THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 4 September 2013, Wednesday
Even-Steven PCSO Race?
By all accounts, the September 7 all-juvenile Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race at Santa Ana Park is going to be close – as close as a nose.
That’s by how little Joseph Dyhengco’s Skyway squeaked past Great Care in the trial race held last August 23. Royal Reign took third, followed by Tap Dance, Sweetchildofmine, and Magical Bell in that order. The time for the trial race was 1:16.4 (25-23’-28).
The actual race, to be run over 1,200 meters on Saturday, will prove to be interesting, with third placer Royal Reign’s connections handing in an early scratch for their entry.
So it’s down to filly Skyway with rider Mark Alvarez aboard; Valentino Yu’s filly Great Care (Jordan Cordova); SC Stockfarm’s filly Sweetchildofmine (John Alvin Guce); Mayor Sandy Javier’s colt Tap Dance (Jesse Guce); and Shellane Marie Pamor’s colt Magical Bell (JAA Guce).
Handicapping is set weight, with fillies to carry 52 kgs. and colts 54 kgs.
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Last August 14 the New Philippine Jockeys Association, Inc. held the NPJAI-Mr. Stribling Cup at Santa Ana Park to commemorate the first anniversary of the passing of a man who lived long, learned more, and loved much of racing in the Philippines.
George Young Stribling was a transplanted American who came to this country in 1979, when he was in his early sixties. He never returned to the USA.
He’d spent his life in racing – as a rider, trainer, and owner. In the Philippines, his expertise brought him to the attention of the racing industry greats of the time, who later appointed him director of the Philippine Jockeys Academy (PJA), which first opened its doors in April 1980. He held this position for many years, and was a consultant to the racing clubs and the Philippine Racing Commission as well. The majority of the currently active jockeys are his students.
Space limits prevent me from telling you more of his remarkable story, but I want to share some of his quotables that’ll make him come alive for you. He knew how to turn a phrase, and many of his sayings have passed into local racing lore.
Stribling on the Philippines: “Life here is so much less stressful; the credo here is ‘bahala na’. It’s all unpredictability, a ‘maybe land’. The important thing is that this country is a much less stressful place than other places.”
“The Filipinos have quaint habits such as unpunctuality – and hospitality. A child with one pandesal or a handful of rice will offer to share it with you.”
“I have been in the Philippines one-third of my life – and they have been the most enjoyable years of my life.”
I was an apprentice jockey in the PJA’s fourth batch and though I never amounted to much as a horsewoman (as Mr. Stribling told me time and again), I learned much from him that proved valuable in life. He loved this country and his life here. He’d tell anyone who’d listen, “I’m a born-again Filipino. I have planted my roots here; I will die here in the Philippines.” Seeing our land through his eyes made me appreciate it more.
Mr. Stribling died at the age of 95 in the warm tropical embrace of his adopted country. Racing mourned for him when he bought that admission ticket to the great racetrack in the sky. He is missed and always will be. ***