HD#4 Preview: Imported Stakes 3, 4

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<HORSEMAN’S DIGEST 4>

RACES IN REVIEW

Philracom Imported Stakes Series 3 and 4

The Imported Stakes series gives imported runners the chance to shine and win hefty prizes. Despite its odd nomenclature, the eligibility rules make it also open to local-bred runners, who certainly put up a good fight against their foreign-born opponents.

Imported Stakes 3, 1750 meters, June 10, San Lazaro Leisure Park

Veteran champion Wild Orchid held off the challenge of fellow Australian imports to win this leg of the series and prove that her winning form has returned. She convincingly showed her supremacy over Armidale, Fairy Queen, Golden Link, Hear Me (coupled entry of Wild Orchid), La Tienne, Leave No Doubt, Serious Susie, and Stop Talking, the winner of the second leg of the Imported Stakes series. The sole USA import was Irene’s Fantasy, while Cool Town, the lone local-bred, had won a minor stakes race, the phf.com.ph-Real Top Feeds Cup, last April 15 also at SLLP,

All 11 runners faced a tough 1750-meter run. But Wild Orchid was a shoo-in, effortlessly cruising to a three-length win under the guidance of JB Hernandez.

Wild Orchid, returning to stakes campaigning after a lay-off, clocked 1:49 for the 1750-meter journey with quarters of 10-23-25-24’-26’. (The record stands at 1:48, set by her stablemate Real Spicy).

She holds several track records, setting the one for 1400 meters just last May 27 at SLLP by clocking 1:25 flat in her comeback race in the class-division with quarters of 12-24-23’-25’, erasing the record made by Heroics in August 2005.

Wild Orchid also owns the record for 1500 meters with 1:30.8, set at SLLP in October 2005, and for 2000 meters with 2:04.4, posted also at SLLP in December 2005 at the Philracom Classic Open (the latter record tied with Stowaway Lass who clocked the same time last November 2005 in the Speaker Jose de Venecia Cup also at SLLP).

Imported Stakes 4 (Championship), 1800 meters, July 15, Santa Ana Park

This championship leg had a stellar cast composed of imports Glory and Honour, Irene’s Fantasy, Wild Orchid, Fairy Queen, Stop Talking, La Tienne, and Armidale, as well as locals Hear Me and Empire King.

Previous leg winner Wild Orchid, along with coupled entry Hear Me, was sent off as the outstanding favorite, with fans fully expecting the former to repeat her winning ways.

When the gates flung open, Hear Me dove to the lead, with Wild Orchid pacing her a length behind. Then they both hung back and let Glory and Honour set the pace, while Wild Orchid and Irene’s Fantasy settled in just behind.

At the far turn, Wild Orchid was racing in front, two lengths ahead of Empire King, who was just one in front of Irene’s Fantasy, who started moving up under the guidance of jockey Antonio B. Alcasid Jr. The pair took the lead at the home turn, and went on to win by one, posting a surprise win as the far third choice.

Irene’s Fantasy is owned by Ruben Laureano and trained by Dave de la Cruz. Total time for the race was 1:52, with quarters of 12-24-24’-24’-27. This time ties with the track record previously set by Real Spicy at the 12 March 2006 Philracom Commissioners’ Cup, also held at Santa Ana Park.***

Photo: Jockey Jonathan B. Hernandez gets aboard Wild Orchid for the Imported Stakes 3 at SLLP, 10 June 2007.

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