THE HOARSE WHISPERER
By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 17 September 2008, Wednesday
Sunday’s Stakes Trio at SLLP
“There’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.”
Take stakes races, for instance. The Philippine Racing Commission has sponsored three for Sunday, September 21, at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite City.
Two of those races continue the Juvenile Championship series, in its second leg, both at 1500 meters. In the Fillies races, racing fans will see an exciting match with first leg winner Security World, who came from behind to defeat favorite speedster French Vanilla to win by half a length; Esguerra Racing’s French Vanilla, bent on wreaking vengeance, aided by coupled entry Nuclear Power, who won her maiden race in impressive style; Love You By Heart and Mind Music, coupled entries of Manny Santos; Bonjour and Doña Leonora, a tandem coming from the Pasion Stable; Loveable Frances, Maimpok, My Tiffanie, Rhea’s Gold, and Teen Titan.
A couple of racehorse trainers, asked for their opinion, picked Doña Leonora and Bonjour, who have speed and can stay. French Vanilla is not to be disregarded, although one of the trainers said she didn’t have a good workout yesterday. Overall, they said that it was a good lineup. “Maraming may panalo diyan,” they said. “Magandang laban iyang Fillies.”
In the Colts, Esguerra Racing’s coupled entries Go Army (first leg winner) and Go Air Force, considered as one number in the betting, are considered virtually indestructible. The trainers said, “Write that down on your ruta“. Sure to give them good battle are High Tower (who came in a far second to Go Army in the first leg), So Real (third), Oh Wacky (fourth), Far Beyond, Elgin and Chairman, and Batangas Baron.
And if two stakes races aren’t enough, there’s a third to spice up the day – the 1600-meter 6th leg of the Imported-Local Challenge, otherwise known as the Sapphire I Stakes.
Signed up for it are imports Drama Belle, Ziraz, Sweet Xarah, Great Emma, Al-Azeem, Blind Date, Frapuubvel, and Lim’s Expensive Toys.
Asked to comment on this lineup, the trainers commented, “Drama Belle has not been performing well lately.” Unfortunately, the winner of the three million peso 2007 Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. Cup has failed to fire this season. One trainer chose Lim’s Expensive Toys. His companion reminded him, “Pare, the race is at SLLP. Humihinto si Lim’s doon.” The other trainer asserted, “Well, then, I’m going with Ziraz and Lim’s Expensive Toys, basta hindi siya hihinto.”
The starting gate at SLLP – “Raaaaaacing!” (Photo by Rhed Sarmiento)
SLLP has other activities lined up for that day, among them a luncheon for the Samahang Plaridel, a group of journalists, some (if not all) of whom are visiting the racetrack for the first time.
This week is a special one for SLLP, if it may be called that, as it is launching its experiment into five-day racing. For the past several years, racing has been scheduled at six days per week (Tuesdays to Sundays), with the two racetracks, SLLP and Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park, alternating raceweeks.
With a recent decline in sales at SLLP, perhaps related to having less betting terminals (300) deployed around the city than PRC’s (340 or so), MJC decided to drop Thursday night racing, which usually features eight races.
The end of this week will show whether this strategy will work better than the seven-day racing scheme they employed earlier this year, which was discontinued after three months after no overall improvement in sales was registered.
More betting machines are expected to arrive in October, addressing bettor complaints of long waits to place wagers and the decrease in the number of MJC-franchised OTBs, another business strategy to reduce overhead costs such as tellers’ salaries and OTB commissions.
Meanwhile, racing goes on, as it has for over 140 years, and Sunday’s three stakes races offer aficionados the best juveniles and imports in the country in action. And that’s a good thing. ***