THW: Juggling Act First to Score in 2011

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 12 January 2011, Wednesday

Juggling Act First to Score in 2011

Who would have thought that a second favorite would be the first to score a stakes win this month, barely defeating an upstart longshot to stage an exciting opening to the year’s races?

Juggling Act showed that often it’s not sales that can accurately predict a winner. The 4YO horse import from Australia just managed to squeeze past a hard-charging Mr. Diamond In last Sunday’s Garnet I stakes, the first leg of the Import-Local Challenge series.

Sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission and held at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, the mile race was a shocker because Mr. Diamond  was the pinakadehado sa lahat – the longest shot of all and the lone local-bred in a field dominated by imports.

Fierce Fighter took third while the favorite, Next Big Thing, settled for a dismal fourth place. The total time was 1:40.8.

Juggling Act, owned by Edna Sanchez, is by American stallion Giant’s Causeway out of Australian mare Picadilly Circus.

Fans are now looking forward to the weekend offerings at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. Saturday will feature the Philracom Garnet II for local-bred fillies – Constatic, Ella Enjoy, Gandang Pinay, Herran, Immaculate, Restless Heart, Rhea’s Angel, and Sha Na Na have signed up for the mile race.

On Sunday, it’s the colts’ turn to show off in the Garnet III. The field includes last season’s juvenile hotshot Barkley , Pritil, Bosbarawana, Hi Money, Midnight Myth, My Keys, Prince Isiah, Sulong Pinoy, and Whistler.

Racing fans had better enjoy the stakes races this weekend, as there will be no others (Philracom-sponsored at least) until February 13 at SLLP, the scheduled date of the 1,750-meter Amethyst I, the second leg of the Import-Local Challenge series, open to 3YO.

The venue for the Amethyst II (for fillies) and Amethyst III (colts) mile stakes races will shift to Santa Ana Park and will be held on February 19 and 20 respectively. Both races are exclusive to 3YO Philippine-breds.

Meanwhile, on industry matters, we’re still waiting on the December 2010 figures from MJC, but gross sales totals of P7.99 billion so far show an encouraging uptick of nearly 4% compared to last year. This positive development took place despite the prevalent effects of global recession still being felt in many others countries including the US and Ireland.

When MJC’s data comes in the gross total will certainly exceed P8 billion. The last time the industry hit that figure was in 2007. That the business of the sport is healthy in the face of economic challenges is a testament to the perseverance and dedication of the Philracom, both racing clubs, horseowners, trainers, jockeys and the rest of the racing community, racing fans, and corporate sponsors and the sports media.

With continued support from and cooperation among these sectors, 2011 looks like it’s going to be a much brighter year for horseracing. ***

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