THW: Horseowners Want Change

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 5 June 2013, Wednesday


Horseowners Want Change

The horseowners’ Tri-Org composed of the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners (MARHO), Philippine Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Organization (Philtobo), and Klub Don Juan de Manila (KDJM) held a press conference last Monday to air their clamor to Malacañang for change in the Philippine Racing Commission’s (Philracom) leadership.

The organization’s presidents – Eric Tagle (MARHO), Bienvenido Niles Jr. (Philtobo), and Antonio Eleazar (KDJM) – said in a statement that they are “utterly disappointed with the inaction on and mismanagement of industry issues by the present Philracom.”

They are staging a racing holiday this week to emphasize their position.

While a racecard was formed for the first racing day at San Lazaro Leisure Park, it was anticipated by the Tri-Org that other horseowners who had declared entries would scratch them.

No races were formed for Metro Manila Turf Club. As is the rule, the declaration was transferred to Santa Ana Park, the next club in the rotation, and they were able to form a card of eight races.

To counter the Tri-Org’s move and entice participants, especially non-aligned horseowners, the Philracom staged a “Special Summer Racing Festival” with added prizes under “no bearing, no effect,” meaning wins or losses during such a period will have no effect on a horse’s grouping, which changes according to its performance.

The Philracom is a government agency under the Office of the President that supervises and regulates the nearly 200-year old sport and industry of horseracing.

The Tri-Org contends that the Philracom has “inadequately addressed” big-picture issues such as the decline in racing sales, poor promotion and marketing of the sport, proliferation of illegal bookies, infrastructure such as a unified betting system, and others.

The last straw, the horseowners say, was Philracom’s latest response on the issue of the 3 percent deduction from horseowners’ prizes for the trainers’ fund. The Tri-Org contends that there is no legal basis for the deduction and has been asking the present Commission for its abolition since 2011.

Instead of handing down a decision, Philracom suggested that the Tri-Org “just bring the controversy to any other proper forum.”

The Tri-Org has appealed to Malacañang within the 72-hour timeframe provided for in racing rules and regulations and are asking for a revamp of the present Commission.

Somehow this is all a case of miscommunication, and it would perhaps have been avoided had the legalities of the various issues raised been addressed.

For the good of the industry, may a resolution acceptable to all be found soon.

* * * * *

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office is running one of its two major races – the PCSO Silver Cup – at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, on June 9, Sunday.

The 2,000-meter race for older horses features only colts this year. Declared to run are Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos’s coupled entries Hagdang Bato, to carry 55 kgs. paired with jockey Jonathan Hernandez, and Barkley (55.5, Val Dilema); Wilbert Tan’s Sulong Pinoy (55.5, Fernando Raquel Jr.); Jade Bros. Farm’s Big Daddy’s Dream (56, Efren Raquel), Herminio Esguerra’s High Voltage (55.5, Jeffril Zarate), Sandy Javier’s Patron (55, Jesse Guce), and Antonio de Ubago’s Chief Joesan (55.5, Red de Leon).

They are competing for the P2.5 million winner’s purse, and the other prizes aren’t bad either: P700,000 for second place, PP350,000 for third, and P250,000 for fourth. ***

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