THW: Philracom Visit to Malvar

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 19 September 2012, Wednesday

Philracom Visit to Malvar

Officials of the Philippine Racing Commission led by Chairman Angel L. Castaño Jr. paid a visit to the Metro Manila Turf Club racetrack at Malvar-Tanauan, Batangas the other day to inspect the site and see if it is fit for racing.

MMTC held a dry run last week with four horses which went well, according to some jockeys I talked to, which, one of them said, “is only to be expected because the track is new.”

A jockey’s wife posted on her Facebook account almost 100 photos of the dry run, showing various parts of facility – track, grandstand, clubhouse, saddling paddock, and jockeys’ quarters. (The stables were not shown in the photoset.)

The turf club itself looks like that of Santa Ana Park’s in Naic, and is roughly the same size, if not a bit smaller. The clubhouse for VIPs is fully finished and even has a pool table.

At the grandstand, the lower floor has a lobby where the betting terminals are located. The upper level is unpainted but cemented smooth and is divided into two parts – one side is bleacher-style, filled with multi-colored plastic seats like that at San Lazaro Leisure Park. The other side has metal corrals for group seating like that at the old Santa Ana Park in Makati.

The saddling paddock looks like SLLP’s, being located right beside the grandstand. It is also fully-finished, painted in and out and furnished with rails and numbers for the official entries of each race.

The stewards’ stand is a tall structure like the one that used to be at Santa Ana Park in Makati, and similarly situated between the grandstand and clubhouse.

The jockeys’ quarters is barracks-style outfitted with double-decker beds. Powerful lights for night racing are already in place all around the track.

According to those I’ve interviewed, for one thing, the jockeys were hardly consulted during the construction phase of Malvar, unlike during the construction of Santa Ana Park at Naic when the riders were asked many times to assess the track and jockeys’ facilities.

In fact, it was said that there was no provision made at first for jockeys’ quarters at Malvar until the jockeys pointed this out.

Going over the photoset on Facebook, I did not see any covered stands for the broadcast cameras for the live racing coverage. There were at least two cameras used during the dry run last week, and both, along with their cameramen, were mounted on separate wheeled platforms without canopies. This is something that is easily addressed before actual operations commence.

With the racing schedule already fixed for the year, there’s no chance that regular races will be run at Malvar. Perhaps next year, should Philracom’s findings show that MMTC’s facilities are complete.    Meanwhile, they can hold more dry runs and exhibition races.

All the racetracks, before being given licenses to operate by Philracom, are required to comply with checklists of equipment embodied in the PR (Philippine Racing rules and regulations) and their respective franchise laws as enacted by Congress. MMTC’s franchise is covered by Republic Act 7978 as amended by RA 8298.

Among the equipment a racetrack is required to own is a totalizator system and machines. Does Malvar have this very important item? Let us wait on Philracom findings.

* * * * *

The Philracom Juvenile Stakes series held last week at Santa Ana Park saw the dominance of filly Eurasian and colt Boss Jaden over the rest of their counterparts.

Both posted times of 1:19 for their respective 1,300-meter races.

In Saturday’s Juvenile Filly race, the Jeffril Zarate-steered Eurasian owned by Joseph Dyhengco trounced Hideaway Farm’s Leonor, Sixto Esquivias IV’s Ballet Flats, and Herminio Esguerra’s Super Whaaa, in that order.

In Sunday’s Juvenile Colts, Esquivias did better with his Boss Jaden, ridden by Jeffrey Bacaycay. Runners-up, in order, were Honorato Neri’s Sky Dragon, Dyhengco’s Hot and Spicy, and Wilbert Tan’s Striker’s Symbol.

Congratulations to the winning connections!   ***

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