The Hoarse Whisperer
by Jenny Ortuoste
For 20 April 2007, Friday, BusinessWorld
The P800,000 Imported Stakes second leg sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) kicks off on Sunday at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park.
For the mile (1600 meter) race, P480,000 awaits the winner, while second to fourth placers receive P180,000, P100,000, and P40,000 respectively.
Despite its odd nomenclature, the race is open to locals as well, so that local-bred Empire King and arch-rival island-born Real Spicy have thrown their gauntlets down against importeds Fairy Queen, Put Your Foot Down, Serious Susie, and Stop Talking.
Serious Susie showed style in a class-division race last week at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park, while Empire King and Fairy Queen, both owned by the quiet and unassuming horseman David C. Lee, came in first and second in last April 14’s phf-.com.ph-sponsored Zygy*Zygy Friendship Race.
A glance at the lineup will tell any true-blue karerista that it’s going to be a no-brainer two-horse race between veteran campaigners and multiple-stakes winners Real Spicy and Empire King. The both of them should snag both first and second prizes, the rest perhaps joining in just hoping to cop the rest of the booty in this rich race and earn experience points by going up against the very best.
The question is, who will win? Real Spicy, or Empire King? Both have earnings of over P3 million each, set track records at various times, and notched countless stakes wins.
Real Spicy (entry of number one-ranked horseowner and Herma Farms and Stud proprietor Hermie S. Esguerra) is hailed by most to be the best racehorse in the Philippines at present. The son of American champion Real Quiet, his pedigree is faultless and his record impressive.
However, his record is not unblemished, with Empire King, 2004 Presidential Gold Cup winner, acting as the perennial thorn in his side.
Real Spicy was recently was halted in a twelve-run winning streak by arch-nemesis Empire King in the Philracom Commissioner’s Cup last March 18 at SLLP. Real Spicy’s jockey at the time, Jesse B. Guce, was faulted for not whipping and pushing his horse hard enough coming down the stretch. Louie D. Balboa’s services have been obtained for this race.
Track pundits are unanimous in calling this a duel between the two best thoroughbreds in the land, with Real Spicy emerging as the hands-down top choice:
Ira Herrera, racecaller, sportscaster, and race analyst: First pick, Real Spicy – he runs better with Louie Balboa. Second pick, Empire King – he runs better at Sta. Ana Park.
Rolando “Bitoy” Lansangan, Philracom Handicapping Division Chief: Real Spicy! He just had the wrong handling by his jockey the last time out.
Oscar Dizon, tipster and race analyst: Real Spicy. His jockey just used wrong racing tactics last time. Real Spicy is always in top shape and this will be his sweet revenge. His workouts in the past weeks show that he is prepared to perform at his best.
Bogart Lapada, tipster and race analyst: For me, I’m still going with Real Spicy. I feel he was not pushed enough in his last race when he lost to Empire King.
Monty Martinez, horseowner and race analyst: I’m for our national champ, Real Spicy. I think he will perform much better this time. He will be coming from off the pace and be stalking sprinter Put Your Foot Down. The closest threat has to be the coupled entries Empire King and Fairy Queen who are both in tip-top condition. ***
Photo shows Real Spicy in a race last year at SLLP.