THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 11 June 2014, Wednesday
US Triple Crown drought continues
California Chrome, winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, failed to win the Belmont Stakes last Saturday, disappointing racing fans around the world who hoped for an end to the Triple Crown champion drought.
A visibly spent “Chrome,” ridden by Victor Espinoza, placed fourth to the Joel Rosario-guided Tonalist, who won by a head over second-placer Commissioner. Medal Count came in third.
Espinoza said in a New York Times interview that he knew Chrome was off that day – “As soon as he came out the gate, he was not the same….he was empty.”
Chrome’s owner Steve Coburn minced no words in an angry rant after the race, claiming Tonalist’s connections took “the coward’s way out” by not running the first two legs of the Triple Crown and coming to the Belmont fresh.
In contrast, Chrome had run and won the 1-1/4 mile (2,000 meters) Kentucky Derby and 1-3/16 mile (1,900 meters) Preakness stakes, enjoying just two weeks of rest in between those two races, and three weeks in between the Preakness and the Belmont.
The Belmont, with a distance of 1-1/12 mile (2,400 meters) is the most arduous leg and often the one that trips up the Triple Crown hopefuls.
Coburn may have a point – a spent horse isn’t likely to do well against a fresh horse – but he knew the rules going into the game. The US Triple Crown, like the Philippine version, allows horses to enter any leg of the race.
That the TC has not been won since Affirmed did in 1978 speaks volumes about the quality of thoroughbreds since then, the glory decade that also saw the phenomenal achievements of Secretariat and Seattle Slew.
Still, the challenge stands. It is what it is. The Triple Crown is a signal honor that is earned only by the very best.
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Horseowner lawyer Ramon “Dondon” S. Bagatsing Jr. is busy coming up with interesting races for the forthcoming Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Memorial Cup, to be held Aug. 17 at SLLP.
One of his ideas is to pit Hagdang Bato against Crucis, one of the country’s top imports, in a match race. The owners of both horses already agreed to participate in what would be a historic event.
However, this was before Hagdang Bato lost to Pugad Lawin in the June 1 PCSO Silver Cup at Santa Ana Park. Given this outcome, racing fans are eager for a three-way battle between Hagdang Bato, Crucis, and Pugad Lawin.
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The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Committee on Races announced the lineup for the July 5 PCSO Special Maiden Race at San Lazaro Leisure Park, Carmona, Cavite.
The 1,400 meter race for 2YO attracted eleven declared entries: Joseph Dyhengco’s colt Buzzer Beater, to be ridden by Mark Alvarez; Oliver Velasquez’s filly Princess Ella, with John Alvin Guce; Cool Summer Farm’s filly Hook Shot, with Jeffril Zarate; Narciso Morales’s colt Cock A Doodle Doo with JF Paruginog;
Herminio Esguerra’s colt Super Spicy, with Fernando Raquel Jr.; Mandy Carlo Sanchez’s filly Jazz Asia, with JB Guerra; Pierre Niles’s filly Enchanted, with AP Asuncion; Herma Farm and Stud’s colt El Mundo, with Jonathan Hernandez;
Mario Morales’s colt Polka Dot Bikini with RA Tablizo; Tony Tan’s colt May Swerte Ako, with Jesse Guce; and SC Stockfarm’s colt Cat Express with Christopher Tamano.
This being a set handicap race, all colts will carry 54 kgs. and fillies 52 kgs. The first prize is P600,000 with prizes up to third place and a P50,000 purse to the winning breeder.
The trial race will be held on June 20. ***