Friday, May 11′s races at San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP) saw mostly favorites emerge victorious in the nine races on the card.
What was of import to most racing fans was Don Paolo’s banderang tapos win in Race 2, a Manila Jockey Club Special.
Straight out of the gate, he set the pace for the 1525-meter battle and won by four lengths over second favorite Sweet Xarah, clocking 1:35′. Don Paolo will be seeing action again in the May 20 PCSO First Gentleman’s Silver Cup, and this served as a tuneup. He’s certainly looking in top condition, and luck is on his side as his home Mendoza Stable has been fielding a slew of winners at SLLP the past several raceweeks.
Horseowner and trainer Rudy Mendoza is modest about their recent successes. “Chamba lang, Jen,” he says, and smiles beatifically.
Virgin Empress was impressive in Race 3, in this, just her second race after novato. Coming from behind to take the win, Jockey Oyet Alcasid vindicated owner Sonny Arevalo’s faith in him as the “rider na mas gamay si Virgin Empress.”
The 3-year-old bay filly came in only third to All That Jazz and Flavorofthemonth in April 29′s PCSO Open Maiden Race with Jockey Dominador H. Borbe Jr., thus the return to Alcasid who handled her impressively in her novato run.
Out of action the previous three weeks due to an back injury suffered when he fell off Odyssey Blue in a class-division run, Alcasid is again showing off the winning style that has firmly entrenched him in the ranks of Class-A riders.
In Friday’s other races:
* The favorite Sixela dominated the field of 8 in Race 5, with third pick Tiger Boyie showing mettle by coming in a close second. Pay To Play (second choice) was considered to be a strong contender, but never really figured in the fight. Before the race ran, her bridle came off in the gate, causing a slight delay. (Time and distance: 1:01′, 1000 m)
* Third choice Paramount came from cuarto puesto in the backstretch to win by two in MJC Special Race 6, posting an impressive 1:36′ for the 1525-meter journey, an improvement of 3-1/2 seconds off her converted time.
* Another third pick, Constant Queen, won wire-to-wire by four in Race 8. Handled by Jockey DH Borbe Jr, she timed 1:30′ for 1400 meters.
* AP Tizzy broke through the gate riderless just before the start of Race 9 and circled the track thrice before she was caught. Top pick Jaded Dancer did not even place; it was second choice Barawanawest’s time to shine, winning by half-a-length over longshot Monalisa.
Photo: Virgin Empress’s owner Dante “Sonny” Arevalo, at the Klub Don Juan Derby event at SLLP, 2006.