THW: Derby, Maiden, and PCSO Races

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 21 December 2011, Wednesday

Derby, Maiden, and PCSO Races

Barkley, once considered a short-lived track phenomenon, proved that he he’s just hitting his stride when he won last Sunday’s Philippine Racing Commission Grand Derby at Santa Ana Park.

The 3YO son of American stallion Baseball Champion by Australian mare Treeline (by Timber Country), Barkley, ridden by Kelvin Abobo, trounced Arvindugo who settled for second. Chief Joesan placed third, followed by Sulong Pinoy in fourth. Race splits were 24-23’-26-25’-27’ for 2:06.6 over 2,000 meters.

Barkley had a fairly good juvenile season, but showed somewhat erratic performances overall last year. His impressive work this time around, thanks to trainer Ruben Tupas, could be a sign that that he’s getting better as he ages.

This is good news for his owner, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, who won big just last week at San Lazaro Leisure Park with his Hagdang Bato in the Philracom Juvenile Championship after superfilly Humble Riches was disqualified and relegated to second.

Speaking of that race, it was controversial as there were those who strongly disagreed with the Manila Jockey Club Board of Stewards’ judgment to disqualify Humble Riches and suspend jockey Val Dilema.

It’s understandable that there are those who would feel that way. In fact, it would have been quite interesting if Humble Riches had won, being a filly who consistently posts faster times than her male opponents.

However, the MJC BoS based their decision on an exhaustive viewing of the race tapes. Disqualifying a horse in a stakes race is something they rarely have to do, and they do so only when they are very sure.

For expert third-party opinions, I asked some jockeys who rode in that race, and others who saw it, at the track as well as via tape. I suppose we may accept star jockeys as authorities when it comes to race riding, yes? They all agreed with the BoS decision. Val Dilema was seen in the tape to have leaned in with his mount against Hagdang Bato as they were coming into the curve for the home turn.

He also was seen to have flicked his whip at Hagdang Bato’s face coming down the stretch. This is borne out by the jockeys I interviewed.

Even if the whip did not hit the horse, jockeys say, the mere sight of a waving object is enough to disconcert the horse. “Maiilang talaga ang kabayo, kahit di tumama ang latigo,” said jockey Joey Macaraig. Former star jockey and Philracom commissioner Eduardo Domingo Jr.’s comment was terse and to the point: “Right decision by the BoS.”

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Also held last Sunday at Santa Ana Park was the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Maiden Race, won by engineer Jun Sevilla’s Kinetic, with Mark Alvarez aboard.

The placers were Posse Left (second, P100,000) and Time to Shine Dad (third, P50,000). Secret Ridge came in fourth, (no additional prize). Seni Seviyorum came in last. Total time for the 1,200 meter race was 25’-22’-26’ = 1:14.5.

Speaking of PCSO, the proposed annual budget for the agency’s 2012 racing calendar will be a bit over P15 million, and will cover nine maiden races, the landmark and historic 40th Presidential Gold Cup, the 17th Silver Cup, and the Freedom Cup.

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Guaranteed to see off this year’s racing calendar with a bang is the 1st Vice-President Jejomar Binay Cup charity race for the benefit of Alay sa Kawal Foundation. It’s slated for Dec. 24 at SLLP. Races will be scheduled earlier that day, starting in the morning, to allow racegoers to go home early for the Noche Buena festivities.

According to Philracom chairman Angel L. Castano Jr., the Commission will be giving a P1 million prize for the VP Binay Cup, and will support the event annually.

Philracom’s last sponsored race for the year is the Farewell Race for retiring horses on Dec. 31 at Santa Ana Park.   ***

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