THW: PCSO Announces Official Races

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 9 March 2011, Wednesday

PCSO Announces Official 2011 Races

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Board recently approved this year’s schedule of horse races, creating much anticipation among race participants and racing fans who eagerly await the exciting events sponsored by the PCSO.

Board Resolution No. 0073 (s. 2011), dated March 3, provides for eight Maiden Races, the Silver Cup, and the Presidential Gold Cup.

The sport’s most prestigious race, the Presidential Gold Cup, is slated for December 11 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. The winner last year was gray galloper Yes Pogi, who is still making waves on the track as a 4YO this season. Yes Pogi, owned by Francis Lim, garnered an additional honor last March 5 when the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association named him its “Horse of the Year”.

The Silver Cup, traditionally held in honor of the sitting President’s spouse, is set for May 22 at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. There is no word yet who this year’s honoree will be, asPresident Noynoy Aquino is a bachelor, or whether there will be an honoree at all.

Last year’s Silver Cup was won by track icon Ibarra. The island-born champion’s owner, Mandaluyong mayor Benhur Abalos, confirmed to me that “Ibarra is now a stud stallion. Some of the mares he has impregnated are Stowaway Lass and Dandansoy.” Both mares are champions; Dandansoy is one of Mayor Abalos’s favorites because she was the first racehorse he ever owned.

Of the eight PCSO maiden races, two are for 3YO (March 27 at SLLP and April 17 at SAP), four are for 2YO (June 12 and August 21 at SLLP, July 17 and September 11 at SAP), and two are open eligibility (October 16 at SLLP, November 20 at SAP). No distances were set as of presstime.

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A duet of important Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored stakes races are taking place this weekend at SLLP. The Commissioner’s Cup is set for Saturday and is open to 4YO and older Philippine-breds. The distance is an arduous 1,900 meters that will test the mettle of the competitors vying for purses totalling P1.2 million. This year’s race honoree is past Philracom commissioner Gerardo Espina Jr., now governor of Biliran, Leyte.

The entries are: Boni’s Gem, coupled entries Carriedo and Go Army, Mr. Diamond, Righthererightnow, Shining Fame, Thoti’s Best, Tiger Moon, Well Well Well, and Yes Pogi.

I love Go Army’s pluck, but over 1,900 meters, tried-and-tested stayer Yes Pogi has the best chance for victory in this race.

Sunday will see local 3YO running over 1,500 meters in the Chairman’s Cup, in honor of the late former Philracom chairman Nicanor Jacinto. Total prize money from first to fourth places is P2 million, with P1.2 million going to the winner.

The entries are: Arvindugo, Barkley, Bosbarawana, Boss Gee, coupled entries Cheese Mosa and Prince Isiah, Chief Joesan, Hi Money, King Theodore, Magna Carta, Platinum Lance, Pritil, The Rock, and Sulong Pinoy.

After his spectacular, ten-length-win in the February 27 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Freedom Cup also at SLLP, Magna Carta will likely emerge the favorite. Should his condition still be the same as then, I see no reason why he can’t win this one as well.

The Chairman’s Cup is among the races dubbed the “Road to theTriple Crown”, culminating in the much-awaited trilogy for elite 3YO this summer. The first leg of the Triple Crown will be held at SLLP on May 15(1,600 meters), as will the second leg, on June 11 (1,750 meters); the third leg is on July 17 at SAP, (2,000 meters).

The progressively longer distances of the Triple Crown races are a traditional formula to foster the emergence of a truly versatile runner flexible enough to win over both shorter and longer distances – the mark of a true track champion.

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Today is the birthday of George Stribling, a man who has contributed much to the state of Philippine racing as it is today, specifically with regard to the jockey community. A former racehorse trainer in his native USA, he was also the mentor of top jockeys Eddie and Sam Maple, who were active in the ‘70s to the ‘90s. Sam died in 2001; Eddie was elevated to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

Now in his 90s, Stribling visited the Philippines in the early ‘80s and never left. He established the Philippine Jockey Academy to teach American racing methods and professionalize the occupation of riders who are now achievers in the sport here and abroad.

Among Stribling’s many students are PSA 2010 Jockey of the Year Jesse Guce and multi-awarded jockey Ramon Guce who has been based in California since the start of the last decade.

He was also my teacher when I entered the PJA as an apprentice in 1990; though he knew I was never any good as an athlete, he always treated me with much kindness and indulged my desire to learn the basics of horsemanship. He also reinforced among us students good work attitudes such as “Never be late”.

Happy birthday, Mr. Stribling! Looking forward to more years of your company!   ***

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