THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 25 November 2009, Wednesday
MARHO and PCSO Powerhouse Races
For perhaps the first time ever in the history of the sport in the Philippines, two entities that support horseracing combine forces to deliver a power-packed weekend of ultra-hot galloping action that will have racegoers screaming in their seats.
The Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office are both celebrating landmark occasions this year – the MARHO, their 35th -(Jade) anniversary; PCSO, their 75th (Diamond). Together, the luster of these precious gems, the symbols of MARHO and PCSO for this year, will sparkle together in twin coruscations that will adorn the history of the sport.
MARHO’s Jade Breeders’ Cup raceweek is set from November 24 to 29 at the Philippine Racing Club’s New Santa Ana Park racecourse in Naic, Cavite.
Despite economic difficulties, “MARHO has forged ahead with its commitment to its members and the thoroughbred community in general to stage what is still the most prestigious horseracing festival on the calendar,” said MARHO president Mandaluyong mayor Benhur Abalos.
The MBC program, the brainchild of MARHO’s then-president Aristeo Puyat and chairman Sandy Javier, began in 1996 as an incentive for local thoroughbred owners and breeders to improve the quality of their racehorses.
“The program’s aim was to bring racing and breeding closer to international standards,” said Javier, still current MARHO chair. “Its objectives were to provide incentives for local breeders to improve bloodstock in the country, and for racehorse owners to bring up their runners to championship standards.”
Sunday, November 29, will see the 14th running of the six traditional MBC championships – MBC Sprint (1,000 meters), Philracom-MBC Juvenile Fillies and Philracom-MBC Juvenile Colts (both 1,300 meters), MBC Filly Mile and Santa Ana Park Colt Mile (both 1,600 meters), and the San Miguel Beer-MBC Classic (2,000 meters).
Abalos thanked the event sponsors – MARHO founder and San Miguel Corporation chairman Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr., who has supported the program since its inception; the Philippine Racing Commission under chairman Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II and commissioners; and the Philippine Racing Club, whose Santa Ana Park is MARHO’s home track. The other sponsors are the Ciara Marie Abalos Foundation, Hygain Feeds, and Easifeeds.
The PCSO’s Diamond Anniversary activities for racing include the second wave of PCSO Diamond Races on November 28, Saturday, also at New Santa Ana Park.
These include the PCSO Games Races named for its products – the EZ2 Lotto Race, 6/45 Megalotto Race, 6/49 Superlotto Race, Small-Town Lottery Race, and the Traditional Sweepstakes Race.
The day’s highlight is the once-in-a-lifetime 1,800-meter PCSO 75th Anniversary Race – the Diamond Cup. Thirteen imports and island-born horses will vie against each other for the top prize of P600,000.00, from a total purse for first to fourth of one million pesos.
“The PCSO Diamond Anniversary Racing Festival,” said PCSO chairman Sergio O. Valencia, “is a historic event that celebrates the ties between the agency and the sport of horseracing.” PCSO vice-chair and general manager Rosario C. Uriarte thanked the members of the racing industry and sports fans “who have strongly supported the cause of charity in various ways throughout the years.”
This is one speed-filled, action-crammed racing weekend that a true sportsman should not miss! ***