THW: A Rockin’ Jockeys’ Day

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 28 July 2010, Wednesday

A Rockin’ Jockeys’ Day

From Alcasid to Zarate, the entire jockey community rocked the track last Sunday during the Jockeys’ Day celebration that capped an entire raceweek of activities at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park.

The racecourse in Naic, Cavite, played host to a slew of sponsored races over the weekend with recognition and cash for the winning jockeys and grooms. The highlight races were Saturday’s Juvenile Fillies Stakes second leg and Sunday’s Juvenile Colts Stakes second leg (both 1,300 meters) and the mile New Philippine Jockeys Association Cup, all sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission. Also held last Sunday was the 1,200-meter Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race for 2YO.

One of the activities was a contest for the riders. From Tuesday to Saturday, all the jockeys’ wins and places up to fourth were tallied using a points system to choose the winning jockeys in four classes –A, B, C, and D. A “Longshot Jockey” was also chosen based on the lowest sales for any longshot winning horse.

According to NPJA president Antonio Alcasid Jr., the jockeys were so interested in the contest that they put up computer-generated charts on one wall inside the jockeys’ quarters. Each win or place was immediately marked on the chart with gate tallies, the jockeys good-naturedly teasing each other after each race.

Santiago de Galicia, patron saint of the predominantly Roman Catholic jockey colony.

The Philracom Juvenile Fillies Stakes, run without betting due to few entries, was won wire-to-wire by Antoine D’Ugo, ridden by Fernando Raquel Jr. Owned by lawyer Sixto Esquivias IV, the filly, who also won the first leg, is trained by Renato Yamco. Eric Tagle’s Restless Heart came in second, three lengths behind, followed by Wilbert Tan’s Gandang Pinay in third and Esquivias’s Pot Pot’s Love (coupled entry) in fourth. Meant to Blush (coupled entry of Gandang Pinay) broke down in the middle of the stretch, unseating rider Patricio Dilema. The race’s total time was 1:19.8, with quarters of 7-22-23’-27.

In the Philracom Juvenile Colts race, the far second choice, Nap Magno’s Naugh Naugh, scored an upset. Steered by Jesse Guce, they hit the wire half-a-length ahead of the third favorite, SC Stockfarm’s Bosbarawana. Outstanding favorite Arvin Dugo, owned by Ralph Javier, settled for third, while Tan’s Perfect Pyjama came in fourth.  Quarters for the race were 7-22-23’-26, total 1:19. The last quarter was a blitz attack by the Donato Sordan-trained colt, who mowed down the opposition under heavy urging from Guce.

Naugh Naugh (Rum Tum Tiger-Velocity) was bred by Raymund Puyat and Antoine D’Ugo (Fort Dignity-Mrs. Rainier) by Tony de Ubago.

Philracom chairman Atty. Joy Rojas awards a trophy to Naugh Naugh owner Nap Magno. With them are Atty. Vic Tantoco and PRC racing manager Dan Valmonte.

The PCSO Special Maiden Race was won in 1:13.7 by the SC Stockfarm owned- and –bred Mr. Universe (Strong Material-K Mister Vee), ridden by Lord Santos and trained by Bogie Fernandez. Rita Bustamante’s Lexibonn came in second, Esquivias’s Prince Isiah was third.

PCSO’s Dr. Romeo Buencamino and Atty Jose Malang, trainer Chito Santos, rider Lord Santos, trainer Bogie Fernandez, PCSO’s Rey Empremiado, and PRC racing manager Dan Valmonte.

The most exciting main race of the weekend was the NPJA-Philracom Cup, won by a longshot – sixth choice Trinity Moon (Mojave Moon-Trinity Shot). Owned by Mandy Carlo Sanchez, guided by Jhemo Tinte, and trained by Emilio Basco, the feisty 4YO filly clocked 25’-23’-23’-26’ for a total 1:39, nearly tying the 1:38 track record set by import Copper Dew in 2007.

On Sunday, Alcasid announced the winners of the Jockeys’ Week contest: Class A, Jessie Guce; Class B, Jonathan Hernandez; Class C, Jordan Cordova; and Class D, Conrad Henson. The longshot jockey was Louie Balboa, who rode fifth choice Moonraker to a victory on Saturday. All of them received P7,000 cash and medals sponsored by Francis Lim’s Ultra Mega Trading, Dodo Atienza’s Felindo Trading, and Congressman Gabby  Espina and Governor Gerry Espina’s Don Enrico Stable.

Conrad Henson, Jordan Cordova, Oyet Alcasid, Jesse Guce, Jonathan Hernandez.

It has been the practice in previous years for the successive Boards of Directors of NPJA to request for a charity race yearly from the Philracom and other sponsors for the benefit of the disabled jockeys’ fund.

But it was not until last year, during the the first term of current NPJA president Alcasid, that the event elicited more participation from the jockeys themselves in terms of organization and fundraising. Most of the NPJA members had a wait-and-see attitude towards Alcasid’s low-key style. He did away with the flamboyance that marked past events and insisted on a casual, cost-cutting Jockeys’ Day that focused on fundraising rather than celebration, as a consequence netting the highest amount ever for the disabled riders’ fund.

This year, the jockeys strengthened the event with their full support, tapping their horseowners and other friends for sponsorships.

Hermie Dilema presenting an award to a representative. With them are Patty Dilema, Oyet Alcasid, Jeff Zarate, and Joey Macaraig.

Their biggest and staunchest sponsor remains Philracom – its chairman, lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, and commissioners lawyer Vic Tantoco, veterinarian Eyo Fernando, former star jockey Eduardo Domingo Jr,, and James Paman. Alcasid said, “We did not have to ask chairman Rojas twice. Our request was approved by the Board right away.”

According to Chairman Rojas, “We were happy to provide a charity race for the jockeys because they are an integral element of the sport. In tandem with the horses, they give us the races that we enjoy watching.”

PRC supported the event as the host track and provided trophies, jockey medals, and additional prize money for the winning horseowners of five special races. Tarlac congressman Jeci Lapus, a horseowner and trainer of decades-long standing, gave P1,500 to each winning groom of 11 out of 13 races held last Sunday. The other sponsors were Jo Lagrata, Ric Aquino, SC Stockfarm, Dc Tan Trading, Nap Magno, Paolo Crisostomo, Vicente Go Bon, Mayor Eduardo Dimacuha, ESQ, Luis Chuidian, Jose Miguel Chuidian, and Klub Don Juan de Manila.

With several longshots winning races on Sunday, there are carryovers in the Winner-Take-All and Pick-6 events at PRC on August 3. The weekend was so successful that upon the request of the jockeys, chairman Rojas assured them that the Philracom will look into sponsoring another charity race at the end of the year.

Congratulations to the Philippine jockey colony! ***

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