THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 17 February 2010, Wednesday
Don Enrico, Jesse Guce, are PSA Awardees
The Philippine Sportswriters Association recently announced their honorees for 2009 – and in horseracing, it’s Don Enrico for Horse of the Year and Jesse B. Guce for Jockey of the Year.
According to the Philippine Racing Commission website (philracom.gov.ph), Guce’s “horse prize earnings” or “money earned” for 2009 amount to P57.28 million. This represents the prize money earned by the horses he has ridden that have placed from first to fourth (the only places that are awarded prizes). Guce notched a first- to fourth-place record of 264-209-175-169 out of 1,290 total rides in 2009.
In contrast, second-ranked rider Fernando M. Raquel Jr. rode 992 times last year to create a 200-157-156-112 record, with P46.40 million in horse prize earnings – almost P11 million off the earnings of Guce’s horses.
Don Enrico, despite P6.58 million in earnings with a record of 14-1-1-0, was not the top-ranked horse in terms of money earned, according to Philracom. That honor went to Heaven Sent, who made P6.63 million with a 7-4-1-2 record.
Still, HotY honors are usually given to older horses that have notched accomplishments that younger horses such as Heaven Sent, then a 3YO filly, cannot match at their ages. Heaven Sent has seen action mostly against same-sex and same-age opponents over short- to mid-distances; Don Enrico, then a 4YO colt, has gone up against both younger and older horses, imports and locals, in grueling open races of up to 2,000 meters.
Don Enrico’s stakes wins in 2009 include the Philracom Garnet II, Amethyst II, Emerald I, Emerald II, Sapphire II, Yellow Topaz I, Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Memorial Cup Div. II, San Miguel-MARHO Jade Breeders’s Cup Classic, Philtobo Classic, and a rare sweep of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s First Gentleman Silver Cup in June and Presidential Gold Cup in December.
Now 5YO, the progeny of Philippine champion horse Wind Blown out of Kayumanggi is owned by Lorraine Uy Wi and former Biliran congressman Gerry Espina Jr.
Ironically, it is jockey Raquel who is Don Enrico’s regular rider and steered him to his victories. Guce, however, booted more winners and placers in 2009, among them Ibarra, Native Land, Shining Fame, Thoti’s Best, classy import Syrinx, and last season’s juvenile sensation Carriedo.
Guce is the son of former star jockey Jesus “Bong” C. Guce, now retired due to injuries sustained over the course of a three-decade long career.
The PSA officers are Teddyvic Melendres, president (Philippine Daily Inquirer), Rey Bancod, first vice-president (Tempo), Jun Lomibao, second vice-president (Business Mirror), Riera Mallari, secretary (Manila Standard-Today), and Joe Antonio, treasurer (People’s Journal). They announced that the PSA Awards Night will be held on March 1 at the Manila Hotel.
The Philippine thoroughbred industry (encompassing racing and breeding) welcomes the recognition given to its achievers by third-party organizations such as the PSA. Horseracing is a sport that keeps to itself, with few save its aficionados and stakeholders knowing and caring what accomplishments are being made, records broken, and standards raised in one of the toughest sports of all, a marriage of human and equine athleticism.
For the PSA to continue honoring racing’s achievers every year is in itself a deed worthy of recognition. *** (Web: http://jennyo.net)