THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 17 November 2010, Wednesday
PCSO, MARHO Cup Races Coming Soon
The races last weekend at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park were an interesting bunch. They weren’t predominantly llamado (won by favorites) which would have been boring; instead, they were of moderate difficulty, with victories by third, fourth, and fifth favorites providing spicy challenge and sending the magagaling sa karera home with robust dividends.
It was a treat to watch Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos’s talented 2YO Barkley beat a field of up-and-coming colts and fillies last Sunday. The Jesse Guce-guided and Ruben Tupas-trained Barkley (Baseball Champion-Treeline) beat Cito Esquvias’s Prince Isiah to the wire by a length with a total time of 1:19 and quarters of 7-23-23’-25’ in the 1300-meter race. Ofelia Ibaviosa’s Whistler came in third and Ramon Taay’s Evox fourth.
On the same card, another promising 2YO gave a portent of things to come by demolishing nine other juveniles over 1300 meters. Narra (Shooting Star-Materiales Fuertes), a sturdy colt owned by Gaudencio Pamaos, trained by former horseowner Andrew Sanchez, and ridden by novato specialist Esteban de Vera, was sent off as the outstanding favorite. He did not disappoint his backers, fashioning a length-and-a-quarter win in 1:21 win over placers Perfectionist, Sha Na Na, and Terrible Marvin.
Both Barkley and Narra are Philippine-bred, and their achievements and those of their peers at this early age make true horsemen and racing fans proud at how much local breeding has improved. The major thoroughbred breeding enthusiasts spare no expense in importing the best bloodstock they can afford, knowing that they most likely cannot expect a return on their investments. They do it because of their passion for a sport that is like no other.
The allied racing and breeding industries are fortunate to have such gentlemen among their ranks – Benhur Abalos; Javier, Leyte mayor Sandy Javier; and businessmen Aristeo Puyat, Herminio Esguerra, Eric Tagle, Tony de Ubago, Nathaniel Velasco, Ochie Santos, Tito de Jesus, Nonoy Niles, Raymund Puyat, Emmanuel Santos, and Tony Tan, to name just a few of them.
A couple of other Sunday races are worth mentioning. Race 11 saw an upset victory scored by fifth choice Lady Diamond (Treasure Cay-Agree to Agree), a 4YO bay filly owned by Alchy Enterprises that came from behind to score over second placer Scud Missile, the third favorite. The top choice, Jigsaw Star, was nowhere to be seen among the first six placers.
Race 9 was a fantastic battle among the veteran warriors in class-division 1. The stretch run saw five horses running neck-and-neck, with photo finishes declared for first and third places. When the smoke cleared, the favorite, Ciriaco Lapid’s Royal Academy, was declared the winner by a mere nostril, relegating Banay Banay to second, Away We Go to third, and Royal Scepter to fourth.
Royal Academy was well-steered by young rider Apoy Asuncion, who was elevated from the apprentice ranks not too long ago. The time for their 1000-meter sprint was 1:04.
This week, the races are being held at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park, and their highlight races this coming Sunday are five major races sponsored by thePhilippine Charity Sweepstakes Office – the PCSO Special Maiden Race, named for PCSO chairperson Margarita Juico; and four other trophy races named for the four PCSO directors – lawyers Mabel Mamba, Maria Aleta Tolentino, and Francisco Joaquin; and Betty Nantes. PCSO general manager lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II will also be attending the PCSO races.
Next raceweek at Santa Ana Park will see the staging of the “MARHO Kinse” event – the 15th MARHO Cup racing festival sponsored by San Miguel Beer, PCSO, Philippine Racing Commission, PRC, Hygain Feeds, and Ciara Marie Foundation. The coming months will see more special horseracing events and the same track, including the 38th PCSO Presidential Gold Cup on December 12. ***