THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 1 May 2013, Wednesday
Rabble Rouser Wins PCSO Race
Trial race winner Rabble Rouser proved his superiority in last Saturday’s Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden race at Metroturf Racetrack in Malvar, Batangas.
The colt owned by Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos ran off the pace, clinging to the flanks of pacesetter Daragang Magayon, a filly owned by Herminio Esguerra.
None of the other participants even showed up in the frame of the live television coverage, prompting railside wags to remark that it was a “two-horse race.”
Rabble Rouser’s jockey, Jonathan Hernandez, begged his horse for more at the far turn and edged past the plucky filly guided by Jeffril Zarate to win by about a length.
Malvar’s fast track helped Rabble Rouser post a time of 1:10 (23-21-26) for 1,200 meters, prompting lawyer-horseowner Ramon Bagatsing Jr., who spent the afternoon at the races, to exclaim: “Nag beinte-uno siya? That was something!” I believe it was because of the swift pace set by the frontrunner.
Daragang Magayon placed a close second, followed by Grand Charmer, Blue Angel, Green Lover, and Golden Boots last.
The awarding ceremony was attended by PCSO officials led by general manager lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II. From the PCSO Commitee on Races came its chairman lawyer Jose Malang, vice-chairmen Carlos Castillo and Desoto Tupas, and members Betsy Paruginog, Orlando Malaca, veterinarian Romeo Buencamino, Jess Villanueva, lawyer Gay Alvor, and Rey Empremiado, as well as PCSO lawyer Reena Yason, there to watch live horse racing for the first time ever, along with other PCSO employees.
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That occasion was PCSO’s first race held at Malvar, and my first time to visit the track, with my daughters in tow.
The place is a pocket cutie, looking smaller than the other two in Cavite – Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona and Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic – but well-appointed.
The main grandstand‘s lobby and corridors constitute an art gallery, with paintings by Filipino artists hung on the walls. On the ground floor is a dining room that extends to an open-air veranda for smokers; it gives out directly onto the finish line, a superb position for viewers. The second floor VIP area is just as pleasant. The food is great.
From the second floor, a sliding door leads to the spectators’ stand. It’s where the covered “bleachers” are, with an area with tables for horseowners, trainers, and their guests.
This is also where the broadcast room is, manned by Toby Tanjuatco’s Sistemas crew with horseowner-breeder Sonny Arevalo and racing writer Andy Sevilla on board along with commentator Vince Trinidad, and directed by Rey Decena (proud father of singer Madonna Decena).
Racecalling duties are headed by broadcaster Ira Herrera.
My youngest, Erika (who’s 14), said, “The facilities are great and country-club-worthy, but what about the track?” Spoken like a true batang karera, and I’m proud. To taga-karera, the track condition is foremost, as it should be to anyone who loves the sport.
Rabble Rouser jockey Jonathan Hernandez says the light drizzle that fell last Saturday did not muddy the track but softened it a bit, the moisture giving the surface a little bounce. He likes it better now; it was too dry before.
The track was quite compacted when racing started there in February but because it is now used regularly for works and races, and because it has been raining, “nag pulvoron ng kaunti,” says jockey Antonio Alcasid Jr., president of the jockeys association.
He added, “If you check the track times, the first quarters of the mile races last Saturday were slower than they used to be,” meaning that the track is less hard.
Our sincere thanks to Metroturf Chairman Dr. Norberto Quisumbing Jr., Vice-President lawyer Alexander Carandang, and Racing Manager Rudy Prado (who held the same position at the MJC San Lazaro Hippodrome in Tayuman back in the day), for their kind and warm hospitality that made our Saturday afternoon at the races most enjoyable. We look forward to more interesting races there. ***