THW: Ibarra Wins Garnet II

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 20 January 2010, Wednesday

Ibarra Wins Garnet II

After a challenging season that saw him bow under consecutive losses in major stakes races, track icon Ibarra (Yonaguska – Fire Down Under) rebounded with a win in the Philippine Racing Commission Garnet II Stakes last Sunday.

Held at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite, the 1,500-meter race was the first in the Local vs. Imported Challenge Series that is actually a free-for-all for all comers, unlike other stakes races that differentiate between Philippine-bred runners and imports in an effort to level the playing field.

Ibarra is an “island-born”, meaning his dam, Fire Down Under, was imported from the US into this country while in foal (pregnant) to the stallion Yonaguska. Local-bred horses are the produce of matings conducted in the country. Ibarra was the only island-born in the eight-horse field; the rest were imports.

The Garnet II was an easy win for the Ruben Tupas-trained Ibarra in a comeback of sorts that saw the feisty horse maintain a four-length lead wire to wire until the finish line, clocking 18-24′-24′-25 for a total time of 1:32.

Ibarra takes the lead from the get-go and never looks back.

Guided for the first time by jockey Jesse Guce, Ibarra needed hardly any urging and no whipping at all to bring home the top prize of P300,00 to his owner, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos.


Ibarra shows off his winning form.

Australian imports Tiwi Magic placed second and Best of Tsuimai fourth, and American import Fierce Fighter took third.

Jb gUCE 1

Jockey Jesse Guce salutes the stewards after the race.

Awarding 2

At the awarding ceremony: MJC chairman and CEO Atty. Alfonso R. Reyno Jr., Philracom chairman Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, trainer Ruben S. Tupas, Philracom commissioners James Paman and Eduardo C. Domingo Jr., and guest Richard Merck.

JB Guce , Richard Merk & Kid

Jockey Jesse Guce, daughter Ina, and singer Richard Merck.

All photos by Ben Maniclang.

This weekend at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, the events to watch are the Philracom Garnet III on Saturday and the Garnet IV on Sunday. Both are mile races that are tune-ups for the summer’s Triple Crown competition for elite 3YO.

The Garnet III showcases fillies Andalucia, Ice Storm, Tiger Moon, Well Well Well, and Viva Vola. The colts running in the Garnet IV are Final Judgement, Gastambide, Lakota Creek, Pinakamagaling, and Righthererightnow.

Meanwhile, the Philracom continues its revision of Philippine racing rules and regulations. Known as the “Blue Book”, the handbook has been printed several times over the past couple of decades but gets outdated as changes are made to make the rules more fair and responsive.

According to Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, the agency “is bringing the rules up to date by incorporating changes brought about by amendments and Board resolutions, streamlining procedures, and doing everything else that needs to be done.”

The rules, cited as “PR”, encompass all aspects of racing that Philracom has jurisdiction over, from qualifications and responsibilities of horseowners, trainers, jockeys, and grooms to rules on race conduct, drug-testing protocols, and Stud Book rules. The revised and updated Blue Book is expected to be released within the year.   *** (Web:

ERRATUM: Thanks to Josh (“Nihawma”) of for pointing out that Jesse Guce has ridden Ibarra before – and also guided him to victory in  a major stakes race. See

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