It was late afternoon of July 1, Sunday, at Santa Ana Park. Ten top-class thoroughbreds shifted inside the starting gate, some impatiently, the others calmly. Their riders curled their fingers around the reins, all alert and waiting for the gates to spring open. At the clang of the bell and the starter’s hoarse cry, they were off in the MARHO Chairman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. Cup!
In the betting, practically all the runners were selling, though the first pick was veteran La Tienne. Fairy Queen was second choice, while Manhattan was the third favorite. Seven out of the ten entries were imports from Australia, the rest local-breds.
To everyone’s surprise, longshot Daijobo’s Success gunned for the lead right away and settled there – for the entire mile race – posting a wire-to-wire victory with splits of 25-24’-24-25 for a total time of 1:38.6. This time ties with the record set by Ever Mine Now in the 3rd William Inglis – Australia Cup last 30 July 2006 also at Santa Ana Park.
Daijobo’s Success’s owner, Manila Congressman Amado Bagatsing, was elated over the spectacular win of his workhorse mare. “Natsambahan sila,” he remarked. “Di nila hinabol.” Modest words from a humble man, but anyone who saw the race can attest that Daijobo’s Success was in top condition, won easily, and even pulled away from eventual second placer La Tienne in the final 25 meters.
Congratulations to the owner, Cong. Bagatsing, jockey Jonathan B. Hernandez, and trainer Dave de la Cruz. They took home trophies and the first prize of P300,000.
La Tienne settled for the bridemaid’s purse of P112,500. Manhattan placed third and received P62,500, while fourth placer Armidale took P25,000.
The race was sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission and was the main event for the weekend’s 33rd MARHO (Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners) Founders’ Cup racing festival.
The Win bet paid P86 for longshot Daijobo’s Success. The 2nd Winner-Take-All, which began with this race, grossed P2.61 million and sank to P98,000 ++ right after. Total sales for the day at Santa Ana Park were a robust P38.971 million.***
Photo: Screen shot of the awarding ceremony for the ECJ Cup. (Viva-Prime Channel coverage)