THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 7 October 2009, Wednesday
Racing Festivals Coming Soon
It’s the last quarter of the year, when horseowners’ organizations traditionally schedule their racing festivals, one after the other, to celebrate their passion of the sport, showcase the best quality runners of the country, and provide incentives to race participants to recognize their achievements and reward their investments of time, effort, and resources.
Racing fans look forward to this time, when the best of the best come out to compete against each other, no quarter given, no points for second place. The action that takes place at these events is spectacular, the kind of heart-pounding, glass-shattering, earth-moving excitement that brings crowds to their feet, shouting and roaring for more.
October kicks it off with the Klub Don Juan de Manila racing festival on October 20 to 25 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. Four major races will be held – the Don Juan Derby, Golden Girls for older racemares, Juvenile Colts, and Juvenile Fillies stakes. The rest of the week will be highlighted with special and trophy races. KDJM always puts on a great show since they started the event in 2002, and this year, says president Lamberto “Jun” Almeda Jr., will be just as interesting. “We prepared for this months in advance,” he said, “to make this something that racing fans will really enjoy watching.”
November is MARHO Breeders’ Cup month. The Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, and this year’s Jade edition of the MBC is the 14th such event by the first, oldest, and largest horseowners’ group in the country. Set for November 24 to 29 at the Philippine Racing Club’s New Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, the six traditional major MBC races offer temptingly large prize money purses – the Sprint, Juvenile Fillies, Juvenile Colts, Filly Mile, Colt Mile, and the Classic. Only local-bred horses may join, as the program was initially set up by MARHO chairman Leonardo Javier Jr. and past president Aristeo Puyat to support and promote thoroughbred breeding in the country.
For those wishing to enter their MBC-nominated runners, the first declaration is on October 27, and the second declaration on November 3 at the PRC Handicapping Department. Said MARHO president mayor Benhur Abalos, “This event is all the more special as it falls on our 35th anniversary. We in the MARHO will do our best to make this raceweek unforgettable.” Trophy and special races throughout the week will add to the glory of the event.
December ushers in the Philippine Thoroughbred Owners’ and Breeders’ Organization Championship races. Slated for December 22 to 27 as the year-ender extravaganza at NSAP in Naic, Philtobo will stage minor races along with four majors – the Classic, 3YO Colts, 3YO Fillies, and the Juvenile championship. The latter merges the colts and fillies races that used to be run separately. As an open-gender group, expect the racing to be even more suspense-filled.
The icing on the cake are two Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office events. PCSO racing committee vice-chairman Rey Empremiado confirmed that the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup is set for December 6 at SLLP. This is one of the most prestigious races on the calendar, and it’s anybody’s guess at this point who will take home the gleaming golden trophy carved with intricate figures that takes pride of place on a horseowner’s shelf.
But as game show hosts say – “Not only that, there’s more!” Empremiado revealed that the PCSO has just approved the staging of the Diamond Anniversary races to mark the agency’s 75th anniversary this year. Tentatively set for December 13 at NSAP, ten big races are to be held, promising more nerve-racking, nail-biting, pulse-throbbing competition. Look forward to the finest in horseracing in the months to come. ***