THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 15 October 2014, Wednesday
Pugad Lawin soars in PCSO Anniversary Race
In the absence of heavyweight Hagdang Bato, Antonio Tan’s veteran campaigner Pugad Lawin easily won the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office last Oct. 12 at the Metro Turf racecourse, Malvar, Batangas.
The defending champion of the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup race won by ten lengths over Honorato Neri’s Sky Dragon, who came in second. Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos’s El Libertador placed third and Tan’s Furniture King fourth and last.
Pugad Lawin (Refuse to Bend x Unstoppable Lady) was ridden by Patricio Dilema instead of Jesse Guce who had fallen in a previous race. The clock stopped at 1:34 (24.2-21.8-22.6-25.4) for the mile race.
It looks like Pugad Lawin is in great condition nowadays, considering that he had the disadvantage of an additional half-kilo handicap weight compared to the others.
The win was worth P800,000 and fourth place P150,000 for Tan.
The Abalos-owned Hagdang Bato was withdrawn after suffering a quarter crack that bled twice prior to the event. Racing fans were disappointed; they’d been expecting a grudge match between Hagdang Bato and his nemesis Pugad Lawin.
Abalos, who had been training Hagdang Bato at Metro Turf, said the condition of the track there might have aggravated the horse’s injury. Jockeys and other horseowners have also drawn attention many times to the hardness of the track, which is alleged to have less than the optimal thickness of surface cushioning of sand.
In fact, because the times posted at Metro Turf are inordinately fast, the Philippine Racing Commission does not recognize these for official Philippines track record purposes.
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Despite Hagdang Bato being sidelined from a major race, Abalos still had reasons to smile last Sunday after his 3YO filly Malaya bested four others to win the Philracom Sampaguita Stakes race also at Metro Turf.
Malaya (Sky Mesa x Dream Bride), sent off as the favorite, ran off the pace guided by Jonathan Hernandez. The tandem rallied at the far turn to win by four lengths over Cat’s Diamond and earn P900,000.
Queen Quaker placed third, Spring Collection fourth, and Morning Time last. The time for the 1,800-meter race was 1:48.8 (13.2-22.8-23.4-23-26.4).