THW: PCSO 39th Gold Cup, Special Maiden Race

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 7 December 2011, Wednesday

PCSO 39th Gold Cup, Special Maiden Race

The longest-running race series in Philippine horseracing stages its 39th edition on Sunday, December 11, at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup is, with no exaggeration, THE biggest race on the calendar. Horseowners and their connections have this race in mind when going over the runners in their stable at the beginning of each year, hoping for at least one to be good enough come December to compete among the best in the land for the lasting glory that could be theirs.

The Gold Cup is held in honor of the Philippine president, and the PCSO is proud to have, for the second year, President Benigno S. Aquino III as the race honoree, who graciously, as in the past year, sent a warm message for the event’s souvenir program.

PCSO has provided a total of P2.375 million in prize money, not including a P50,000 prize for the winning breeder. The Philippine Racing Commission will give an additional P1 million to the winner.

The prizes are incentives for participants to excel in the sports aspect, while also providing much-needed support to the members of the racing community, especially the grooms, helpers, and their families who rely on racing and breeding industries as their only means of livelihood.

Going back to the race: the elite warriors that will compete over 2,000 meters this year are Tarlac congressman Jeci Lapus’ Carriedo (with jockey Rey-Ann Camanero), lawyer Sixto Esquivias IV’s Cheese Mosa (Jonathan Hernandez), Francis Lim’s Yes Pogi (Manolito Daquis), Joseph Dyhengco’s Darleb (Patricio Dilema) coupled with Well Well Well (Mark Alvarez), Ronaldo Tan’s Constatic (Louie Balboa), Deemark International Trading’s Righthererightnow (Roderick Hipolito);

Felizardo Sevilla Jr.’s Tensile Strength (Regan Mamucod), Nathaniel Velasco’s The Rock (Fernando Raquel Jr.), Emmanuel Santos’ Hari ng Yambo (John Alvin Guce), Marlon Cunanan’s Shining Armour (Antonio Alcasid Jr.), Wilbert Tan’s Sulong Pinoy (John Paolo Guce), Marvin Loui Villasenor’s Gastambide (Rodeo Fernandez), and Michael Dragon Javier’s Magna Carta (Jesse Guce).

Those blessed with gate speed – Constatic, Hari ng Yambo, Gastambide, Well Well Well, and Shining Armour – will force the other entries to run behind them. Off-the-pace runners Darleb, Magna Carta, Righthererightnow, and Carriedo are likely to hang behind the lead pack. But given the long distance, stayers Yes Pogi, Cheese Mosa, Tensile Strength, The Rock, and Sulong Pinoy could come from behind.

Mamucod is a change-of-rider from Val Dilema, who was booted from Tensile Strength for “loss of confidence” on the part of the owner. Though he’s had a couple of weeks to bond with his new mount, Mamucod might not be all that familiar with the horse, and that should be taken into account.

Racing analyst lawyer Will de Ungria adds: “The time to beat is still 2:04.4 for the distance, a record [Yes Pogi] shares with Wild Orchid and Stowaway Lass. For the past two years, however, Yes Pogi has managed to register only a shade over 2:06 for the distance in SLLP, which is roughly the time Magna Carta made when it won last October 2, in which race Cheese Mosa was only three horse lengths behind. It is to be noted too that Cheese Mosa will be piloted by this time by Jonathan Hernandez who seems to have blended well with the runner.”

In my opinion, Yes Pogi’s win in the November 20 San Miguel Beer-MARHO Classic still makes him the likely favorite, posting as he did a decisive six-length victory over Gastambide, Darleb, and Carriedo in that order.

The plucky gray, known for his laid-back coming-from-dead-last style, is looking to make history by attempting to score a back-to-back win in the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup, having won last year’s event. He also won this year’s May 22 PCSO Silver Cup, another challenging 2,000 meter race.

Will Yes Pogi earn another major PCSO trophy? Thirteen other runners will try their best to stop him.  Will racing history be made? That question earns a definite yes.

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            Speaking of racing history, the 40th PCSO Presidential Gold Cup happens next year. This is definitely a milestone not only for racing but Philippine sports in general. Certainly all eyes of the racing community and sports fandom are turned to PCSO now, wondering what celebrations are in store for that historic event.

PCSO’s support of racing is provided for in its charter, RA 1169 as amended by BP Blg. 42, which states in Section 1-A: “To hold and conduct charity sweepstakes races, lotteries, and other similar activities…”

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Other races coming soon, from Philracom: Grand Sprint Championship on December 10 at SLLP, 1,000 meters, with P1 million allocated from first to fourth places; the mile Juvenile Championship on December 11, also at SLLP, with P2.5 million total prizes; the million-peso Grand Derby on December 18 at Santa Ana Park, over 2,000 meters; and the Farewell Race for retiring local-bred horses also at SAP over the same distance, on December 31.

From PCSO: on December 18, at SLLP, a Special Maiden Race over 1,200 meters, starring seven: Watershed, Gladiator, Secret Ridge, Posse Left, Kinetic, Time To Shine Dad, and Seni Seviyorum. More on that next week.   ***

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