THW: Horseowners Thank Mayor Erap

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 24 July 2013, Wednesday


Horseowners Thank Mayor Erap

The three horseowners’ organizations – MARHO, Philtobo, and Klub Don Juan de Manila, collectively known as the “Tri-Org”  – thanked Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada for halting racing bookies operations in the city as part of his avowed campaign against crime and corruption.

Barely a month into his stint as mayor, Estrada listened to the pleas of the Tri-Org and made efforts to put an end to illegal bookie operations beginning last week. Racetrack sales have been rising since then – a result, says the Tri-Org, of their initiative to approach the Mayor on this matter.

It has been previously estimated by law enforcement agencies that bookies collect about as much as legitimate operations, or around P8 billion a year. Other sources claim the figure is much higher – twice or even thrice more.

Like other illegal games, bookie operations pay no taxes, depriving the government of lawful and much-needed revenue.

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Young Turk proved his winning the trial race was not a fluke when he duplicated his feat during the actual running of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race last Saturday.

It seemed many racing fans were doubtful of his ability because he was sent off as only second pick after Mona’s Art, who placed second in the trial. The 1,200-meter race for juveniles held at Metro Manila Turf Club in Malvar, Batangas.

Up and Away led for most of the race, with Young Turk running off the pace and Asikaso in third. Young Turk pulled away halfway down the stretch to win by one over Up and Away, who came in second. Mona’s Art was third.

As expected, owner-trainer-breeder Jeci Lapus was elated over his colt’s win, and complimented the masterful handling of jockey Jonathan Hernandez that ensured their stable’s victory. Total time for the race was 1:10.8 (23-22-25’).

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Lipa, Batangas, has changed a lot since my last visit to one of the thoroughbred ranches there – I think it was to the Royal Maverick Ranch of Mayor Sandy Javier a couple of years ago. I dropped by Jun Almeda’s farm in Lipa last Sunday, and saw that there is much more commercial development in the area.

At the Almeda farm, we saw three young horses from the batch of 28 or so that arrived from Australia last Tuesday looking quite recovered from their five-hour plane ride. Mr. Almeda says at first they had no appetite, but they have adjusted well and are eating better now – “Nakaka-walong timba na sila!” he said.

We were impressed by the looks of one filly – Onemorenomore x Phar Too Fast (2011) – who is also amiable and good-natured. While the others in the paddock remained aloof, she kept coming over to be petted, nuzzling our arms until we wrapped them around her.

For many in racing, this is why they stay in a high-risk sport/business that cannot guarantee financial returns – there are higher, psychic rewards, and to feel the connection between human and animal roots you in the earth, reminds you of what really matters to heart and soul, and makes you feel closer to the nature that our technology and city lifestyle increasingly detach us from.


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