THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 15 October 2008, Wednesday
This week is an action-packed one for Philippine horseracing, with a major racing festival, prominent stakes race, blessing ceremony, and labor hearing over racetrack workers’ gripes all set within days of each other.
First – the bad news.
Manila Jockey Club betting station tellers are disputing pay cuts, a proposed redundancy scheme which will render 140 tellers jobless, and other labor-related complaints with MJC management.
This led to rumors of an impending strike last night, the first of the raceweek, on the part of the tellers.
Tellers discounted the strike rumors, but a teller who is also an officer of the MJC Raceday Employees’ Union confirmed that they have filed a Notice of Strike with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.
The strike was not implemented pending a hearing today between the union and MJC management at the NCMB. Meanwhile, races at MJC’s San Lazaro Leisure Park go on as scheduled.
Second – a whole lot of good news.
The Philippine Racing Club, which is set to transfer from aged facilities at Santa Ana Park in Makati to shiny new premises in Trece Martirez, Cavite, has invited industry members to the blessing of the new Grandstand building there today.
PRC’s vision was to create a new racing community with a well-designed and constructed track and facilities, ample space for the present horse population, with room to grow for an ever-expanding sport that continually sees new players investing in quality bloodstock.
The completion of the Grandstand at Trece Martirez is a milestone for PRC and another step towards the running of the first race at the new track, which is expected to take place early next year.
Meanwhile, Sunday at SLLP sees the running of the 7th Klub Don Juan de Manila Derby. The KDJM is a group of horseowners committed to staging this championship event annually to provide incentives for racing participants.
Seven imported runners and one local-bred face off in the centerpiece race, the 2,000-meter Don Juan Derby. Lone local Shining Fame (Royal Premiere-Harry’s District), owned by Tony Tan and champion of this summer’s 2008 Triple Crown third leg and, just last month, the Keeneland Stakes, is on a hot winning streak.
The feisty Philippine colt goes up against imported fillies Miss Elliot (Hayil-Miss Justice) of David Puyat, Super Leggera (Keeper-Monecata) owned by Victor Martinez, and Hermie Esguerra’s Negligee (Takbir-Delightfulattire) and Blind Date (Dexter-Farrow),
The imported colts include Raymund Puyat’s Daitoryosan (Fusaichi Pegasus-Troubled Woman), Nora Villoria’s Holy Ridge (Cactus Ridge-Miesques Testimonies), and Roland Lim’s Lim’s Expensive Toys (Giant’s Causeway-Prophet’s Kiss).
The other KDJM championship races for Sunday and their entries are:
Golden Girls Stakes (1,750 meters) – La Tienne, Barawanawest, Traditional, Great Emma, Irene’s Fantasy, Miss Fantastic, Hussy, and Ziraz. La Tienne won the Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored Peridot I and Peridot II stakes races back-to-back last August; Ziraz, Traditional and Great Emma could show good form as well.
Juvenile Fillies (1,400 meters) – Heaven Sent, Security World, Frozen Margarita, Nuclear Power, Eternal Flame, and Windbeneathmywings. Nuclear Power won the 2nd leg of the 2008 Philracom Juvenile Fillies Stakes series, and in a later, regular race, beat Heaven Sent to the wire.
Juvenile Colts (1,400 meters) – High Tower, Go Army, Scout Ranger, and Go Marines. Go Army won the 2008 Philracom Juvenile Colts second leg with ease and is expected to dominate once more.
And if that’s not enough racing action to send a fan into cardiac arrest, there’s still the Philracom Sampaguita Stakes also on Sunday. Seven fillies and mares are entered in the arduous 1,900-meter race which offers a total of P1.2 million in prizes for first to fourth places.
Nery Sunga’s champion Es Twenty Six is the favorite. But she goes up against Mandaluyong mayor Benhur Abalos’s Pearl Buck, Nel Velasco’s Treasured Ack, Bong Lapus’s Victorian Stone, Jun Almeda’s Golden Connection, and Hermie Esguerra’s Flavorofthemonth and Indelible Ink, all talented competitors. ***