THW: Hagdang Bato is Gintong Lahi Horse of the Year

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 18 February 2015, Wednesday

Hagdang Bato is Gintong Lahi Horse of the Year 

The rising star of Philippine Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding is Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, whose team reaped major awards at the 17th Philippine Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders (Philtobo) Gintong Lahi Awards (GLA) held last Sunday (Feb. 15).

Another big winner at the GLA was longtime horseowner Joseph Y. Dyhengco.

The awarding ceremony, which recognized 2014’s top performers, was held at at the Metro Turf racecourse in Malvar, Batangas.

Abalos was named breeder of the year and horseowner of the year. His champion Hagdang Bato, which won 2014’s Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) Amb. Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr. Cup (Nov. 30) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Presidential Gold Cup (Dec. 21), was crowned horse of the year.

Abalos’s team members also harvested awards – Ruben S. Tupas for trainer of the year, and regular rider Jonathan B. Hernandez for jockey of the year.

Malaya, Abalos’s 3YO filly that won the Feb. 8 PCSO Freedom Cup this year, received the GLA for champion 3YO filly.  Fire Down Under, Hagdang Bato’s dam also owned by Abalos, was named broodmare of the year in a tie with Dyhengco’s My Gal’s Gold, dam of Driven and other up-and-coming performers.

Abalos thanked Philtobo for the awards and said that the GLA “gives encouragement to all the participants, from the owner to the trainer, jockey, and groom.”

Dyhengco’s Hook and Ladder won the award for leading freshman sire for 2014, and its progenies Sky Hook and Hook Shot, which he also owns, won for champion 2YO colt and 2YO filly respectively.

The stallion of the year is Herminio Esguerra’s Quaker Ridge, sire of Hagdang Bato and other current runners.

Emmanuel Santos’s Kid Molave, that slammed all three legs of the Philracom Triple Crown series last year, won for champion 3YO colt.

The champion sprinter was Antonio Tan’s Pugad Lawin, a past winner of the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup, and the champion import was Henedino Gianan’s Silver Sword.

The top five horseowners of the year were also recognized – Abalos, Dyhengco, Santos, SC Stockfarm, Inc., and Tan, in that order.

The GLA is the industry’s only recognition program. Awards are given according to a points-based system (points are awarded for races won and placed).

Among those present at the GLA ceremony were outgoing Philtobo President and now Philracom Commissioner Bienvenido C. Niles Jr., Philtobo Chairman Antonio Lagdameo, and PCSO Vice-Chairman and General Manager lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II.

Also there were newly-appointed Philracom Chairman Andrew A. Sanchez and

commissioners lawyers Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr., Victor V. Tantoco, Wilfredo de Ungria, and Jose Santillan, Jr., and Lyndon Guce, who were introduced to the assembled industry members and guests.                                                            * * * * *

Strong Champion lived up to her name by winning the first leg of the Philippine Racing Commission Import/Local Challenge stakes series also last Sunday at Metro Turf.

The 6YO racemare from Australia came in half a length ahead of countrymate Divine Zazu. Macho Machine, a local-bred, placed third and Star Belle fourth, with Spinning Light last.

The total time for the 1,400-meter race was 1:23.2 (13-22.4-22.6-25.2).

Owned by Divina Dy, Strong Champion (Stromberg Carlson x Mine Counter) was ridden by veteran jockey Jesse B. Guce and is trained by Rudy Mendoza.  * * *

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