THW: PCSO Freedom Cup Final Lineup

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 8 February 2012, Wednesday

PCSO Freedom Cup Final Lineup

            The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office announced the 2012 Freedom Cup declared runners and their handicap weights, jockeys, and post positions:

#2 and #2a: Coupled entries of Atty. Sixto Esquivias IV- Cheese Mosa, to be ridden by jockey JB Hernandez at 53 kgs, and Arvin Dugo, RG Fernandez, 54.5;

#3: Herminio Esguerra’s Go Army, JB Guce, 55.5; #4: Dominic Francisco’s Wind Turbulence, JB Cordova, 55.5;  #6: Emmanuel King Jr.’s Money Queen, DH Borbe Jr., 54;

#7 at #7a: Coupled entries of Rita G. Pilapil, Heaven Sent, MA Alvarez, 55, and Joshua’s Laughter, JA Guce, 56;

#8: Benhur Abalos’s Barkley, KB Abobo, 54.5; #9: Francis Lim’s Yes Pogi, JT Zarate, 55; #10: Nathaniel Velasco’s The Rock, PR Dilema, 54.5.

The PCSO Freedom Cup marks the People Power anniversary, and will be held on 25 February at Santa Ana Park.

That’s a Saturday. Why not on a Sunday, the usual day for big stakes races? It’s because PCSO is holding another important event on Sunday the 26th – the People Power Draw. The first prize is P3 million; tickets are P10 each, and are still available at the PCSO head office at PICC Secretariat Bldg., Cultural Center Complex, Pasay City.

This is a “traditional” sweepstakes draw; and for those too young to remember what those were, such a draw involves the selling of actual paper tickets that used to be sold by street vendors.

This is not a computerized draw like today’s Lotto 6/42 and the like. It’s the kind of lottery that goes back to Spanish colonial times. In fact, Jose Rizal won once, in 1892, while in exile in Dapitan.

He won a third of the P20,000 prize. Of his P6,200 share, he gave P2,000 to his father, P200 to a friend in Hong Kong, and the rest to buy lands in Talisay (according to

Rizal was not documented to have bet on horse races, but was an “addict” of the loteria, wrote his biographer Wenceslao Retana.

Could Rizal have conceivably attended a horse race? I think so. The Manila Jockey Club, Asia’s oldest, was established in 1867 and was a bastion of the Spanish and Filipino elite of the time. In fact, its Gran Copa de Manila race was pre-empted when on the day of the race in 1898, the Spanish-American War broke out.

The Spanish loteria that Rizal enjoyed playing was later run by the Philippine government and in time morphed into the PCSO.

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Each year brings in new horses to the track, and among them are the future champions. Each runner carries within the potential to excel, and this potential emerges over time and over many grueling battles on the track.

After the dust of 2011 cleared, the Philippine Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Organization whipped out their pens and calculators and, using a point-system, declared the winners of their Gintong Lahi Awards:

Champion 2YO Colt: Hagdang Bato (owned by Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur C. Abalos); Champion 2YO Filly: Humble Riches (Kenneth M. Causon);

Champion 3YO Colt: Magna Carta (Michael Dragon T. Javier); Champion 3YO Filly: Constatic (Ronaldo D. Tan);

Champion Older Horse: Yes Pogi (Francis G. Lim); Champion Sprinter: Consolidator (Lamberto C. Almeda Jr.);

Champion Imported Horse: Juggling Act (Narciso O. Morales); Horse of the Year: Magna Carta (Michael Dragon T. Javier);

Jockey of the Year: Jonathan B. Hernandez; Trainer of the Year: Raymundo R. Henson; Owner of the Year: Michael Dragon T. Javier;

Stallion of the Year: Quaker Ridge (Herminio S. Esguerra); Breeder of the Year: Leonardo M. Javier Jr.

No award was given for Champion Older Filly/Mare of the Year and Broodmare of the Year.

Congratulations to the newly-installed Gintong Lahi champions, and to Philtobo as well, for consistently staging the sport’s only recognition ceremony in the face of economic challenges.

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The Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners invites all racehorse owners to the “MARHO: Enter the Dragon” annual fellowship party on February 10, Friday; contact MARHO staff for details.   ***

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