tan’s Milenyo, Benhur Abalos’s Open Slew and Redemption, Ruben Dimacuha’s Si Senor, Roberto Yutadco’s Speed Spell, and Jade Bros. Farm’s Unequalled.

Second leg Hopeful winner Thief in the Nite moved up to the Triple Crown, leaving this race wide-open, again to stayers who will have the style and stamina to go two kilometres. The C&H and Abalos entries are looking good, while I wouldn’t discount frontrunners Andalucia and Speed Spell. This is an even-steven lineup that is pretty hard to call, and is interesting for that reason. Let’s see who brings home the P600,000 first prize.

There is also prize money for second to fourth placers, as well as breeders’ purses: P100,000 for the breeder of the Triple Crown champion and P30,000 for that of the Hopeful winner.

According to Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, “A sweep will be very exciting for the sport and for its aficionados. We look forward to seeing if the sweep bonus prize will finally be claimed. The breeders’ prizes should serve as added incentives for breeders to continue the good work they are doing to improve our local thoroughbred bloodstock.”

This weekend at SLLP will have participants and fans on tenterhooks, eager to see if Yes Pogi, a gray horse will follow another gray (Patrick Uy’s Silver Story in 2001) in the roster of Triple Crown champions. Who are you going with – sa itim (bay), sa pula (chestnut), o sa puti (gray or roan)?  ***

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THW: Verdugo Juveniles

by Jenny on July 1, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 30 June 2010, Wednesday

Verdugo Juveniles

Verdugo.

In Spanish, it means ‘tyrant, executioner’; in Filipino, it connotes images of masculinity and toughness. And if you believe that words – and names – possess power, a special mojo of their own, then it’s a good strong name for a racehorse.

The names of the “Dugo” horses currently terrorizing the track are taken from this word, and they are living up to its meaning in spectacular style, the latest instances being the winners of last weekend’s Juvenile Stakes races at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park.

Sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission, Saturday saw the running of the Juvenile Fillies and Sunday the Colts, both over 1,200 meters.

In the Fillies, Sixto Esquivias’s Antoine D’Ugo, winner of a Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden race some three weeks back, was sent off as the outstanding favorite. To no one’s surprise she completely trounced her foes – Oliver Velasquez’s Deputy Jazz, who came in second; third-placer Pot Pot’s Love (her coupled entry); Wilbert Tan’s Ginny Rose; while Dugo’s Paramour (owned by Ralph Javier) came in last.

Antoine D’Ugo (Fort Dignity – Mrs. Rainier) was bred by Tony de Ubago.

In the Colts, Ralph Javier’s Arvin Dugo won handily, posting splits of 24’-22’-26’ for a total time of 1:13.5. Tony de Ubago’s Cheese Quemas came in second a couple of lengths behind, followed by Javier’s General Dugo (the winner’s coupled entry) and Tan’s Perfect Pyjama.

The Juvenile Colts races was run without betting, as there is a required minimum number of entries for the racing club to offer a certain betting option. Why were only ‘three in number’ were allowed to run? Because there is a racing rule that provides exactly that.

Meanwhile, jockey Fernando Raquel Jr. and trainer Renato Yamco scored two-for-two by copping trophies in both races as rider and conditioner of Antoine D’Ugo and Arvin Dugo.

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It was great to hear from horseowner and breeder Raymund Puyat last week. He clarified a statement I made in my last column about Rum Tum Tiger, sire of recent PCSO Special Maiden race winner Naugh Naugh, being a Herma Farms & Stud stallion. Puyat was in fact the owner of the stallion (now deceased), which stood at Herma for two seasons. He also owns Velocity, Naugh Naugh’s dam.

Arvin Dugo (Quaker Ridge – Repriced) was bred by Eric Tagle, who mentioned that Repriced is also the dam of his champion Thief in the Nite (by US sire Bel Esprit), winner of this year’s Philracom 2nd leg Hopeful Stakes.

Among the country’s most steadfast breeders, Puyat and Tagle continue to contribute to the effort of raising Philippine champions by bringing in successful lineages from abroad.

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From the Philracom comes the news that several horses broke records at Santa Ana Park recently. In the 1,100m: Sixto Esquivias’s Megamax, 1:05.8; 1,200m: Celerino Falcon’s Queen Starr, 1:13; and two owned by Herminio Esguerra – 1,300m: Go Army, 1:17.6; 1,700m: Multiply, 1:46. Congratulations! Expect faster times and perhaps more new records with the advent of the rainy season and firmer track surfaces.

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This Sunday at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park will see the revival of the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association Cup, sponsored by the Philracom. The lineup will be announced soon.   ***

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THW: Naugh Naugh Wins

by Jenny on June 23, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 23 June 2010, Wednesday

Naugh Naugh Wins

Now what kind of name is that for a racehorse?

Owned by Napoleon Magno and trained by Donny Sordan, Naugh Naugh, a bay colt foaled in February 2008, is by Herma Farms and Stud stallion Rum Tum Tiger out of Philippine mare Velocity.

He did well in his first few runs but showed a stellar quality last Sunday in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race held over 1,300 meters at the San Lazaro Leisure Park.

Steered by Class A rider Jesse Guce, the oddly-named colt trounced four other opponents – Conqueror, the also strangely-appellated Cheese Quemas, Bosbarawana, and General Dugo.

This goes to show that in racing, you don’t go by the name – you go by the feet. Because names can’t run.

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This weekend at Santa Ana Park, expect more juvenile action with the staging of the Philippine Racing Commission’s 1st leg Juvenile Fillies Stakes on Saturday and the 1st leg Juvenile Colts Race on Sunday, both races to be run over an easy 1,200 meters.

Each race will have prizes of P300,00 for first, P112,500 for second, P62,500 for third, and P25,000 for fourth, with a breeder’s prize of P15,000. The generous incentives, said Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, “are to ensure the continued efforts towards breeding Philippine champions that can hold their own with the world’s best.”

Six have signed up to fight in the Fillies Stakes: Sixto Esquivias IV’s Antoine d’Ugo (to be ridden by jockey Fernando Raquel Jr.) and Potpot’s Love (Jonathan Hernandez); Edward Tan’s Armoury; Oliver Velasquez’s Deputy Jazz (Val Dilema); Ralph Javier’s Dugo’s Paramour (Jhemo Tinte); Wilbert Tan’s Ginny’s Rose (Patty Dilema).

Four will contend in the Colts: Ralph Javier’s Arvin Dugo (Raquel) and General Dugo (Tinte); Tony de Ubago’s Cheese Quemas (Jonathan Hernandez); and Wilbert Tan’s Perfect Pyjama (Patty Dilema).

All fillies will carry a set weight of 52 kgs., colts 54 kgs.

In the Fillies, I’m looking at Antoine d’Ugo to do well. She won the May 23 PCSO Special Maiden Race at Santa Ana Park going wire-to-wire, beating a panting Arvin Dugo who’ll be running in the Colts this time.

With Naugh Naugh not running in the Colts, General Dugo’s chances look much better and he should stage a good performance here.

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These are not the only good races in the offing. Watch out for the revival of the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association Cup, slated for July 4 at SLLP.  Sponsored by the Philracom, the PSA Cup will once more see sports writers, not only those who cover racing, converge at the track to enjoy the races, each other’s company, and raise funds for the organization’s charitable  efforts and other activities.   (Email: jennyo@live.com * Visit: http://jennyo.net)

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