THW: Industry Multi-Sectoral Meet

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 11 January 2012, Wednesday

Industry Multi-Sectoral Meet

While racehorses go only in one direction around the track, marketing and growth innovations have to be outside the box- or, in the case of the racing and breeding industry, “outside the oval”.

Moreover, the best strategic plans are born from brainstorming sessions that incorporate the input of industry stakeholders who are the ones who know the industry – sport and business – the best.

Last Monday proved to be a fruitful day for Philippine horseracing with the holding of what is just the first of industry multi-sectoral meetings this year.

Presided over by the Philippine Racing Commission chairman Angel L. Castaño Jr., the meet brought together representatives from the different sectors.

Among them were horseowners (Atty. Ramon “Dondon” Bagatsing Jr. for MARHO, Jun Almeda for Klub Don Juan de Manila, and Robert Francisco for Philtobo), jockeys (Oyet Alcasid and Domeng Vacal of the New Philippine Jockeys Association), trainers (represented by Pablito Guce of the Philippine Race Horse Trainers Association), and racing clubs (Dan Valmonte for Philippine Racing Club-Santa Ana Park and Ding Magboo for Manila Jockey Club-San Lazaro Leisure Park, both racing managers).

With chairman Castaño for Philracom were commissioners engineer Jess Cantos (concurrent executive director), veterinarian Reynaldo Fernando, lawyer Victor Tantoco, and jockey Lyndon Guce.

Commissioner Cantos shared with us much of what was discussed during the meeting. “The first racing week this year posted higher gross sales than last year…this augurs well for better things to come in 2012. We also talked about new approaches like racing festivals in lean months, the focus of Philracom support on better horse groups on top of stakes races, and the active role of the Commission on racing supervision.”

He added that the application of CCTV technology on the Board of Stewards investigations of erring jockeys will reinforce and strengthen public confidence in the integrity of the conduct of races.

Also to be streamlined, said Cantos, are the handicapping or bolahan procedures “with the objective of quality and balanced races for the satisfaction of the betting public. Philracom gives weight on value for money of the public.”

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Speaking of integrity, the Commission recently suspended three licensees for various infractions of racing rules.

They are a racing steward given two months’ suspension forconduct unbecoming for a Philracom licensee”; a racing club handicapper, three months’ for “abuse of authority and discretion in handicapping procedures”; and a veterinarian, six months’ for various offenses.

Also reported to be suspended motu propio is a star jockey ranked among the top five, penalized for several questionable rides.

These are heavy punishments and the message being conveyed here is that the Commission is serious when it comes to race conduct.

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Meanwhile, the stakes calendar for 2012 is still being finalized. The Commission has approved three episodes each of the traditional “gemstone” races for January and February. The Garnet 1, Amethyst II, and Amethyst III will be held at SLLP, and the Garnet II, Garnet III, and Amethyst I at Santa Ana Park.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office will be staging two maiden races and three major stakes races in 2012 – the Freedom Cup, Silver Cup, and Presidential Gold Cup.

The Freedom Cup schedule is for Board approval and is tentatively set for February 25 at Santa Ana Park. It is to be a mile race open to all runners except imports, with the usual weight-for-age handicapping rules. The proposed deadlines for nomination of entries is January 24, declaration and acceptance on January 27.

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