A very far second choice at P37,000 was the #2 coupled tandem of Sexy Eyes-Defiant; third pick at P25,000, My Neneng; fourth at P21,000, Condoleeza; Treasured Ack was a distant fifth at P17,000; while the longshot of all was Jigsaw Star at just over P4,000.
The Lakambini, sponsored by the Philracom, is one of the premier annual events for three-year-old local-bred fillies. This year’s edition had all seven track divas carrying a set handicap weight of 53 kg.
When the gates flung back at the start of the 1750-meter race, Sexy Eyes jumped for the lead immediately. Right behind her was the outstanding favorite Es Twenty Six, with My Neneng and Treasured Ack also in contention.
As the field of seven swept on to the first bend, Sexy Eyes was still in front, with Es Twenty Six and Treasured Ack right behind in second and third respectively. They maintained these positions until the backstretch. In fourth was Defiant, with My Neneng, Jigsaw Star, and Condoleeze racing behind her in that order.
Before the far turn, Es Twenty Six made her move and grabbed the pole position. Treasured Ack raced along behind her as Sexy Eyes dropped back to third.
At the far turn, a strong surge of power from Treasured Ack led her to race neck and neck against Es Twenty Six. The unstoppable longshot gained the lead at the top of the stretch and never looked back from there. Jockey John B. Cordero urged Treasured Ack on with heavy whipping, lengthening their lead to win by 2-1/2 lengths over Es Twenty Six, who came in practically spent.
Just past the finish line, Cordero turned to the crowd, half-rose from the saddle, and raised his whip in jubilation over his unexpected victory. The winning tandem won the top prize of P720,000 for owner Nathaniel “Nel” G. Velasco, who is also the breeder of Treasured Ack (Treasure Cay – Belle of Ack) at his Red N Ranch in Lipa City, Batangas. At the awarding ceremony, trainer Jose Mario “Buboy” Jacob received the trophy in behalf of Mr. Velasco (who also earned the P70,000 breeder’s purse).
Es Twenty Six settled for the second prize of P270,000. My Neneng was third to take P150,000, Condoleeza fourth for P60,000. Coming home on their heels were Defiant and Jigsaw Star, while a fatigued Sexy Eyes arrived last.
The time for the race was 1:50, with splits of 10-23-24’-24’-28. ***