THW: Don Juan Races a Success

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 27 October 2010, Wednesday

Don Juan Races a Success

Congratulations to the officers and members of the Klub Don Juan de Manila on their successful staging of the 9th Don Juan Derby racing Festival! Held last raceweek at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park, the event featured four major races and minor trophy races scattered throughout the week.

Longshots ruled in the major races, with only one favorite scoring a win. Top choice Yes Pogi got back at rival Carriedo to bag the coveted Don Juan Derby trophy.

Yes Pogi, winner of two legs of this year’s Triple Crown Championship for 3YO, hung back of the field in his customary style to come from behind and win by a length-and-a-half. Owned by Francis Lim, trained by Felix Lauron, and ridden by Manolito Daquis, Yes Pogi is expected to perform well in the rest of the year’s prime competitions, such as the MARHO Cup racing festival.

In the other major races, Jun Paman’s Dailies won the Don Antonio Floirendo Golden Girls Stakes; SC Stockfarm’s Lord of War scored in the KDJM Juvenile Colts; and Antonio Floirendo’s Indy’s Task crossed the wire first in the KDJM Juvenile Fillies.

It was a rousing, well-managed event, and credit goes to the present leadership of KDJM for a job well done – president Ferdie Dimaisip, vice-presidents Manny Santos and Bayani Coching, corporate secretary Robert Francisco, treasurer Cesar Avila, and directors Tonyboy Eleazar, Ryan Ponce, Ruben Laureano, Victor Martinez, and John Joseph Lagasca. Special mention goes to their indefatigable and energetic manager Malou Beleno.

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This next bit of information is not about racing, but it is about a former equine veterinarian, Lito Borja. Those in the know will remember him as formerly connected with the Philippine Racing Club. In 2007, he left the dizzying world of the racetrack for a simple life as a gentleman farmer on 40 hectares of paradise in Orion, Bataan, three hours’ drive from Manila.

At present, Dr. Borja grows fruit trees and other cash crops, but will be adding coffee to his planting lineup soon. He has not abandoned his interest in animals and takes care of a menagerie of wild animals on his vast plantation close to Mount Samat. “You can see the lights of Manila from there,” he says.

One thing he’s considering is caring for old and retired racehorses. “I can put up a paddock,” he said, “where they can run free. The place is hilly in some parts and they can get trailriding exercise.”

Since he is cash-strapped, he cannot afford to buy horses, but is willing to take them in from horseowners and breeders who might want to farm out geldings, dry mares, retired racehorses, and so on. It sounds like a very interesting project – an old folks’ home, as it were, for Thoroughbreds. It’s a quiet and peaceful way for horses to live out the rest of their days. Horseowners who want to take Dr. Borja up on his offer can send me an email at jennyoATlive.com.

In November, Dr. Borja will be off to Basilan for a week, where he will do volunteer work at remote barangays and war-ravaged and poverty-stricken areas there. For ‘animaltarian’ reasons, I asked? “Humanitarian too,” he insisted. “There is endemic poverty in Mindanao and experts have concluded that it can be alleviated by providing more livelihood opportunities and improving those already existing. Vets like myself can help by giving care to their cattle, which are undersized and undernourished.”

It’s people like Dr. Borja, who unselfishly volunteer their time and effort to missions like this, who make things better for the rest of us. Let’s think of how we can, in our own little way, also contribute to the well-being of the racehorses  and cattle  and dogs and all the other fauna that share the earth with us. ***

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