THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 31 December 2014, Wednesday
Year-end racing round-up
The year 2014 was in general a good one for racing, one that saw collaborations and cooperation bring about exciting events and satisfactory outcomes for both fans and industry insiders.
Perhaps the biggest event of the year was the 6th Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Racing Festival held at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park.
The festival founders, Manila Rep. Amado S. Bagatsing and lawyer Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr., convinced local-bred Hagdang Bato’s owner, Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos, and import Crucis’s owner, Marlon Cunanan, to give in to the clamor of racing fans for a race featuring the two track icons.
The eager cooperation of Abalos and Cunanan paved the way for the staging the RDB Challenge to Champions presented by Resorts World Manila last August.
This was no small feat on the part of the organizers, because it is seldom that local and imports are raced against each other.
Hagdang Bato won that one, but the real winner was the racing industry. Sales that day reached P43.4 million, the highest at SLLP this year, showing that it giving the fans what they really want results in big gains for the sport.
The year also saw the emergence of Kid Molave as a force to be reckoned with. The 3YO owned by Emmanuel A. Santos swept all three legs of the Philippine Racing Commission Triple Crown series. He was also the valedictorian of his juvenile batch and won the 2013 Philracom Juvenile (2YO) Championship.
The industry galloped through a rough patch in November when jockeys refused to ride for several race meetings at Metro Manila Turf Club, following a severe accident suffered there by rider LT Cuadra Jr.
After the New Philippine Jockeys Association led by veteran jockey Gilbert Francisco reiterated their request to MMTC management for more cushioning sand on the track, MMTC performed the requested repair and races resumed, showing clearly the need for constant dialogue and cooperation between all sectors to promote the smooth operations of the sport.
Without a doubt the best-performing racehorse of the year was Hagdang Bato. The champion of the Abalos Stable took the chance to bounce back from previous losses by pulverizing his opponents in two major races late in the year.
Having suffered a bad quarter crack in the third quarter of 2014, Hagdang Bato amazingly regained his form to cruise to victory in both the Nov. 30 Philracom Amb. Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr. Cup and in the Dec. 21 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup, both held at SLLP.
On this New Year’s Eve, as we write the last page in the 2014 racing annals, we also turn our faces to the future, which always holds hope for bigger, brighter, and better things.
My sincere wish for you and your families is for peace, joy, and abundance to gallop their way into your lives, and stay. Happy New Year! * * *