THW: An Association for Grooms

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 31 October 2012, Wednesday

An Association for Grooms

A chat with longtime horseowner and breeder lawyer Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr. made me aware of initiatives being made by a couple of father-and-son tandems to professionalize the sector of grooms, an under-recognized but vital part of horseracing.

A few months ago, Atty. Bagatsing and his son Havy (a television host for cockfighting and other sports programs), and Robert Francisco and his son Dominic (both horseowners and horse feed and racing goods suppliers) discussed plans to put up a grooms’ association.

The group, called The Integrated Equine Grooms Association, Inc., has the objectives of professionalizing the ranks of grooms, uplifting their living (and presumably working) conditions, provide a support mechanism for them in times of need, and raise funds for programs to benefit them.

According to Atty. Bagatsing, there are about 600 grooms working in racing at the moment, both at the racetracks (San Lazaro Leisure Park and Santa Ana Park) and at the breeding ranches.

The incorporation papers are being drawn up and will be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission before the end of the year.

“This initiative,” said Atty. Bagatsing, “has the support of the Philippine Racing Commission and the three horseowners’ organizations – MARHO, Philtobo, and Klub Don Juan de Manila – and is being done in coordination with them.”

Once the association has been registered with the SEC, he says, a meeting with the grooms will be called to apprise them of the benefits of joining this association.

These include registration with Philhealth and the Social Security System and help with payments and tracking, and activities such as medical missions for grooms and their families and seminars on equine care.

It’s about time that something like this gets done for the grooms. They are among the frontliners of the sport, being directly involved with the care of horses, sometimes even sleeping with their mga alaga.

It’s time as well to bring them into mainstream employment to enjoy the regular benefits that members of professional associations usually receive, and to be aware of their rights as employees under the law.

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Meanwhile, the officers and members of the MARHO – Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners – announced the official lineups and distances for their six championship races to be held 20-25 November 2012 at Santa Ana Park:

Classic, 2000 meters: Barkley, Carriedo, Darleb, Gastambide, Lord of War, Native Land, Prime Rate;

3YO Colt Mile, 1600 meters: Golden Empire, Hagdang Bato, Penrith, Purple Ribbon, Steel Creation, Yes I’m The One;

3YO Filly Mile, 1600 meters: Advance Notice, Cat’s Diamond, Cheese Blanca, Isla Verde, Jahan, Miss Malapia, Sea Princess;

2YO Juvenile Colts, 1600 meters: Be Humble, Boss Jaden, Bumpy Ride, Hot and Spicy, Jalapenio, Modern Love, Spinning Ridge, Striker’s Symbol, Unthinkable;

2YO Juvenile Fillies, 1600 meters: Balbonic, Ballet Flats, Cat’s Silver, Congregation, Eurasian, Five Star, Grand Strike’s Girl, Humble Submission, Leonidez Might, Mrs. Teapot, Niagara Boogie, Super Whaaa;

Sprint, 1000 meters: Brother Barack, Divisoria, Fierce and Fiery, Mr. Tatler, Yes Yes Yes, Water Shed.

The MARHO event this year, the 17th running, is entitled “MARHO Daisy-Siete: Racing is Blooming,” a tongue-in-cheek tag that is a salute to the fun and excitement that this sport delivers.

More news later as preparations for this much-anticipated event develop.

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