THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 2 July 2014, Wednesday
Umbrella horseowners’ group founded
Several prominent horseowners are formally establishing an organization to be called the Thoroughbred Owners of the Philippines (TOP).
They felt this was necessary after they, mostly officers of the three racing organizations, experienced running horseowners’ affairs as an entity termed the “Tri-Org”, so-called because it was an informal coalition of officers and members from the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners, Philippine Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Organization, and Klub Don Juan de Manila.
According to one of the founders, TOP will be the formal entity representing the united force of horseowners during certain situations or circumstances within the industry.
The rules of conduct and marketing efforts, however, for each of the three traditional horseowners’ racing festivals and other events will be governed and administered by the corresponding horseowners’ organizations.
TOP, a non-stock, non-profit organization, will spearhead common events such as seminars and training for horseowners.
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The field for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s Special Maiden Race for juveniles on July 5, Saturday, at San Lazaro Leisure Park is down to seven.
Among those still in the race is Cool Summer Farm’s filly Hook Shot, who won the 1,400-meter trial race held June 20. Jockey Jeffril Zarate will ride her again on Saturday.
Trial second placer Cat Express was scratched from the race. Third placer Buzzer Beater, a colt owned by Josephy Dyhengco and to be steered by Mark Alvarez, is still in, as is fourth placer Super Spicy, Herminio S. Esguerra’s filly to be ridden by Fernando Raquel Jr.
The other entries are Oliver Velasquez’s filly Princess Ella (jockey John Alvin Guce), lawyer Narciso Morales’s colt Cock-A-Doodle Doo (JF Paroginog), Mandy Carlos Santos’s filly Jazz Asia (JB Guerra), and Mario Morales’s colt Polka Dot Bikini (RA Tablizo).
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“Pagsundo sa kabayo” is a regular activity of the Philippine thoroughbred industry, where members of the racing community wait for the arrival of imported horses at the airport terminal.
Horseowners buy thoroughbreds at auctions abroad, usually from the US, Australia, and New Zealand.
The horses are shipped by air (they used to go by sea), and when they arrive, import brokers, grooms, veterinarians, and trailer drivers show up to greet them.
At 1am last Sunday, I watched a batch of nine horses, purchased at the June 2014 Magic Millions sale, arrive at NAIA Terminal 2 (Cargo). It was two and a half hours after that before they were all released.
“Pagsundo” is a waiting game. Everyone is ready and waiting at least two hours before the arrival time.
Once the horsebox “pallets”, each holding three horses, are unloaded, they are opened by the accompanying grooms, in this case, Australians. Only they may open the boxes, for safety’s sake.
The horses are led out by the visiting grooms with the help of local grooms. Then each horse is shaved at the neck, and cold-branded by a veterinarian from the Bureau of Animal Industry with a mark of three circles – “ooo” – that denotes an imported horse. Without this brand, the newly-landed horses may not leave the terminal.
After taxes are paid and all paperwork filled out, the horses are taken to their respective ranches to wait out a 30-day quarantine period.
Then it’s off to the racetrack for training, if they are juveniles or runners. If they are foals, yearlings, broodmares, or stallions, they stay on the ranch and are acclimatized until they are ready for their new duties.
For captioned photos of this activity, check out the “Landed and Branded” album at my Facebook Page, “Gogirl Racing”. ***