Perseverance does pay off. That’s what Shining Fame proved when he won the third leg of the Philippine Racing Commission Triple Crown series today over a muddy track at Santa Ana Park.
The plucky colt, ridden by Jesse B. Guce, had come so close to winning the previous legs of the prestigious competition for 3YO thoroughbreds. He came in a very close second in the first leg, a photo-finish result, and third in the second leg.
Finally, all the determination paid off with a convincing win that left Shining Fame’s opponents – Hieroglyphics, Tabako, Champion of Show, Indelible Ink, and Don Enrico – gasping for breath to catch the rallying colt, who ran the 2,050-meter journey with aplomb even as he came from the back of the pack.
When the entries broke out of the gate, fast-striding Tabako grabbed point, followed by the favorite, Don Enrico, third favorite Shining Fame, Champion of Show, second favorite Incredible Ink, and Hieroglyphics.
For most of the race, Tabako raced in front, hounded closely by Don Enrico half-a-length behind. Champion of Show paced a length off in third, with Indelible Ink two lengths further back, Shining Fame and Hieroglyphics behind them.
At the far turn, Jesse Guce gave the go-signal to Shining Fame, who picked up his pace and took the lead at the far turn, as the frontrunners faded. Rounding the home curve, Shining Fame pulled away by five down the stretch, eventually winning by four. Hieroglyphics came from the tail of the field to bag second, while Indelible Ink placed third and Champion of Show fourth.
Shining Fame (Royal Premiere-Harry’s District) winning the 2008 Triple Crown third leg.
Shining Fame’s performance left fans in awe. “He hardly even broke a sweat,” said one. “Parang nag-jogging lang,” said another.
Splits for the race were 28-23′-26′-24′-27 for a total time of 2:09.6, a mere six-tenths of a second slower than the record.
Don Enrico, ridden by yet another replacement rider, John Cordero, failed to fire, having kept pace with pointrunner Tabako for most of the distance. Don Enrico, who won the second leg and was deemed to be a shoo-in for this race, had to contend with a longer distance than he is used to, and more significantly, with a change of rider. His regular jockey, John Alvin Guce, is said to be still recuperating from a bout with dengue fever, hence the need to substitute Cordero. It has been observed that Don Enrico does not perform well with other jockeys.
Shining Fame’s victory is a vindication of the colt’s ambition to figure among the greatest 3YO this year. He amply silenced his detractors by staging a victory over 2,050 meters of mud, in the rain, coming from the tail of the field, and in poor visibility.
Owner Antonio “Tony” V. Tan Jr. was ecstatic over his colt’s win. “Finally, it’s our turn,” he said. He also praised the efforts of his rider and trainer, Ruben S. Tupas.
Also impressive was second-placer Hieroglyphics’ performance. Winner of the Hopeful 2 stakes, the gray runner ran in last for most of the race, with a last ditch rally at the far turn bringing him only four lengths away from the win. Owner Raymund B. Puyat was proud of his horse’s accomplishment. “We were just lucky, I guess,” he said, adding, “I”m expecting more from him as he gets older, that’s what his pedigree indicates. I hope he continues to improve.”
Hieroglyphics was sired by Alphabet Soup out of Tejano Eyes.
Meanwhile, in the third Philracom Hopeful stakes held the same day, also for 3YO, Anonymous cruised to an easy win over a reduced field that saw strong contenders Bohemian Dave and Sauvignon scratched.