THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 14 December 2011, Wednesday
PCSO 39th Gold Cup
He ran – no, flew – over the dirt and straight into the pages of racing history.
Island-born colt Magna Carta proved once and for all his superiority on the track by winning the 39th Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup held last Sunday at San Lazaro Leisure Park.
PCSO 2010 Gold Cup and 2011 Silver Cup victor Yes Pogi, a local-bred colt, was gunning for a back-to-back win in this event, but was thwarted by the outstanding skill shown by Magna Carta over the 2,000-meter journey.
Yes Pogi, who also won the November 20 San Miguel Beer-MARHO Cup Classic event over the same distance, was sent off as the favorite, with Magna Carta a close second.
When the gates clanged back, Carriedo jumped for the lead, with Constatic just behind him. Yes Pogi ran off-the pace in third, followed by Gastambide and Magna Carta in fifth.
With regular rider Manolito Daquis aboard, Yes Pogi took the lead briefly at the backstretch, relegating Carriedo to second. But with a flick of the whip, jockey Jesse Guce urged his mount Magna Carta past the frontrunners to take the lead at the far turn, never looking back from there to win by almost two lengths.
Magna Carta (Woodman – Pledge the Fifth) earned P2.5 million in prize money for his spectacular feat (P1 million of that amount provided by the Philippine Racing Commission). The race splits were 24.5-24-26.5-25.5-26.5 for a total time of 2:07.
Wilbert Tan’s Sulong Pinoy came in second for P500,000; Francis Lim’s Yes Pogi, third for P250,000; and Nathaniel Velasco’s The Rock, fourth for P125,000. The breeder’s purse of P50,000 went to Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr.
On hand at the awarding ceremony at SLLP were PCSO general manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II and Director Atty. Ma. Aleta L. Tolentino, as well as Committee on Races chairman Atty. Jose T. Malang, Draw and Races department manager Carlos Castillo, and others from PCSO.
From Philippine Racing Commission were chairman Angel L. Castano Jr., commissioner and executive director Jesus Cantos, commissioner lawyer Victor Tantoco, and racing consultant Dr. Romeo Buencamino.
Also present were Manila Jockey Club EVP-COO Atty. King Reyno and racing manager Jose Ramon C. Magboo, hosts of the highly prestigious race held annually in honor of the Philippine president.
Mayor Javier was sentimental as he held the heavy Gold Cup replica aloft with the help of his son Michael Dragon T. Javier, registered owner of Magna Carta: “We’ve been waiting for this for ten years.” As he caressed the image of President Benigno Aquino III engraved on the cup, he said softly, “Hello, my friend.”
It was a well-deserved win for the racing stable/breeding ranch combo that has greatly contributed to the upliftment of Philippine racing over the years, as Mayor Javier has unstintingly sought to upgrade the quality of local Thoroughbred bloodstock through importation and careful and judicious breeding based on scientific principles and his famous “gut feel”.
SLLP played host to a couple of other top-caliber races last weekend. In the Philracom Juvenile Championship held the same day, it was Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos’ Hagdang Bato that won after a dramatic battle at the far turn against outstanding favorite Humble Riches.
Humble Riches’ jockey, Val Dilema, was found to have leaned into Hagdang Bato and his jockey Jonathan Hernandez several times. Humble Riches hit the wire half-a-length ahead of Hagdang Bato.
But after a stewards’ inquiry for first, Humble Riches was relegated to second place and Hagdang Bato was declared the winner. Quarter times for the mile race were 24-23-25’-29 for a total of 1:41.4. Sandy Javier’s Patron came in third, Herminio Esguerra’s Purple Ribbon snagged fourth.
Mayor Abalos says that upon viewing the replay, it seems that Dilema struck Hagdang Bato across the face with his whip. Given that, he believes that the two weeks’ or so suspension imposed by the MJC stewards upon Dilema is too light, as Hagdang Bato could have been badly injured; he is contemplating communicating with Philracom on the matter.
Hagdang Bato (Quaker Ridge-Fire Down Under) was bred by Mayor Abalos. The 2YO bay colt is a half-brother to Mayor Abalos’s champion Ibarra.
Last Saturday, Consolidator won the Philracom Grand Sprint Championship with Kelvin Abobo aboard, followed by Go Army in second, Heaven Sent third, and Wind Turbulence fourth, with a time of 59.6 over 1,000 meters.
The ‘ber’ months are always great for racing, and we’re looking forward to the PCSO 2YO Open at Santa Ana Park on Sunday, December 18. It’s a 1,200-meter race, and I’m going with Edgardo Parungao’s Gladiator. My other choices are Aristeo Puyat’s Watershed and Felizardo Sevilla Jr.’s Kinetic. The other entries are Raymund Puyat’s Secret Ridge, Kerby Chua’s Posse Left, Felipe Vergara’s Time to Shine Dad, and Leonora Pasion’s Seni Seviyorum.
Also on the 18th is Philracom’s million-peso Grand Derby, over 2,000 meters for locals only. That’s another must-see! And there are more races to come before the year ends! ***