THE HOARSE WHISPERER
by Jenny Ortuoste for BusinessWorld
Friday, 29 June 2007
Suggested heading: MARHO 33rd Founders’ Cup on Sunday
Once again showing the way to the rest of the industry, the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners (MARHO) stages its eponymous 33rd MARHO Founders’ Cup this weekend at Santa Ana Park.
First celebrated as the Pearl Stakes at Santa Ana Park on the MARHO’s 30th anniversary in 2004, this event is a brainchild of former MARHO president Aristeo “Putch” G. Puyat.
The 2007 edition is expected to be an even bigger and better episode of this racing carnival that commemorates the establishment of the MARHO in 1974 and honors its 15 founding fathers – Samuel Sharuff, Asterio Favis, Jose Cojuangco Jr., Federico Moreno, Elias Coscolluela, Pedro Cojuangco, Antonio Araneta, Constante Rubio, Jose Revilla, Angel Castano Sr., Emilio Espinosa Sr., Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., Isidro Rodriguez Sr., Macario Asistio Sr., and Conrado Trinidad.
These dedicated horsemen banded together to address common concerns and find solutions that would be beneficial not only to them but to the industry as a whole.
One of their first efforts as a group was bringing over from other racing countries a professional farrier and large-animal veterinarians to disseminate their knowledge to local industry members.
Soon after, the then-president of MARHO, Amb. Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., and other MARHO stalwarts pushed for the creation of a government agency that would oversee the growing sport of horseracing. Thus was born the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom), created under PD 420 in March 1974.
Other achievements later on, under the leadership of Mr. Puyat and the organization’s chairman Leonardo “Sandy” M. Javier Jr., were the establishment of the MARHO Breeders’ Cup in 1996, now the most prestigious annual event in racing. Upon present president Mayor Benhur Abalos’ assumption of office in 2005, he launched a campaign against illegal bookies in 2006, an effort that continues to this day.
In light of all these contributions and many others that uplift and promote the sport, not only MARHO and its over 200 members but also the entire industry has reason to celebrate this weekend. Saturday, June 30, will showcase 7 trophy races, while Sunday, July 1, will hold 8. All races have hefty prize money, handsome trophies, and fame and glory at stake for the winners. MARHO members get additional bonuses for the victories of their entries.
The main race is the Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. Founders Cup. The 14 other races are named for the other MARHO founding fathers. As of press time, the official entries for these races have not been finalized. ***