The Hoarse Whisperer
by Jenny Ortuoste
for 11 May 2007, Friday, BusinessWorld
Suggested Heading: Juveniles on Parade
Local thoroughbred horse breeding has made big strides since its infancy in the 1970s. Karera oldtimers can recall how races used to be run using native ponies that barely came up to a jockey’s height. A fairly long-legged jockey astride one of those nativos could sometimes drag his feet along the dirt of the track.
With the importation of runners, broodmares, and stallions from Australia, New Zealand, and the US, and the slow but committed growth in numbers of a population of local-bred horses, the quality of racing has improved and become more exciting. Thoroughbreds stand taller than a jockey and track times are inching closer to world standards, being an average of two seconds off rather than the seven seconds or more of thirty years ago.
Recent juvenile races are eagerly awaited by aficionados as they assess the mettle of local-breds, while their breeders keenly scrutinize the performances of their ranches’ produce to determine if they were correct in their breeding decisions. Did they come up with the optimal nicking of their mares to the stallions? Did they take into account factors such as the tail-female line and sire lines?
Once such test of juvenile quality is coming up on Sunday, May 13, at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP), at the running of the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) Two-Year-Old Stakes. Eight high-pedigreed colts and fillies will stretch their legs in a boisterous sprint race over 900 meters, just the right distance to give them a good gallop without being too long that may lead to injuries.
Herminio Esguerra’s Herma Farms and Stud will field Black Mamba, Capretiosa, and Tabako. From the pioneering Mesa Stud Farm of Jose “Bebo” Quiros comes Treasure Hunter, while Jun Paman launches the career of Unopposed. Mario Tan’s Kate Princess and premier breeder Sandy Javier’s Euromax will also see action. These breeders are anxiously awaiting the outcome of this race, as are the owners and connections of these promising young equine athletes.
Meanwhile, after watching the glorious come-from-behind victory of Street Sense in the 133rd Kentucky Derby last May 5, the first leg of the US Triple Crown, the local racing world is looking forward to the first leg of our own version of this championship series.
The mile-long Philracom-sponsored Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr. Cup will be run at Santa Park on May 20, and features a cast of the best three-year-olds including Afternoon Delight and Pacman (coupled entries), the swift Ibarra, Storm Hall, Superamerica, brave filly Treasured Ack, Golden Sutter, Gypsy Grey, record holder Lord Boni, Maglev, One Man’s Soul, the comebacking Es Twenty Six, and Cats on Fire.
May 20 will also feature another premier race, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) First Gentleman’s Silver Cup. It is a rematch between arch-rivals Empire King and Real Spicy over a grueling 2050 meters.
This early, railbirds are seeing this as a chance for Real Spicy to wreak vengeance on Empire King who trounced him in March 18’s Philracom Commissioners’ Cup at SLLP. Real Spicy holds the record for the 2050 (2:09, set twice at Santa Ana Park in Dec 17 and 31, 2006), and has proven himself as adept over long distances.
However, it is guaranteed that Empire King will give him no quarter, nor will their other opponents – stakes winners Don Paolo, Don Exequiel, Native Land, and lone filly Jet Sutter. ***
Photo shows Cong. Benhur Abalos’s Ibarra, who last week won a class-division race in Santa Ana Park and set a track (not national) record.