THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 3 June 2009, Wednesday
PCSO FG Silver Cup
The New Philippine Jockeys’ Association Inc. scored another fundraising event last Sunday during the Jockeys’ Day celebrations at the Philippine Racing Club’s New Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.
The highlight of the modest racing festival was the Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored 4th NPJA-Philracom Cup, with total prize money of P300,000 for first to fourth places.
The race was a 1,000-meter featuring Class 4-7A and -7B horses from the lowest groups. But to teach snobs not to discount any kind of race, this one was perhaps the most spectacular of the day in terms of delivering action and excitement.
Races starring horses from these two groups are notoriously the hardest to handicap since their performance may change from one outing to the next. There are hardly any sure wins to be found here; in fact the saying is, ‘the horse who slept best the night before has the best chance to win.”
Sent off as the favorite in the eight-horse field was Prince Larry, who had come off a win. Also selling were Snake Mi Spaghetti (also a winner last outing, with a nice converted time of 1:05 for the distance) and Gondor, known to pull off a surprise or two.
But when the dust cleared in searing hot action that had most of the horses fighting each other valiantly down the stretch, it was longshot Heading West – the pinakadehado sa lahat - who crossed the wire first by a neck ahead of another longshot, Bodman’s Bounty.
Dumbfounded fans crumpled losing exotic bet tickets. Aficionados’ jaws dropped when they saw the official order of arrival. And at the winners’ circle, it was a proud horseowner, Arnold Salazar, who accepted the trophy.
That’s another interesting story there. Salazar had just bought the 10YO horse. This was his first horse – an aging runner with a little kick left, fine for double-double races. And here his new purchase handed him a trophy. If that’s not enough to hook you to the sport forever, what else could there be?
Heading West is trained by Boy Raquel and was ridden by Ryan Camañero, who rode by the rail to sneak up on the others who didn’t see him coming. It was a ride that invited comparison to jockey Calvin Borel’s rail victories on Mine That Bird in the recent Kentucky Derby and on Street Sense in 2007.
This just goes to show that horseracing, starring horses from any group, can deliver entertainment like no other.
In other news, the memorandum of agreement for the staging of the 14th Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office First Gentleman Silver Cup was signed last Thursday at the PCSO offices.
The inking of the document was accomplished by PCSO chairman Sergio O. Valencia, Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, and Philippine Racing Club EVP-COO lawyer Ramon P. Ereñeta Jr.
PRC EVP & COO Atty. Ramon P. Ereñeta Jr., PCSO chairman Sergio O. Valencia, and Philracom chairman Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II hold up a facsimile check representing P 1.1 million pesos in prize money for the winner of the 14th PCSO First Gentleman Silver Cup.
The 2,000-meter race, to be held June 14 at the New Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, in honor of the sitting president’s spouse is one of the most prestigious on the calendar for local-bred and island-born horses.
First prize is P1.1 million, second, P350,000, third, P175,000, and fourth, P85,000. There is also a breeder’s purse of P40,000, as an incentive to produce more Philippine thoroughbreds.
The declared entries are: Joseph Dyhengco’s El Terrible, Tony Tan’s Shining Fame, Jake Maderazo’s Mr. Victory, Lorraine Uy Wi’s Don Enrico, Raymund Puyat’s Hieroglyphics, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos’ Ibarra, Jun Molina’s Defiant, and Herminio Esguerra’s Anonymous.
Don Enrico won the Emerald I and Emerald II Stakes last May. Hieroglyphics came off a good win in a recent regular race, as did Mr. Victory, Shining Fame, and Ibarra. Defiant placed third in a recent tuneup; El Terrible, fourth.
This early, Ibarra, winner of two legs of the 2007 Triple Crown and the 2008 PCSO Presidential Gold Cup, is considered the favorite. ***