THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 23 December 2009, Wednesday
10th Philtobo Championship Day
Horseracing ushers out 2009 with the big explosive bang of the Philippine Thoroughbred Owners’ and Breeders’ Organization’s 10th Grand Championship Day, set for Sunday at the Philippine Racing Club’s New Santa Ana Park racecourse in Naic, Cavite.
Philtobo was established in 1998 to promote the breeding of quality Philippine racehorses on par with world standards. Over the years, Philtobo has initiated various programs that recognize and encourage excellence in the sport, among them the Gintong Lahi Awards and the Philtobo Championship Races, first known as the Philtobo Mitra Cup after one of its founding members, the late Speaker of the House of Representatives Ramon Mitra Jr.
Ten years has passed since the first Philtobo races were held, and this year marks a milestone in the history of the event. According to Philtobo president Bienvenido C. Niles Jr., “This year, the focus is on the juveniles, to encourage breeders and horseowners in the 2YO aspect of racing, and we include the island-born runners as eligible,” unlike other racing programs that restrict eligibility to Philippine-breds.
The prize money for the juvenile championship has been increased to P2 million. Four other championships will be held. There will also be special trophy races for 2YO with added prizes of P100,000.
2YO Championship Race (1,600m): For the first time in the history of this event, both juvenile colts and fillies groups will be merged to compete against each other against a mile, a hundred meters more than the 1,500 meters distance it used to be at the old Santa Ana Park racetrack in Makati.
The 13-horse field promises a well-contested fight between the best juveniles in the land, but it looks like coupled entries Carriedo and Azcarraga will be the favorites. Carriedo easily won the MARHO-Philracom Jade Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Colts fun at Naic last November 29 and the Philracom Juvenile Championship last December 6. Azcarraga has not had an easy time of it in her recent campaigns, but the island-born filly’s quality is expected to shine through in this race, having placed fourth to Carriedo in the Philracom Juvenile Championship.
Stiff opposition will be put up by Thoti’s Best, Gastambide, and Pinakamagaling, who placed second, third, and fourth respectively to Carriedo in the MARHO Jade Juvenile Colts. Pinakamagaling copped third in the recent Philracom Juvenile Championship. Tiger Moon, winner of the MARHO-Philracom Jade Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies race, will also show her mettle here, as will Thoti’s Best stablemate Perfect Material who placed third in that race.
Looking for a place in the limelight is Rolling Thunder, who won as a longshot also last November 29 in a MARHO Jade Trophy Race. The other entries in this race are Invincible, Well Well Well, Len Len, Toy Warrior, and Kristal Beauty.
3YO Fillies Championship (1,600m): It looks like a cinch for Heaven Sent in this race. The mile is her specialty, and she has the most experience in high-caliber stakes races, having won two legs of the Triple Crown this year, and recently placing second to Nuclear Power in the MARHO Jade Breeders’ Cup Filly Mile. Frozen Margarita, Navratilova, and Rosa’s Success will try their best to snag a win here, but will likely settle for places.
3YO Colts Championship (1,600m): Iconic easily won a recent tuneup race also at Naic during the OTB-SAPI races. Oh Wacky has been showing his class all year, winning a string of minor stakes races. Expected to put up a good fight are Creation and Showmaster, who might pull off upsets.
Classic Championship (2,000m): This race looks like a cinch for Don Enrico, who cruised to a win in the 2,000 meter MARHO-San Miguel Beer Jade Breeders’ Cup Classic by many lengths, without use of the whip. Ididitmyway placed third in that same race. Dumadagundong and Bumble Bee will strive for best places in this event. *** (Web: jennyo.net)