The Hoarse Whisperer
by Jenny Ortuoste
for 16 May 2007, Wednesday, BusinessWorld
Suggested Heading: Tabako smokes out rivals
Like a thick dark plume of smoke, Tabako streaked past the failing frontrunners to win the 900-meter Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) 2-Year-Olds Stakes I title last May 13 at San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP).
Sent off as the second favorite along with stablemate and coupled entry Capretiosa, Tabako had clocked 1:03 for his 900-meter novato race, way off the times posted by others in the field. The favorite, Black Mamba, did 0.56; Capretiosa and Unopposed, 0.57; Treasure Hunter and Kate’s Princess, 0.57.5; and Euromax, 1:01.5.
Black Mamba had won both his novato and a maiden race, and Capretiosa and Euromax came off spectacular wins (the latter with a longshot victory last April 15, PHF Day, at SLLP).
But when the race actually ran, only the coupled entries and Euromax were really in contention, with Capretiosa taking the lead for most of the race. Tabako rallied from third position and overcame his stablemate 30 meters from the wire to win by 3/4 length, posting a swift 0.53.5 – a huge improvement over his previous time and not too far off the national record of 0.51.8 set by sprintmeister Ariba King in 2004.
Tabako (Mr. Sutter-Liberty at Last) and Capretiosa (Account of Grace- Tumataginting) were bred by their owner Hermie Esguerra at his Herma Farms & Stud, a showcase of a breeding operation of global standards. Black Mamba (Principality-Spicy Tale) is also a Herma-bred, half-brother to the famed Real Spicy (Real Quiet-Spicy Tale).
While local breeders such as Herma Stud, Royal Maverick Ranch of Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr., Paris Match Farm of Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, Mesa Stud of Jose “Bebo” Quiros, and others stepping up production, buyers are still looking to importation to meet the high demand for quality racehorses and bloodstock.
Come May 17, a party of around 18 horsemen and Philracom officials will jet off to Maryland to watch the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19. Their trip, supported by the US Deparment of Agriculture (USDA), also has on the agenda a visit to a horse auction where the horseowners in the party hope to acquire desired lineages for their stables.
Due to economic considerations, most importation has been done from Australia and New Zealand, where the horses and shipping costs are cheaper. Also, the climate in those countries approximate that of the Philippines.
However, it has been noted that runners with American pedigrees do exceptionally well, so when a race horse enthusiast has the budget, off he goes to the sales in Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky and elsewhere. The USDA, noticing this trend, has offered free accommodations and waived entrance fees to the Preakness Stakes as incentives for those who signed up for the trip.
Speaking of the Preakness, a very strong contender to cop this second jewel of the US Triple Crown is Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. Also expected to be in the running are second placer Hard Spun, who came in second, and third placer Curlin.
Racing fans shouldn’t miss the first leg of our own Triple Crown series, the Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr. Cup, to run May 20 at Santa Ana Park along with the Hopeful Stakes. Both races are sponsored by Philracom. The same day sees Real Spicy and Empire King in a rematch in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s First Gentleman’s Silver Cup. ***
Photo: Louie D. Balboa aboard Tabako during the parade of the 2007 Philracom 2-Year-Old Stakes at SLLP last May 13.