THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 13 May 2009, Wednesday
Triple Crown I on Sunday
It’s all systems go for the running of the 2009 Philippine Racing Commission-backed first leg of the Triple Crown trilogy. It is the most significant race series on the calendar for 3YO local-breds.
These three races test the quality and ability of the produce of Philippine thoroughbred breeders – did they match the right mare to the right stallion, taking into account the tail-female line, nicking, and other factors? This is where breeders’ questions are answered, where horseowners are vindicated for their choice, and where racing fans are treated to an incredible racing experience.
The TC1, its auxiliary race the Hopeful I Stakes, and the Emerald I Stakes will be run on May 17 at the Philippine Racing Club’s New Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.
Surrounded by a swirl of controversy two weeks ago for a number of accidents that occurred there, the track is being repaired by PRC’s racing department, in reaction to negative comments from horseowners, trainers, jockeys, and other racing stakeholders.
Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners president Mandaluyong Mayor lawyer Benhur Abalos, who had written a strongly-worded letter to PRC management after the “alarming” incidents last raceweek at NSAP, now commended the racing club for taking “prompt action” to fix the track surface.
“We are very pleased at the quick response of PRC,” said Abalos. “Our main concern here is for the safety of the jockeys rather than the horses and we trust that PRC continues the rehabilitation of their track to bring it to good racing condition.”
Veteran rider Antonio Alcasid Jr., president of the New Philippine Jockeys Association, said that so far, jockeys and exercise riders who work horses at NSAP have not reported any untoward incidents after repairs to the track surface were begun last week.
So, for the TC1 – who’s it going to be?
With one of the favorites, Go Army, scratched as early as Monday, it could be any of the remaining combatants – fillies Boudica, Heaven Sent, Virgin Liberty, and Windbeneathmywings, and colts Boni’s Gem, Batangas Baron, Creation, Dream Supreme, Go Navy (stablemate of Go Army), Iconic, Lively Dude, Mr. Akino, and Mr. Diamond.
Virgin Liberty, Boni’s Gem, and Dream Supreme, who have defeated Go Army in various matches, look good to do well in this mile race. Also one to consider is Mr. Diamond. Go Navy is likely to place.
The mile Hopeful I is a puzzle. Key Joshua was scratched, leaving Action Sailor, Bahala Na, Blue Ocean, Earresistable, Eternal Flame, Henry Sugar, Oko Boy, Princess Jacklyn, State Witness, Storm Gust, Tribal Queen, and Wind Turbulence.
Blue Ocean, a multiple stakes contender, will be one of the favorites here. Earresistable, who recently won a tune-up race in spanking style, should also get some votes, along with Henry Sugar and Tribal Queen.
The Emerald I is a four-horse affair with Tony de Ubago’s Chariot of Fire, Aristeo Puyat’s Cutting Edge, Lorraine Uy Wi’s Don Enrico, and Robert Yutadco’s Speed Almighty. This is anybody’s race, with Don Enrico perhaps having a slight edge. ***