THW: Summer Stakes Weekend

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 7 March 2012, Wednesday

Summer Stakes Weekend

Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, will be serving up some sizzling hot action this summer weekend with the staging of two Philippine Racing Commission stakes races.

Saturday, March 10, will showcase the Commissioner’s Cup, in honor of former Philracom commissioner Eduardo Galang. The distance is 1,900 meters, a tough challenge for the seven older horses who’ve signed up.

They are lawyer Sixto Esquivias IV’s coupled entries Arvindugo, who’ll be steered by jockey Rodeo Fernandez carrying 54 kgs. handicap weight, and Cheese Mosa (Jonathan Hernandez, 52); Mandaluyong mayor Benhur Abalos’s Barkley (Kelvin Abobo, 54); Rita Pilapil’s Heaven Sent (Mark Alvarez, 54); Herminio Esguerra’s Raon (Jesse Guce, 54); Felizardo Sevilla Jr.’s Tensile Strength (Jeffril Zarate, 54); and Francis G. Lim’s Yes Pogi (Daniel Camañero, 55).

While my heart might go out to track icons Yes Pogi and Barkley, they’re going through a rough patch now. In their last outing, the PCSO Freedom Cup last February  they were soundly trounced by Arvindugo, who won nearly wire-to-wire, pulling in 3.5 lengths ahead of The Rock. Barkley managed to come in third, while Yes Pogi was not among the placers.

Sunday, March 11, will see the larga of the Chairman’s Cup, honoring immediate past Philracom chairman and present Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II.

The mile race will feature younger horses, all local-bred 3YO. It is part of the “Road to the Triple Crown” set of tuning-up races for those who may compete in the highly prestigious Philracom Triple Crown Stakes series and its auxiliary Hopeful Stakes later this summer.

The lineup comprises Abalos’s Hagdang Bato (with jockey Hernandez); Javier town, Leyte mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr.’s coupled entries Ikel (Antonio Alcasid Jr.) and Patron (John Paul Guce); Lamberto Almeda Jr.’s Golden Empire (Karvin Malapira); Kenneth Causon’s Isa Pa Isa Pa (Abobo); Esguerra’s coupled entries Mr. Tatler (Fernando Raquel Jr.) and Purple Ribbon (Jesse Guce); and Francis G. Lim’s Yes Yes Yes (Zarate).

Since this is a set weight race, all these colts will be carrying 54 kgs.

Given the equal imposts dished to all, I’m looking at Ikel. He comes off a recent stakes win with the same rider, in the February 19 Philracom Amethyst III at San Lazaro Leisure Park. Don’t discount the duo fielded by the powerhouse Esguerra stables.

The Philracom offering of action-packed weekend races is a fitting kick-off for the Philracom Racing Festival this March. In store for winners of regular races this month is an added prize of P20,000.

Speaking of Philracom, congratulations to their board of commissioners on their oath-taking at Malacañang Palace last March 5, with President Benigno Aquino III himself administering the oath.

Formally taking up their positions were Angel Castaño Jr. as chairman, and as commissioners engineer Jesus Cantos (also serving as executive director), lawyer Franco Loyola, lawyer Victor Tantoco, veterinarian Reynaldo Fernando, and jockey Lyndon Noel Guce.   ***

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