THW: PCSO Presidential Gold Cup on Sunday

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 17 December 2014, Wednesday

PCSO Presidential Gold Cup on Sunday

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office presents with pride the 42nd running of the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup race on Sunday, Dec. 21, at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

The sport’s most prestigious race is held each December in honor of the incumbent president, and features the season’s accomplished local-bred Thoroughbreds.

This year’s Gold Cup is considered a rematch between archrivals Hagdang Bato and Pugad Lawin. The former was the defending champion in the 2013 edition, but lost when he made a bad jumpout after some trouble with his stall gate. Pugad Lawin won that round decisively.

In 2014, they met again in the June 1 PCSO Silver Cup. Pugad Lawin ran off the pace to Hagdang Bato, who looked in good condition at the start but inexplicably lost steam in the final stages, allowing Pugad Lawin to rally and win by four lengths.

Pugad Lawin lost the Feb. 23 PCSO Freedom Cup to Hari ng Yambo, but redeemed himself in the Oct. 12 PCSO Anniversary race, for which Hagdang Bato was declared but withdrawn after suffering a quarter crack.

Hagdang Bato recovered and crushed the opposition in the Nov. 30 Philracom Amb. Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr. Cup, winning by many lengths.

As the tandem meet once again in the biggest race of the year, they face formidable foes – Mr. Bond, El Libertador, My Champ, and Kaiserslautern, whose jockeys will give no quarter in their quest for the P4 million top prize (P3 million from PCSO and P1 million from the Philippine Racing Commission).

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been posting photos of past PCSO Gold Cup winners on my Facebook racing page, Gogirl Racing. Please check it out and learn more Gold Cup trivia and other racing news. The comments on the posts made by racing fans are informative and interesting.

On Sunday morning, I’ll be posting on that page a link to this year’s PCSO Gold Cup souvenir program.

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The last PCSO Special Maiden Race of the year, held Dec. 13 at Metro Turf racecourse in Malvar, Batangas, was won by a longshot who staged a late rally to grab victory.

In the field of eight entries, trial race winner Song of Songs was launched as the favorite, and it led for most of the race. In a surprising twist, far third choice Thunder Maxx, who was running in third, put on a burst of speed to win by 1.5 lengths over Song of Songs.

Valenzuela came in third, Princess Jem fourth. The time for the 1,400 meter race was 1:24.6 (12.6-22.4-23-26.6).

Thunder Maxx, a 2YO bay colt by Cat Brulay out of Gold Bug, was bred by Emmanuel A. Santos, owner of Jade Bros. Farm, who earned the P50,000 breeder’s purse.

Present at the awarding ceremony were the winning owner Manuel de Asis, trainer Donato Sordan, and jockey Christopher Garganta, and, from PCSO, Vice-Chairman and General Manager Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, Committee on Races Chairman Jose T. Malang, Vice-Chairmen Carlos Castillo and Desoto Tupaz, as well as other committee members and PCSO personnel.   * * * 

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