HORSEMAN’S DIGEST March-April 2008, by Jenny Alcasid
Es Twenty Six Wins Richest Race in 2007
WHO would have thought it back then, when she was a newborn filly bereft of her mother and her survival uncertain, that she would one day be a champion?
Es Twenty Six, the orphan foal who was raised on infant’s formula, has grown up to be one of the most bankable fillies in the land after winning last season’s richest race – the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) Grand Presidential Derby.
Set last December 23 at the Manila Jockey Club’s (MJC) San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP), the Derby had a gargantuan total prize pot of P6 million pesos, which drew eleven highly-bred runners to compete over 2,000 meters.
When the gates sprung open, the massive gray form of sprinter Macedonian took the lead, racing 3-1/2 lengths ahead of EJ’s Magic, while in third was Es Twenty Six, ridden by Jesse B. Guce. As they passed the MJC Turf Club for the first time, Es Twenty Six edged up to take second as Pearl Buck crept up to third. Legendary and Treasured Ack rolled along behind them.
In the backstretch, Macedonian began to lose steam, allowing Es Twenty Six to race point. Treasured Ack managed to position herself in second, with Golden Sutter in third. A mere length separated the first three combatants, but at the far turn, Es Twenty Six had stretched her lead by half-a-length more, as Treasured Ack struggled to maintain her place behind the frontrunner even as Henry D’Eighth began moving up to take third. Legendary, seeking to be in contention, was in fourth.
As the field chased each other around the last curve, Es Twenty Six, the outstanding favorite, put 3-1/2 lengths between herself and Legendary, as Henry D’Eighth stayed in third and Treasured Ack dropped back to fourth. Clockers timed the race at 2:07 (24′-23-27-25-27′).
Jockey Jesse B. Guce and Es Twenty Six after winning the Philracom Grand Presidential Derby last 23 Dec 2007 at San Lazaro Leisure Park.
At the wire, it was Es Twenty Six who took home the hefty first prize purse of P3.6 million, making owner Nery Sunga, trainer Dave de la Cruz, and jockey Jesse B. Guce’s Christmas very special indeed.
Second placer Legendary’s connections went home smiling with P1.350 million, more than most first-place prizes for other stakes races. Henry D’Eighth laughed all the way to the bank with third prize of P750,000, while Treasured Ack was content with the generous P300,00 for fourth.
Also-rans were (in order) coupled entries Golden Sutter and Defiant, Pound for Pound, Pearl Buck, EJ’s Magic, Macedonian, and Storm Signal.
This windfall boosted Es Twenty Six’s earnings for 2007 to P7.17 million, with an enviable record of 5-2-0-0 out of only nine season starts. That’s more than P1.5 million ahead of champion juvenile Indelible Ink, second in the rankings with P5.65 million in income last season for twelve starts (eleven wins and a third place). For Es Twenty Six, it was less work, more pay.
Sired by the prolific and sturdy Principality out of Play By Ear, Es Twenty Six has an impressive resume. Winner of the 3rd leg of the 2007 Triple Crown, she also won the MARHO Breeders’ Cup 3YO Fillies race and came in a strong second to Treasured Ack in the Philracom Lakambini Stakes.
In light of her accomplishments and record, the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association (PSA) gave Es Twenty Six Horse of the Year honors at its awards night held February 16 at the the SM Mall of Asia.
Consequently, she is poised to capture more victories as she enters the 2008 season as a more mature and experienced four-year-old. ***