THW: Aquamarine II on Sunday

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

Aquamarine II on Sunday

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

It’s a logistical challenge.

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

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

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

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

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8 Comments on THW: Aquamarine II on Sunday

  1. John Turne
    25 March 2009 at 7:34 pm (4023 days ago)

    Really enjoy reading your articles about Philippine racing and the people involved. I help many of the Philippine owners when they come to the USA, so your site helps me follow horses purchased here, as well as the breeding that goes on in your country. It really helps me when you include the horses breeding in your stories.
    Many thanks for all you do.
    John Turner

  2. Jenny
    26 March 2009 at 12:25 am (4023 days ago)

    Thanks, John, glad to be of help. :)

  3. NiHAWmA
    26 March 2009 at 2:10 am (4023 days ago)

    Those who have committed corrupt practices must also show public remorse and ask forgiveness just for the sake of the industry. No confession is needed and appropriate penance. Those who abuse their horses. Cruelty by giving downers and uppers. Why there is a so called RETALINE and INDERAL? What’s the authorities doing?


    How some of the people in the horse racing industry (for whatever reason) is not aware about this corrupt practices.

    In addition also, those irresponsible authorities who neglect their responsibility to the betting public. Unjust and unfair dividends. A very poor photo finish picture that does not have a MIRROR IMAGE. A race caller who during the parade of entries is familiar with the horses still does not know whom to call. Do we need an academy for the race callers also?

    What is very frustrating and disappointing to hear are THOSE JOCKEYS WHO ARE OVERWEIGHT. They should not be allowed to ride. Poor horse owner. What’s the stewards doing and especially the clerk of scales. They are bound to do their morale duty. Their salaries comes from the wagers of the betting public AND NOT from the pocket of the racing clubs.

    It is the duty of the clerk of scales to see to it that all the jockeys meet their required weight. Their job is to weigh all jockeys and related equipment according to the rules. The clerk of scales are the ones responsible at the time of the weighing out and weighing in of the jockeys. Full disclosure is needed. Any variations should be reported to the stewards and any overweight shall be announced over the public address system for public information.

    OVERWEIGHT jockeys should not be allowed because there is a potential effect regarding the outcome of the race.

    TOP FAVORITES has been losing nowadays. What’s the stewards doing? Are they blind? Do they have a CATARACTS? Shame on you having a thick face. Have a little conscience please. Think of the gravity of the corrupt practices … and any wrongdoings to the animals also.

    There is a saying “Crime does not pay” for each wrongdoings will just caught you up.

    The problem in this country is that we have a law where it can be twisted and bended. Do not be intimidated by power and influenced by somebody just to render a biased decision.

    Don’t wait for that time we might regret what will happen. It’s better late than sorry. Those who tolerate corrupt practices and indulge in cruel acts, lacks a foundation and a good educational background. Immorality. Always remember, you cannot turn back.


  4. Kid
    26 March 2009 at 4:16 am (4023 days ago)

    Nihawma, alot of anger???

    A lot of Negative Issues here…

    1st-Scales—Do they need to televise the Scales???
    2nd-Top Favorite–I Think that Racing Clubs are nothing to do with ODDS, its the BETTING PUBLIC who make those ODDS…
    3rd-RaceCaller–I Saw TOM DURKIN(EastCoast RaceCaller) Interview..He Said, he has a LOT of Books n Dictionary with HIM ALL THE TIME…so I Suggest to SLLP/SCLP racecallers to do that also..
    4th-Photo Finish–they do have a poor/bad photos…

    Im just gonna add up, do they televise the head-on video whenever there is an INQUIRY???

  5. NiHAWmA
    28 March 2009 at 5:57 pm (4020 days ago)

    I am sorry if I have to addressed some of the negative issues. BUT let me explain

    Any horse should be FREE from any prohibited substance before it is being brought to the racecourse for the purpose of engaging in a race. Why do we hear, inderal and retaline? Are they prohibited substance?

    Top favorites has been losing. Yes it is the betting public who is doing the odds BUT.. who is on top of the saddle, is it the public or the jockey? The racing club’s stewards should conduct an investigation whenever a top favorite loses the race.

    Scales ?? they don’t need to show it to the public Sir. It is the responsibility of the clerk of scales to report to the Board of Stewards whenever a jockey is found to be OVERWEIGHT.

    The clerk of scales should not only take, read and record about the weight of each jockey but must also report to the Board of Stewards regarding ANY OVERWEIGHT jockey. During the weighing out the clerk of scales will verify the weigh of the jockeys excluding the whip , safety helmets and number cloth based on my observation. There should be a full disclosure. Overweight jockeys should not be allowed to ride because there is a potential effect. It’s a factor.

    If you’ve seen a photo finish picture, you may not appreciate it. A standard photo finish picture should have a MIRROR IMAGE so that the result can be justified and proven to the betting public. What is also very disappointing is that the betting public is being deprived of staring at the picture for about a minute.

    In fairness, the race caller does not need any books. They are familiar with the horses and especially the racing colors already because they ran at least twice a week. That’s the reason why there is a parade of horses for them to get familiarize.

    When there is an inquiry, what they normally do is to show to the betting public the frontal shots. What is very disappointing is about the rule regarding “the chance of success”.

  6. haksek
    29 March 2009 at 2:38 pm (4020 days ago)

    Deja vu….back to square one. err… World Class, are we?

  7. NiHAWmA
    30 March 2009 at 2:38 am (4019 days ago)

    The rabbit succeed but Go Army’s opponent gained.

    Longshot VIRGIN LIBERTY stunned juvenile champion GO ARMY in the last stretch and blew away the competition with a length victory against another longshot horse Batangas Baron.

    The best time of Go Army (1:32, Juvenile, Dec 2008 at SLLP, 1:32 also in old Santa Ana) was very far from the time being registered by Virgin Liberty (1:35).

    Is Go Army really serious in his campaign in the forthcoming triple crown? Is he the horse who would like to face IBARRA?

  8. Kid
    31 March 2009 at 7:31 pm (4017 days ago)

    maybe the horse was not in a good condition, but the betting public didnt know it, instead the betting public only know that the Horse did good on his/her recent race…thats why they keep on betting the horse…