THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 2 April 2014, Wednesday
Hagdang Bato back on track
Hagdang Bato returned a victor to the track last Mar. 30 after winning the Philippine Racing Commission’s Commissioner’s Cup, this year held in honor of former commissioner James Erving Paman.
In the 1,800-meter race held at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park, Hagdang Bato, owned by Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos and guided by jockey Jonathan Hernandez, finished many lengths ahead of the second placer, Hideaway Farms’ Leonor.
Tony Tan’s Pugad Lawin placed third and SC Stockfarm’s Spinning Ridge fourth. The clock stopped at 1:56.8.
It was a vindication for track superstar Hagdang Bato. After he lost to Pugad Lawin in the 2013 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup last December due to various circumstances, he was rested to allow a three-inch crack in his hoof to heal.
Now that he’s shown he’s back in top form, racing fans can look forward to more accomplishments from one of the sport’s finest champions.
Hagdang Bato and his fame are good for the sport. Such is his power to attract viewer interest that on the day he ran the Commissioner’s Cup, sales hit an impressive P37.3 million.
Overall, racing did well this March. According to Philracom Commissioner Jesus B. Cantos, “We are up again by P51.5 million last week and the running total now of gross receipts increase is P154.7 million or 8.34 percent against January to March 2013 sales figures.”
Philracom’s official racing calendar shows no sponsored races for April, but their May offerings kick off the much-awaited Triple Crown series for elite 3YO at Metro Turf. The Hopeful Stakes race, with P1 million in total prizes, takes place on May 17, while the first leg of the Triple Crown, with P3 million in prizes, is on May 18. Both are mile races.
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PCSO will be staging a Special Maiden race at Metro Manila Turf Club in Malvar, Batangas, on Saturday as part of its regular calendar.
The 1,200-meter race attracted seven entries: Hideaway Farm’s My Song, to be ridden by jockey Fernando Raquel Jr., Ruben Dimacuha’s Think Again (Jesse Guce), SC Stockfarm’s Cat’s Regal (John Paul Guce), Benhur Abalos’s Definitely Great (Kelvin Abobo), Jose Y. Quiros’s Misty Blue (Jonathan Hernandez), Juan Miguel Yulo’s Morning Time (Christopher Garganta), and Herminio Esguerra’s Pusong Bato (Mark Alvarez).
The two colts, Think Again and Pusong Bato, will carry 54.5 kgs, while the others are fillies and will carry 53 kgs.
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Stallion Notes: Herminio Esguerra’s champion Real Spicy (Real Quiet x Spicy Tale), who won the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup and the PCSO Silver Cup (twice), is the sire of Boss Jaden, a champion in his juvenile season, and stakes winner Hot and Spicy.
To stand his first season at stud in 2014 at Esguerra’s Herma Farms in Lipa, Batangas, is Juggling Act (Giant’s Causeway x Picadilly Circus by Royal Academy), a champion import from Australia who had a successful racing career in the Philippines with 27 wins and earnings of over P7 million.