THW: That Ole Black Caviar Magic

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 1 May 2013, Wednesday


That Ole Black Caviar Magic

Two Saturdays ago, veteran jockey Antonio “Oyet” Alcasid Jr. asked: “Have you ever heard of Black Caviar?”

“They’re dark fish eggs?” I hazarded.

“Not the food. The unbeaten champion Australian racemare who posted her 25th straight win today.”

My eyebrows rose so high they touched my hairline, so I looked her up and was blown away by her impressive record. The Internet fairly gushes when it mentions her.

Black Caviar (foaled 2006) won the Darley TJ Stakes at the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney last April 13, her 15th Group 1 win and her 25th straight victory.

This, says Wikipedia, “is a success record not equalled for over 100 years.” The 2010 World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings (WTRR) named her World Champion Sprinter, and she is Rank 3 in the 2012 WTRR. (The WTRR is compiled by IFHA – the France-based International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.)

Black Caviar won last year’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, and nearly lost when her jockey misjudged the distance to the wire and pulled up too soon. She tore a quadriceps muscle that time and was sidelined for eight months, but came back this year still full of speed and fight as ever.

Sired by Bel Esprit (Aus) out of  Helsinge (Aus), Black Caviar’s grandsire is the illustrious American champion Royal Academy who won the 1990 Breeder’s Cup Mile with the legendary Lester Piggott aboard, who came out of retirement for that ride. On this side, the lineage is Northern Dancer, and we have plenty of that bloodline here. (Nearly all present horses trace back to Northern Dancer.)

Black Caviar’s damsire was Desert Sun, who earned $131,188 and placed in several stakes races. Not a mover and shaker, and also Northern Dancer on his sire side, but, like Helsinge’s dam side, tracing back to British and French horses on his dam side.

Black Caviar was retired a couple of weeks ago, soon after her spectacular achievement.

How is this relevant to Philippine racing?

Our breeders are always on the lookout for the best bloodstock they can afford to import and thereby raise the quality of local-bred horses. This is one of the reasons we need to follow international racing, as well as for the sheer enjoyment of the sport, for the same reason we watch American basketball and European soccer.

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Oyet Alcasid (who is president of the New Philippine Jockeys Association) also revealed that for the first time ever, the Jockeys’ and Trainers’ racing festivals will be held on one day this year in a simultaneous celebration of both organizations.

The decision was reached in a joint meeting upon the suggestion of the trainers.

The event will be held on May 5, Sunday at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

The jockeys will be staging a Resorts World-sponsored race while the trainers will be having races backed by the Philippine Racing Commission and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

On May 4, Saturday, there will be a full slate of races for the solo Jockeys’ Day festival at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, including Philracom- and PCSO-supported races.

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            Speaking again of jockey Oyet – today, April 24, is his birthday. Wishing you a happy one, with lots more to come and more horses to ride to victory!  ***

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