THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 30 September 2009, Wednesday
Typhoon Ondoy Cancels Races
With the onslaught of Ondoy, races last weekend at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park were cancelled. Same with the Tuesday races at the Philippine Racing Club’s New Santa Ana Park. While races are supposed to resume today at the latter, racing fans are still advised to stay tuned to the news, as races may yet be cancelled.
The rains did not hit the Cavite area as hard as Metro Manila, so both racetracks – SLLP in Carmona and NSAP in Naic – are in fine condition and were not flooded. Neither were the stables and other facilities. The tracks are good enough to run races on. The horses are fine.
However, it is not the same story in many off-track betting stations across the city. Hit hard were the ones in Marikina and Cainta. This is the reason for the cancellation of races by PRC yesterday – with few OTBs operating, sales will surely be down.
And it is only right that in this situation, the proper priorities be set. Let us give our countrymen a chance to catch their breath and recover from disaster. Put the matter into perspective – horseracing is, after all, a game, a form of entertainment. People have more important things to take care of right now. Things will resume their normal course in time, as they always have.
Last Saturday, at the height of the storm, a fellow sportswriter texted me asking when the Philippine Racing Commission’s Sapphire II stakes, supposed to have run the following day, was to be reset. I thought it an insensitive question. Obviously the race will be reset to the next SLLP weekend or some other date. But does that even matter, I thought, at a time like this? It seemed trivial to be discussing sports while many of our countrymen in the areas assaulted by tropical storm Ondoy were salvaging their homes, mourning lost loved ones, trying to make sense of the tragedy dealt by Mother Nature.
For now, let us think of ways we can reach out to those who need our help. Bring relief goods to the Philippine Red Cross, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and other venues that have sprung up out of the Filipino’s spirit of bayanihan. Many people who have lost their homes or suffered major damage to them need food, clothing, medicines, water, and other basic goods. Others in areas where the floodwaters have not receded are still “unrescued”.
The tracks are there, they are not going to go away. The horses are well, they will run when they have to. First things first – this time, it’s people who need our help. Focus on what needs to be done. We can watch the horses race another day. *** (Web: http://jennyo.net)