HD#4 Preview: Es Twenty Six Wins 3rd leg Triple Crown

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<HORSEMAN’S DIGEST 4>

RACES IN REVIEW

Philracom 2007 Horseman’s Cup (in honor of the late Philracom chairman Benedicto K. Katigbak)

3rd leg Triple Crown championship, July 22, San Lazaro Leisure Park, 2000 meters

With the withdrawal from this race of supercolt Ibarra, winner of the first two legs, the 3rd leg of this premiere series for local-bred three-year-olds was flung wide open to all comers.

The most challenging episode, its longer distance was deemed to favor stayers. But evolving changes in the entries’ racing style and the breaks of the game rendered premonition useless, speculation moot, and analysis inconclusive, making it “anybody’s race”.

The eyes of many were focused on filly Es Twenty Six, who came in second to Ibarra in the second leg of the Triple Crown at San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP).

Others expected to perform well were Ididitmyway (champion of the June 24 Hopeful Stakes 3), Superamerica (who came in second to Ididitmyway in that race), Afternoon Delight (who won the Philracom Colts Stakes last April 15 at SLLP), and Golden Sutter (consistent placer in stakes races).

Also included in this ultimate leg were El Terrible (who came off three consecutive wins), Henry D’Eighth (three wins, a second, and a third in his past five outings), Iron Tower, and Treasured Ack, all quality runners who were expected to act as “wild cards”.

When the gates flew back, speedster Afternoon Delight took the lead, hounded by fillies Es Twenty Six and Treasured Ack, with El Terrible also trying to maintain his momentum. Treasured Ack dropped from the line of frontrunners soon after, leaving three to lead the pack – Afternoon Delight by one ahead of Es Twenty Six, who was two in front of El Terrible.

At the backstretch, the entries started to make their move. Es Twenty Six snatched the lead by the far turn and never looked back from there, as she lengthened her lead under the strong urging of jockey Dominador H. Borbe Jr.

At the wire, it was Es Twenty Six by four, followed by Golden Sutter, Henry D’Eighth, and Ididitmyway.

The awarding ceremony was joyous and noisy, as trainer Dave de la Cruz’s friends and family surged around the awarding area to add their applause to the clamor that greeted the winning connections of this favored filly.

Owner Nery Sunga was represented by his brother Jerry Sunga. They received the top purse of P1.8 million. The breeder of Es Twenty Six, Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr. (also the breeder of Legendary, who won the Hopeful Stakes 3 earlier that same day), was present as well, and took home the breeder’s prize of P150,000.

Second place was worth P675,000, third place, P375,000, and fourth P150,000.

Ibarra, winner of the first two legs, was fully expected to take this one and sweep the series. However, just a couple of weeks before this race, he was diagnosed with a chip bone injury. His owner, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, opted to withdraw him and had Ibarra immediately undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip the size of a corn kernel from his right knee. ***

Click on this link to Youtube to watch this race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iP3UJUh4L2Q (Video courtesy of WCPI; edited and posted by MJC’s Roel Taripe)

Photo: Trophies for the 3rd legs of both the Triple Crown and Hopeful Stakes series are on display at the awarding area of SLLP. (Roel Taripe, 22 July 2007)

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