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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2 Comments on Track Condition Deplored

  1. NiHAWmA
    10 May 2009 at 12:40 pm (4038 days ago)

    We all know that horse racing in our country is just being conducted on the dirt unlike in other countries where they also have turf (grass) surfaces.

    The condition can vary dramatically which is also taken into consideration by the racing club’s handicapper. Not all horses prefer dry surface. Some of them prefers to run over a wet surface. There are lots of data which is being taken into consideration namely the venue, the date including the condition of the race track.

    It is a routine exercise also for the handicapper to know whether the racing surface is wet or sloppy by referring to the history (past performances). We can easily say that it is a factor. Fast horses/speedsters often record fast times over dry dirt. That’s why we have good, fast and slow track. I just do not know or have the knowledge if the racing club’s handicapper are checking the condition of the race track BEFORE they do the actual handicapping. I believe they just take into account the recorded clockings and actual time finished.

    Judging how a horse will perform over the condition of the dirt course will also be difficult.

    If the condition of the race track is bad, the tendency of the action places the horse on severe stress. Stress on the ligaments and structures of the leg will result in injuries.

    Getting involved in horses is wonderful and rewarding. You develop a relationship with a fascinating animal. Meet new friends also. However, if this is the condition of the race track, you will be disappointed. It will also be a frustration if you happen to be a breeder.

    Are the horse owners willing to take the risk?

    Are you willing to gamble your huge investments if the condition of the race track is bad?

    How much is the cost of the maintenance nowadays suppose if something happens to the race horses?

    Are they insured?

  2. NiHAWmA
    10 May 2009 at 11:54 pm (4037 days ago)

    Please find hereunder, Philracom rules Chapter 24 and Chapter 25

    Philippine Racing Commission
    Chapter 24: Race Clubs Track and Facilities – P.R. 145-146


    PR 145. ALL RACE CLUBS SHOULD PROVIDE ? Racing Clubs shall provide themselves with the following:

    a. adequate and well-maintained race tracks and grandstands;

    The Racing Clubs shall see to it that the racetrack and grandstands are always in good and safe condition. If the racetrack in a particular club has physically deteriorated so much so that it endangers the safety and lives of jockeys and participating horses, or if any of its grandstand appears patently dangerous for the occupancy of the racing public, the PHILRACOM may temporarily suspend racing in that club and order its temporary transfer to the other club until such time as the racetrack or grandstand is renovated and placed in good and safe condition.

    Chapter 25:

    PR 147. RACING MANAGER. – The Racing Manager shall be of legal age, of good moral character, has passed the examination given by the PHILRACOM, and has obtained from the same the required license. His duties and functions:

    6. The Racing Manager shall assure to the PHILRACOM that its facilities enumerated in Section 7 are kept and maintained in good and safe condition. For such purpose, the Racing Manager shall have supervision over all race facilities and devices.