THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 26 February 2014, Wednesday
Hari ng Yambo’s PCSO Freedom Cup time not a record
At six, he was the oldest in a field of ten horses.
But age didn’t stop veteran stakes winner Hari ng Yambo from trouncing the outstanding favorite to clinch this year’s Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Freedom Cup.
Held last Sunday at Metro Manila Turf Club (MMTC) racecourse in Malvar, Batangas, to mark the anniversary of the People Power Revolution, the mile race was PCSO’s first major offering of the year.
It drew a high-powered cast, including Tony Tan’s Pugad Lawin, which won last year’s PCSO Presidential Gold Cup in an upset over the heavy favorite Hagdang Bato.
But it seems there was a karmic price to pay for that victory.
Pugad Lawin was the top choice, carrying over P361,000 in the Daily Double pool, with Emmanuel Santos’s Hari ng Yambo the far second favorite selling at only around P36,000.
The speedy Golden Empire carried the lead for most of the race, with Hot and Spicy, Leonor, and Pugad Lawin in contention.
It wasn’t till the backstretch that Hari ng Yambo started moving up to position himself as frontrunner by the far turn.
He came strongly down the center of the lane in the homestretch to win by nearly two lengths.
Manuel Alvarez’s Basic Instinct came in second, Lamberto Almeda Jr.’s Golden Empire third, and Pugad Lawin fourth.
The win was worth P800,000 for Santos, trainer Renato C. Hipolito, and jockey John Paul A. Guce. Prizes were also allocated up to fourth place.
The runners set blistering quarters of 24-22’-22’-26’ on Malvar’s typically fast track for a total time of 1:35.4.
This time is more than two seconds better than the 1:37.8 of Hagdang Bato set at Santa Ana Park during the PCSO Grand Derby in 2012, listed in Philracom’s official track record as the record for the mile.
However, according to a source at Philracom, Hari ng Yambo’s time is not considered a record because Metro Turf’s track is unusually fast.
For now, only times set at San Lazaro Leisure Park and Santa Ana Park will be considered for the record books.
Hari ng Yambo (Chapel Royal-Daulide) won a leg of the Triple Crown in 2011, one of the reasons I gave it as one of my longshot picks in my previous column.
Present at the Freedom Cup awarding ceremony were PCSO General Manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, MMTC Chairman Dr. Norberto Quisumbing Jr., PCSO Gaming Sector Assistant General Manager Conrado Zabella, and from the PCSO Committee on Races, its chairman Atty. Jose T. Malang, vice-chairmen Carlos Castillo and Desoto Tupaz, and members Rey Empremiado, Orlando Malaca, Jess Villanueva, Dr. Romeo Buencamino, and myself.
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Also held that same day at Metro Turf was a Philippine Racing Commission and Philtobo claiming race. There were six entries, all 3YO, who ran over 1,200 meters.
First to cross the wire was the favorite, Jade Bros. Farm’s Priceless Joy, followed by SB Pamor’s Magical Bell, Raymund Puyat’s Top Prize, and Jeci Lapus’s Red Flash, in that order. The others were RMJ Farm’s Director’s Diva and JRS Farm’s Westminster.
In a claiming race, the horses entered may be bought by the public at a certain price – in this case, P500,000 for healthy Philippine-breds.
Said Philracom Commissioner Jesus B. Cantos, “This is a chance for anyone to own runners from distinguished farms of good pedigree or champion bloodlines. Easy processing of ownership will be done by Philracom.”
So for racing fans who’ve always wanted to own their own racehorse, watch out for the next claiming race.
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Last Sunday was an action-packed day at Metro Turf, which also saw the staging of the 16th Philtobo Gintong Lahi Awards, the Thoroughbred racing industry’s only recognition program. More on that next week. ***