THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 4 April 2012, Wednesday
Philracom Summer Racefest
Handicap races every weekend, backed by the Philippine Racing Commission, are ongoing this summer and tagged the Philracom Racing Festival.
“This is to support the lean months of local horseracing,” said Philracom executive director Jesus Cantos.
Added prizes and trophies will be given as incentives for the winners and grooms at both Santa Ana Park and San Lazaro Leisure Park.
This summer festival is an exciting series that, says Cantos, “pits horses of different calibers [against each other, their abilities] evened up by assigning corresponding weights as handicap for the better ones against the lesser entries, just like in golf.”
“Normally,” added Cantos, “this kind of race yields clusters of horses as they enter the last phase of the race, leading to close finishes. The successes or failures of the entries depend on the strategy and judgment calls of the jockeys.”
The Commission set up a team to create the special series of races, with representatives from the horseowners, trainers, and racing clubs and chaired by commissioner Lyndon Guce, a former star jockey.
Watch the live streaming of the races at the websites of the two racing clubs from 2 to 9pm on weekends.
According to Philracom chairman Angel L. Castaño Jr., the races “are part of the Philracom 4Q 2011 and Beyond TRIP program, embodying the core values of transparency, responsiveness, innovation, and policy-driven initiatives.”
In addition to the Summer Racing Festival, the Philracom has scheduled stakes races for the rest of the year. The biggest races in terms of purses are the Triple Crown series which offers P3 million in total prizes (from first to fourth places) per leg, and is open to elite 3YO Philippine-bred thoroughbreds.
Speaking of which, the “Road to the Triple Crown”, as tuneup races are called, has begun, with Rain Shower winning the Philracom Diamond I Stakes last April 1 at SLLP.
The RR Floirendo-owned 6YO mare ridden by Mark Alvarez won by four lengths over second placer Botbo of Container Bridge Phils. Don Antonio Floirendo Sr.’s Doña Nenita came in third, and Herminio Esguerra’s Juggling Act fourth.
Total time for the 1,750-meter race was 1:50, two seconds off the record notched by Ibarra in 2007 and Real Spicy in 2006.
Two more stakes races are set for this month, both mile races for local-bred 3YO and also at SLLP. On the 14th, the Diamond II for fillies; on the 15th, Diamond III for colts.
The first leg of the Philracom Triple Crown – also a mile race – is at Santa Ana Park on May 20; the Hopeful Stakes for horses which for whatever reason were not entered in the Triple Crown itself will be held the day before. ***