THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 15 September 2010, Wednesday
Jockeys Protest MJC Ban
The jockey community protested Manila Jockey Club’s recent banning of promising young jockey Kelvin Abobo from the premises of their San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.
The ban is for a year and is not restricted to riding in races; Abobo may not even exercise horses on the track, watch races at the grandstand, nor enjoy MJC’s other non-racing facilities.
MJC imposed the ban on Abobo after the MJC Board of Stewards suspended him last week for 72 racing days for ‘lack of interest’ on Supreme Leader. Abobo appealed his suspension to the Philippine Racing Commission, which lifted the suspension. However, MJC still proceeded with the ban and made an announcement to that effect on their race coverage last Sunday, saying that the ban was for Abobo’s violations of racing rules and regulations.
“Philracom’s lifting of the suspension,” said New Philippine Jockeys’ Association president Antonio Alcasid Jr., “is in effect a declaration that Mr. Abobo’s ride did not violate any racing rules and regulations. Therefore MJC’s ban is without basis.”
The NPJA has no objections to MJC’s bans upon jockeys if deserved and the case in question has merit. What they are questioning is the arbitrary imposition of bans “that have no criteria and no basis,” said Alcasid.
The NPJA requested a dialogue with MJC last Tuesday with the Philracom as arbitrator, “before we make any other response to the matter,” said Alcasid.
MJC sent racing manager Jose Ramon Magboo to the dialogue. When Alcasid asked him what the basis was for Abobo’s ban, Magboo asked to be given until Friday, when another dialogue will be held.
The logical conclusion: MJC itself has no solid basis for the ban. Why wait three days to give the affected party the reason for such a harsh penalty?
At present, MJC will not retract the ban. The NPJA members have vowed to refuse to ride at SLLP until the matter is resolved.
A respected horseowner of decades-long standing opined: “It is MJC’s right to ban anyone they want from their track. But it is also the jockeys’ right to refuse to ride on their track.”
The Philracom has asked MJC to “resolve the matter” by Friday, taking into account the NPJA’s point-of-view” to “preserve industry harmony and smooth operations.”
The drama between the riders’ guild and MJC overshadowed other events of the week at SLLP, such as the weekend wins of juvenile stars Naugh Naugh (Rum Tum Tiger – Velocity), ridden by Jonathan Hernandez, and Cheese Mosa (Shooting Star – Magic Find), steered by Jeffril Zarate, in the final legs of the Philracom Juvenile Colts and Juvenile Fillies stakes races respectively. Both races were run over 1,500 meters.
Hard luck for Barkley (Baseball Champion – Treeline), though, in the Colts. The Jesse Guce-piloted bay was sent off as the outstanding favourite, but ran into traffic along the way in the shape of foes Prince Isiah, and Cheese Quemas, which forced Barkley to race wide.
In other news, the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners (MARHO) held a general assembly and election of its board of directors last Monday. Installed as the 36-year old group’s leaders were congressmen Amado Bagatsing and Jeci Lapus, lawyer Dondon Bagatsing, city councilors Maca Asistio and Jun Ferrer, mayor Sandy Javier, and businessmen Eric Tagle, Tony de Ubago, Tony Tan, Butch Mamon, Jing Javier, Manny Santos, Jose Mari Franco, Robert Ramirez, and Vicente Go Bon.
Mandaluyong City mayor Benhur Abalos stepped down as MARHO president after five years of service, to the warm applause and gratitude of his fellow members. During his term, he fought illegal bookies, led a horseowners’ boycott of the races to protest an unpopular former Philracom chairman, and sustained the annual staging of the MARHO championship races in the face of tough economic times, among other accomplishments. ***