THW: PCSO Freedom Cup, Special Maiden Race

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 13 February 2013, Wednesday

PCSO Freedom Cup, Special Maiden Race

Hagdang Bato versus Magna Carta again – what would you give to see a rematch between the two?

The last time the two met was at the Ruby Anniversary edition of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s flagship race – the Presidential Gold Cup.

Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos’s Hagdang Bato, valedictorian of his juvenile class the previous year, trounced stellar import Magna Carta wire-to-wire over 2,000 meters at Santa Ana Park, no mean feat.

However, Michael Dragon Javier’s Magna Carta was laboring under a heavy disadvantage – a 58 kilogram handicap weight, to be exact – and it was perhaps only to be expected that he placed a spent third.

But once again, PCSO provides a chance for Hagdang Bato, named Philtobo Horse of the Year last week at the Gintong Lahi Awards, to cement his reputation, and for Magna Carta to redeem himself.

Both are entered in the PCSO Freedom Cup this Sunday. To be run over a mile at San Lazaro Leisure Park, the all-colt race also features Hagdang Bato stablemate Barkley, Wilfredo Yason’s Chevrome, and Herminio Esguerra’s High Voltage and Maker’s Mark.

Let’s talk handicap weight again. Hagdang Bato will be carrying 55 kgs. under jockey Jonathan Hernandez, as will Chevrome; the others will be bearing 55.5 kgs., save for Magna Carta under Jesse Guce who has been assigned a staggering impost of 58.5 kgs.

This gives a 3.5 kilo advantage to Hagdang Bato, and this will prove to be a decisive factor in the outcome of the race. I admire the bravery and sportsmanship of the Javiers to run Magna Carta under this circumstance. It’s “may the best horse” win for them, with all the conditions imposed by the sport.

This is definitely a must-see – a battle no serious racing aficionado should miss.

But wait, there’s more from PCSO this weekend. On Saturday, also at SLLP, will be this month’s 3YO Open over 1,300 meters.

The lineup comprises Ronaldo Tan’s Magical Boy (colt, 54.5 kgs.), Eduardo Gonzalez’s Appointment (filly, 53), Esguerra’s Queen Quaker (filly, 53), Abalos’s Skydrifter (filly, 53), and Tarlac congressman Jeci Lapus’s Azimuth (colt, 54.5).

Appointment won the January 29 trial race, clocking 1:24.4 over 1,300 meters, followed by Sky Drifter, Queen Quaker, Azimuth, Magical Boy, and Sure Class.

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