THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 2 May 2012, Wednesday
Waukee, Iowa – I’m in a small town close to West Des Moines, spending a couple days of my annual vacation here with friends – physicians Amerlon and Eva Enriquez – and musing on horseracing in the Midwest.
Filipinos in general tend to not know much about this part of the United States – we are more familiar with states that have a large Pinoy population, such as California, New Jersey, and Florida.
Similarly, I know more about West Coast and East Coast racing and had to look up horseracing in the area.
There’s Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, very near Des Moines, the first and only racetrack in Iowa. The first race was held there on 1 March 1989. Thoroughbred and quarter-horse racing are held Thursday to Sunday during their racing season which runs from April to October.
Apart from their own races, they also offer simulcast racing from Churchill Downs (Kentucky), Arlington Park (Illinois), Del Mar (California), and Saratoga (New York).
Among the famous jockeys (as in Triple Crown-winning) who’ve ridden at Prairie Meadows are Pat Day (who won the 2001 Iowa Oaks on Unbridled Elaine and Iowa Distaff on Royal Fair), Calvin Borel (won 2010 Iowa Oaks on Seeking the Title), Chris Antley, Jerry Bailey, Eddie Delahoussaye, Kent Desormeaux, and my personal favorite Julie Krone.
Despite being a relatively “new” racetrack, there’s a lot of rich history at Prairie Meadows, and more to be made in the years to come.
Let’s now mosey down South now and meet horseowner Mike Danapas, who sent me this message a few weeks ago:
“Howdy from Texas! My 3YO named Zaptitude broke his maiden [recently] in a $25,000 maiden claimer at Lone Star Park here. [He did] 7-1/2 furlongs on the turf. I think he has found his groove and gave us a very exciting race coming from 14-1/2 lengths off the lead to win by two lengths.
“He has consistently shown that he prefers the turf and coming from way behind to finish strong. He now leads Zap’s progeny in earnings and so far for the year Zap is ranked #3 in The Bloodhorse Top Sire’s List for Texas. Zap finished 2011 as number three as well here in Texas. Pretty good for having sired only 16 foals before he was moved to your neck of the woods as we say!”
Mike’s horse, Zaptitude, was sired by Zap (AP Indy – Ziggy’s Act), who was acquired in 2009 by horseowner-breeder mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr. Since then Zap has been standing stud at Javier’s Royal Maverick Ranch in Batangas.
Mayor Sandy says that Zap’s first crop of Philippine-breds are now 2YO and some may be hitting the track later this year under his banner, while others may be sold in auctions or private sales later.
It’s great to know that we have this sort of excellent bloodstock in the country. Let’s see if Zap’s progeny here will do as well as Zaptitude is doing in Texas. Yeehaw!
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Happy birthday to PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II! As former chairman of the Philippine Racing Commission from February 2008 to July 2010, he guided the industry through a rough transitional time and spearheaded the establishment of the Philracom laboratory, shepherded the racing taxes bill through the House of Representatives until it got passed, and more.
In PCSO, he is now immersed in agency operations ensuring the delivery of its mandated medical- and health-related services.
With best wishes to you, Attorney Joy, today and always!