THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 10 February 2010, Wednesday
Amethyst Races this Month
The deep purple glow of the amethyst, traditional birthstone for February, is an apt symbol for this month’s slew of stakes races from the Philippine Racing Commission featuring the 3YO gems of the track.
Total prizes of P500,000 for first to fourth places have been allocated for each of these races, to be held at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.
The 1,600-meter Amethyst II for 3YO local fillies and Amethyst IV for 3YO local colts is set for February 21; the 1,700-meter Amethyst III – the second leg of the Imported-Local Challenge Series for 3YO – will run on February 20.
These and other stakes races to come are tune-ups for 3YO leading to the Triple Crown this summer, with the mile first leg to be held on May 9 and the 1,800-meter second leg on June 6, both at SAP. The 2,000-meter third leg is on July 18 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.
Aside from those contenders that already raced as juveniles – Carriedo, Pinakamagaling, Speed Spell, Ice Storm, Thoti’s Best, and Perfect Material, to name some – it’s worth looking out for the other 3YO that come fresh to the fight this year – Tarlak (who won a race at SAP last Saturday as a longshot), Moscow Vallet, Len Len, Queen of Class, Rolling Thunder, and Lord of the Sun.
Carriedo dominated last year’s juvenile season, but with the influx of new talent, the Triple Crown series are anybody’s guess at this point. Certainly it’s worth taking a close look at the coming Amethyst races as well as the ordinary races for 3YO to spot likely champions of the future.
Meanwhile, fat payoffs abounded again at SAP last week. A hail of longshots on Saturday – Moscow Vallet, Hepburn, Arithmetic, Delightful Belle, and Ray Moon Star – resulted in a P1.4 million carryover in the first Winner-Take-All event to the next day. The second WTA set paid P377,000 per winning ticket.
On Sunday, the first WTA set grossed P7.66 million. More dark horses came in first at the wire to throw everyone into a tizzy – tiny Walk the Talk in Race 1, lightly-regarded Royal Scepter in Race 2 and Dominance in Race 4, and stunners Speak Low in Race 5 and Key Boy in Race 7. Only eleven winning tickets remained, each worth P581,000.
The second set of the WTA was almost as rich. With Dreamin’ Again posting a surprise win in Race 8, the payout was P454,000 for each of two winning tickets.
A bettor holds a racing program. (Levi Lacandula, 2007, via the Web)
Fans are praising the handicapping of PRC’s racing department, which has been preparing blockbuster lineups since the start of the year. Credit should also be given to the horseowners and trainers who participated in the races.
Sales were also unexpectedly strong – the daily double pools were regularly over P600,000, when formerly they would be just a bit below or over the half-million peso mark.
With things going well the first six raceweeks of the year, the Philippine thoroughbred industry is optimistic that sales will rebound in the months to come. Well, there’s nowhere else to go but up. Will we see a return to the million-peso daily double pools of five years back? Let’s wait and see – and hope and do. *** (Web: http://jennyo.net)