THW: Philracom’s new slate

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 4 February 2015, Wednesday

Philracom’s new slate

Malacañan Palace recently handed down the list of new members of the Philippine Racing Commission, who will be continuing the agency’s mandate of supervising and regulating the sport of horseracing.

Former horseowner and licensed racehorse trainer Andrew A. Sanchez has been appointed chairman. This will be his second time such term, having served also as chairman from June 2001 to July 2002.

Re-appointed as members are lawyer Victor V. Tantoco, representing the trainers’ sector, and former jockey Lyndon Noel B. Guce, representing jockeys.

Newly appointed are Bienvenido C. Niles Jr. as member, and lawyers Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr. representing horseowners and Wilfred Jefferson A. de Ungria and Jose P. Gutierrez Santillan Jr. as a members.

The notice from the Palace was dated January 23 of this year and sets a four-year term for the commissioners. The new Commission’s first meeting at the Philracom office will be on Feb. 9.

During Sanchez’s first stint as chairman, he instituted key policy changes that revitalized the industry, resulting in an impressive 18.25 percent growth in industry sales from January to June 2002. Direct taxes to the national government for that same period experienced 18.72 percent growth compared to the same period the previous year.

Sanchez also spearheaded key stakeholder programs such as career enhancement seminars conducted by foreign racing and equine experts for racing stewards, farriers, starting gate helpers, and stable hands.

He also held an industry-wide symposium on the equine disease surra then plaguing the racehorse population, linked with government entities Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes office for the sponsorship of racing events, and oversaw the publication of the revised “Blue Book” or handbook of racing rules and regulations, the “Bible” of the industry.

An informal poll I took recently of racing insiders remember Sanchez as being “very fair,” rendering “balanced decisions” that took into account the welfare of all stakeholders.

My warm congratulations to the newly-appointed Commissioners of Philracom.

We also acknowledge the efforts of outgoing commissioners Angel L. Castaño Jr. (chairman), Jesus B. Cantos, and Eduardo B. Jose, along with the late veterinarian Reynaldo Fernando and Franco Loyola.

They had the difficult job, from 2010 to 2014, of wrangling the industry as it entered the three-race-track era and the concomitant scheduling challenges. They also upheld high standards in office administration and maintained the Philracom’s stakes and regular race sponsorship program, among other accomplishments.

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The PCSO Racing Committee invites sports fans to watch its Freedom Cup on Feb. 8 at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.

The declared runners for the mile race are Leonardo Naval’s 4YO filly Cleave Ridge, to be ridden by Pat Dilema carrying 54 kgs.; Herminio S. Esguerra’s 4YO colt Macho Machine(Fernando Raquel Jr., 55), Antonio V. Tan’s 5YO mare Five Star (AB Serios, 55); Mariano Tirona’s 5YO horse Stand In Awe (Jesse Guce, 55.5); and Benhur C. Abalos’s coupled entries 6YO horse Hagdang Bato (Jonathan Hernandez, 56) and 4YO filly Malaya (Kelvin Abobo, 54).

Unless Hagdang Bato is scratched, I’m putting all my worldly goods on him; otherwise, Malaya and Stand In Awe get my vote.

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