THW: Guess Who Won the 15th PCSO Silver Cup?

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  21 April 2010, Wednesday

Guess Who Won the 15th PCSO Silver Cup?

Track icon Ibarra proved he is in peak condition when he won the 15th Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office First Gentleman Silver Cup last Sunday at San Lazaro Leisure Park.

Ibarra’s rider, jockey Jesse Guce, deftly executed a canny strategy to place his magnificent mount in the best position to win the 2,000-meter race despite a challenge from comebacking Go Army.

Go Army was sidelined for several months after his aggressive 2YO season, which he dominated. He is still peaking, whereas Ibarra is in top form.

Ibarra’s owner, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, was pleased at his horse’s performance, saying “I’m glad Ibarra ran a good race. Our stable is proud that our hard work has paid off, and we are very happy that he did not disappoint his fans and gave them good  entertainment.”

From the United States came a message from thoroughbred agent John Turner, who said, “Congratulations…Am delighted that Ibarra is back on track and winning your big races.” Ibarra is an island-born horse who was bred in the US, by sire Yonaguska out of broodmare Fire Down Under.

In the Philippine Racing Commission Diamond I stakes, Felipe Vergara’s Well Well Well sent off as the favorite last Saturday at San Lazaro Leisure Park, and showed supremacy over four other horses to win the P300,000 first prize.

The classy filly by Tiger Ridge out of Pleasant Skip, ridden by Roderick Hipolito and trained by Momoy Mongaya, came from behind at the half-mile to win by two lengths over The Chairwoman. All In took third and Kristal’s Beauty, who won a stakes race last month, settled for fourth. Thief in the Nite came in last.

Other news that has got railbirds chirping is the return of star jockey Jonathan Hernandez from the Middle East. He was suspended for one year for racing rule violations, and was permanently banned from the Manila Jockey Club premises by its CEO, lawyer Alfonso Reyno Jr.

Having served his suspension in full, Hernandez is now riding at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park. He intends to appeal about his ban at MJC, which deprives him of earning a livelihood for two weeks out of four; owners and trainers of his excellent riding skills; and fans of watching one of the best riders of all time.

Atty. Reyno is approachable and kind-hearted, and I believe a sincere apology from Hernandez will go a long way towards easing the restriction. But Hernandez has to be accountable and responsible, and has to stop relying on third-party padrinos to negotiate the lifting of the ban. I asked someone influential if he would be willing to help out, and he shook his head. “There are things people have to do themselves. And apologizing is one of them.”

The first leg of the Triple Crown will be run on May 9 at Santa Ana Park. The other two legs will be held at SLLP. If Hernandez wants in on the big races this summer, he had better get his act together now.

Meanwhile, the New Philippine Jockeys Association will open the Philippine Jockeys Academy to students in June. The interviews of the first cohort of 51 students were held last week. The new apprentices will be attending a Philracom-sponsored seminar on April 26 to be oriented on their future profession. For more details, visit philjockeys.com. *** (Twitter: @gogirlracing)

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