THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 19 August 2009, Wednesday
Carriedo, Azcarraga Win Juvenile Stakes
Once again, Herminio S. Esguerra’s Herma Farms & Stud dominated the season’s elite juvenile campaign with the impressive wins of two of its produce, Carriedo and Azcarraga in last Sunday’s Philippine Racing Commission juvenile stakes races at the San Lazaro Leisure Park.
Carriedo (Deputy Bodman – Astuce), ridden by jockey Karvin Malapira, beat stablemate Brother Barrack in the 1,400-meter Juvenile Colts, grabbing the lead in the stretch to win by two. He clocked 1:29 with with splits of 12′ 24′ 25 27.
Manchester came in third, followed by Pinakamagaling (another Herma-bred), and Conquista Roll.
In the 1,400-meter Juvenile fillies, Azcarraga (Untouchable – As Tears Go By) grabbed top honors, also under the guidance of Malapira. The island-born Azcarraga came from behind to overtake the fading speedsters to stage a convincing win, with quarters of 12′ 24 25 28 for a total time of 1:29.6.
Herma-breds have dominated the juvenile ranks for several years. Who can forget the 2YO performances of Indelible Ink and Go Army, to name just a couple? Yet a shadow has been cast on Azcarraga’s accomplishments by the question surrounding her true age.
Based on the Australian breeder’s records, specifically the last date of service by the stallion on the broodmare, and going by the usual thoroughbred gestation period of 11 to 11.5 months, the filly should have been born in November 2006, making it technically a 3YO and ineligible to race against 2YO.
But Mr. Esguerra, in a phone conversation, maintained that Azcarraga’s mare carried her for 12 months and 28 days, and that such an extended gestation period is not unknown or even that unusual. Azcarraga is registered as having been foaled in January 2007.
Questions by other horseowners to the Philracom have caused the launch of an investigation into the matter. Meanwhile, under “due process” laws, Azcarraga is considered “innocent until proven guilty” and may be declared to run in races, although any Philracom prize money she may earn shall be placed on hold until the issue is settled.
Mr. Esguerra has offered many times to open all Herma Farms’ stud books and records, facilties, and broodmares to inspection.
With Azcarraga having won the Juvenile Fillies stakes last Sunday, “it is all the more imperative,” said a director of a prominent horseowners’ organization, “that this matter be settled satisfactorily and soonest.”
Meanwhile, the Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Memorial Cup Division II runs tonight at the Philippine Racing Club’s New Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite .
The 1,700-meter race pits likely favorite Don Enrico, owned by Lorraine Uy Wi, against David Lee’s Fairy Queen, Herminio Esguerra’s Miss Abby Kat, Tony Tan’s Tiwi Magic, and Don Antonio Floirendo’s Traditional.
All races running this week shall have added prize money for all races, with P22,000 the minimum. All winning grooms shall receive a cash award of P3,000 and a sack of rice.
Said congressman Amado Bagatsing, “This racing festival is not only to honor my late father, who was a horseman, but to give recognition to the ordinary folk who were close to his heart when he was mayor.”
Former congressman Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr. added, “We shall be making this an annual event for race participants and fans to look forward to.” ***