THW: Flying Without Wings

THE HOARSE WHISPERER

By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 27 August 2008, Wednesday

Flying Without Wings

Last Sunday’s (August 24) Peridot I Stakes at San Lazaro Leisure Park was a revelation to horseracing fans who were once more shown proof of the racetrack adage “Anything can happen in each and every race”, when a 7YO racemare beat a field of ten other runners to dominate the 1,750-meter race.

Sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission, the race was also tagged the fourth leg of the Imported-Local Challenge series, and featured a cast of mostly imported horses.

Speedy Art and Soul broke quickly and took the lead, leading by as much as four lengths in the backstretch. In second ran Midnight King, followed by Ziraz, Frapuubvel, Lucky Be Lucky, Hussy, Miss Fantastic, Traditional, Great Emma, Fierce Fighter, and La Tienne.

At the far turn, Art and Soul faded, making way for Midnight King, Ziraz, the fast-stepping Great Emma, and Traditional, who started moving up.

Close to the home turn, Traditional grabbed point position and at the same time La Tienne came into view, racing from dead last to catch up with the field.

Rounding the home curve, La Tienne, under jockey Patricio “Patty” Dilema’s guidance, raced six-wide on the outside and put on even more speed down the stretch, to pass Traditional twenty meters from the wire to win by an impressive 2-1/2 lengths.

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Screenshot of La Tienne passing Traditional around twenty meters from the wire

Traditional settled for second, Great Emma third, and Fierce Fighter rallied from the tail of the field to come home fourth and still in the money.

Splits for the race were 10-22′-24′-26-27′ for a total time of 1:50.8. (The record for the 1,750-meters, 1:48, is jointly held by track icons Real Spicy and Ibarra, both males.)

Not a bad performance by the 7YO racemare, sired by Belong to Me (USA) out of Tierani (AUS), foaled in Australia in 2001, and a multiple-stakes winner here in the Philippines.

La Tienne campaigned for a season or two in Australia, and was imported some years back by horseowner Ramon Balatbat, who also brought in other top performers like Ouzo, Catwalk Pia, and most recently, Drama Belle and her sire Reenact.

The awarding ceremony saw Philracom chairman Atty. Jose Ferdinand Rojas II hand the trophy to Rolly Tan, representative of La Tienne’s current owner, Tierra Sagrada de Maria Farms. Trainer Ray Henson, who was unable to attend, was represented by his nephew trainer Anthony Henson.

Said Chairman Rojas, “This kind of exciting outcome is why Philracom seeks to calendar stakes races that allow all types of horses to participate, from juveniles to veterans, from top-class imports and locals to Group 4 runners. By showcasing the talent our racehorses have to offer, racing fans can be assured of watching interesting matches.”

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Screenshot of the awarding ceremony: (L-R) Front: MJC Racing Manager Jose Ramon C. Magboo, Philracom Commissioner Dr. Eyo Fernando, Chairman Atty. Joy Rojas, Comm. Eduardo C. Domingo Jr. Back: Trainer Anthony Henson representing his uncle Ray Henson, horseowner Rolly Tan representing registered owner Tierra Sagrada de Maria

The Philracom Lakambini Stakes for 3YO local-bred fillies, held on the same day, saw the complete domination by superfilly Indelible Ink of her age and gender group. Owned by Hermie Esguerra, she was ridden by Jonathan Hernandez who did a good job of reining 2007′s hottest juvenile.

By Best of Luck out of Seaquin, island-born Indelible Ink burnt up the track with a time of 1:51 for the 1,750 meter journey. Her record now stands at 16 wins out of 20 starts. Champion of Show came in second while Indelible Ink’s stablemate Anonymous placed third.

Comparing the two performances, La Tienne’s is a bit more impressive in that she did a better time – just a fraction of a second, to be sure, but still better – than the time clocked by the much younger Indelible Ink and the other fillies who ran in the Lakambini. With gender not being an issue, La Tienne, being an older horse, has proved her value as a runner, remaining sound and speedy, and, just like wine, improving as she ages.

The sight of all these talented horses racing around the track brings to mind this old Bedouin legend: “And Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it, and created the horse. He said to this magnificent creature, ‘I have made thee as no other…thou shalt fly without wings, o horse.’”

See horses fly without wings in the Philracom Peridot II Stakes mile (fifth leg of the Imported-Local Challenge series) on Sunday, August 31, at Santa Ana Park. ***

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