THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 14 July 2010, Wednesday
Triple Crown Sweep?
After a nine-year drought, will there finally be a Philippine Triple Champion?
After winning the first two legs of the Philippine Racing Commission three-leg championship series for local-bred 3YOs, Yes Pogi needs to win the last battle on Sunday to make his mark in racing history as a successor to the illustrious lineup of champions.
However, he won the first two legs at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park. The final showdown will take place at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park over a lung-busting 2,000 meters – the longest leg of the series.
Yes Pogi, owned by Francis Lim, goes up against Hermie Esguerra’s Carriedo (who was not in the first two legs), Jun Almeda’s Consolidator, Vicente Lava’s Go Vinnie, Joseph Dyhengco’s Lakota Creek and Scotland Yard, Deemark Trading’s Righthererightnow, Wilbert Tan’s Thoti’s Best, and Eric Tagle’s Thief in the Nite, the lone filly who will carry an impost of 52 kgs., while the others – colts – carry 54 kgs.
If Yes Pogi is still in the same stellar condition as when he won the first two legs, he has a very good chance to sweep. But now he has to contend with tough foes at a different track. I don’t see the longer distance as a problem; it might in fact be an advantage for this stayer, who usually runs in last or at the back of the pack, and edges up in the back stretch close to the far turn before going into full rampage at the top of the stretch to mow down the frontrunners. Talk about intimidation.
I’m also looking at other stayers to do well, such as Lakota Creek and Righthererightnow. First prize in this race is P1.8 million, a hefty purse which will be hotly contested by all. Should Yes Pogi accomplish a sweep, he takes home an additional P500,000, a bonus prize put up by Philracom for whoever wins all three legs of the most important series for 3YO.
The Philracom’s Hopeful Stakes, auxiliary to the Triple Crown and open also to 3YO local-breds, is set for Saturday at SLLP over 2,000 meters. Declared for this race are Hermie Esguerra’s Andalucia, C&H Enterprises’ Gallant Prince and Westerly Wind, Jeci Lapus’s Ice Storm, Nonoy Niles’s Invincible, Wilbert Tan’s Milenyo, Benhur Abalos’s Open Slew and Redemption, Ruben Dimacuha’s Si Senor, Roberto Yutadco’s Speed Spell, and Jade Bros. Farm’s Unequalled.
Second leg Hopeful winner Thief in the Nite moved up to the Triple Crown, leaving this race wide-open, again to stayers who will have the style and stamina to go two kilometres. The C&H and Abalos entries are looking good, while I wouldn’t discount frontrunners Andalucia and Speed Spell. This is an even-steven lineup that is pretty hard to call, and is interesting for that reason. Let’s see who brings home the P600,000 first prize.
There is also prize money for second to fourth placers, as well as breeders’ purses: P100,000 for the breeder of the Triple Crown champion and P30,000 for that of the Hopeful winner.
According to Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, “A sweep will be very exciting for the sport and for its aficionados. We look forward to seeing if the sweep bonus prize will finally be claimed. The breeders’ prizes should serve as added incentives for breeders to continue the good work they are doing to improve our local thoroughbred bloodstock.”
This weekend at SLLP will have participants and fans on tenterhooks, eager to see if Yes Pogi, a gray horse will follow another gray (Patrick Uy’s Silver Story in 2001) in the roster of Triple Crown champions. Who are you going with – sa itim (bay), sa pula (chestnut), o sa puti (gray or roan)? ***