THW: “Triple Treat” Sunday a Winner

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 29 October 2008, Wednesday

“Triple Treat” Sunday a Winner

Last Sunday (October 26) at Santa Ana Park was billed by Philippine Racing Club as a “Triple Treat” raceday, with three stakes races on the card – the Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored 4th Tumbok Cup, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office-backed Special Maiden Race, and the Japan Racing Association-funded eponymous race.

The Tumbok Cup is arranged by the tabloid’s marketing staff and is an annual fund-raising event for charity. This year’s beneficiary is Bahay ni Maria Children’s Center in Bel-Air, Makati, which cares for street children.

Many of the Bahay ni Maria children were in attendance, cheering for the favorite, veteran gray Guided Missile (Ricky P – March Consul), who romped home in 1:35 over 1,450 meters.

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Fans packed the viewing stands to watch the 4th Tumbok Cup.

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These jockeys take their loss in the Tumbok Cup in stride.

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Jockey RL Nuque gets off Guided Missile after the race. This is the rider’s first stakes win.

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The Tumbok team poses with chairman Rojas (in suit) and PRC racing manager Dan Valmonte (in white shirt, extreme right).

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Philippine Daily Inquirer sales and marketing vice-president Rene Reinoso awards the trophy to winning trainer Rolando M. Luna. Looking pleased are Bahay ni Maria’s Sr. Carmela Borres, Tumbok editor-in-chief Roni Briones, Philracom chairman Atty. Joy Rojas, and PRC EVP-COO Atty. Ramon P. Ereñeta Jr.

Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II vowed continued support for the event. He said, “As part of its corporate social responsibility program and as a way of giving back to the community, Philracom is glad to help with initiatives such as these charity races that assist the marginalized sectors of society.”

The second treat last Sunday was the PCSO’s Special Maiden race for juveniles. Formerly known as the Sweepstakes race, only four entries ran over 1,500 meters, with the favorite being feisty bay colt Oko Boy, whom experts said was not extended during the trial run the week before.

But it was the longest shot of them all, filly La Huerta (Conquistarose-Turbo Charger), steered by jockey Rodeo Fernandez, who left them all in the dust, winning wire-to-wire in 1:37.6 with quarters of 18′-24-25-30.

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La Huerta streaks down the stretch to score an upset in the PCSO Special Maiden Race.

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Rodeo Fernandez receives his trophy from PRC EVP-COO Atty. Ereñeta. With them are (L-R) Philracom’s racing consultant Dr. Romy Buencamino and chairman Rojas; La Huerta’s owner Honorato Neri; PCSO’s Comittee on Races chairman Atty. Jose Malang and Draw and Races manager Rey Empremiado; and trainer Jojo Velasquez.

Oko Boy settled for second, with second favorite Alisha’s Gold and Chief of Staff coming in third and fourth.

PCSO was represented at the awarding ceremony by Racing Committee chairman lawyer Jose Malang and Draw and Races Department manager Rey Empremiado. Both are familiar faces on the racing scene, as PCSO sponsors several prestigious big-money stakes races yearly, among them the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup and the First Spouse Silver Cup.

Also last Sunday was the annual JRA Cup. Hongkong-based JRA country chief Gen Yasuma flew into Manila just for the event, which this year was run over a mile. Again, an upset occurred when veteran racemare La Tienne (Belong To Me-Tierani), a 7YO Australian import and far second choice in the sales, beat the pants off outstanding favorite, 6YO horse Real Spicy.

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At the parade ring after the race, the jockey and grooms are a blur of motion while La Tienne, victorious, appears in sharp focus

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Defeated but beaming riders in the JRA Cup – Lyndon Guce, John Alvin Guce, Jonathan Hernandez, and, half-glimpsed, Jesse Guce – at the weighout.

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JRA country chief Gen Yasuma hands jockey EG Reyes his trophy.

As is her wont, La Tienne, steered by EG Reyes, ran at the back of the ten-horse field, stretching only at the half-mile to grind down her rivals one by one. She won by two lengths in the heart-stopping come-from-behind style she’s now famous for, clocking 1:40 with splits of 25′-23′-24′-26′.

La Tienne’s groom Toto Pagalan shrugged off the victory nonchalantly. “Nothing has changed with her routine,” he said. “Everything’s still the same. Even we were surprised when she went on this winning streak, which started when she won the Philracom Peridot I and Peridot II Stakes back-to-back last August.”

Meanwhile, this raceweek at San Lazaro Leisure Park is marked by the launch of Manila Jockey Club’s in-house broadcast team, San Lazaro Broadcast Network. SLBN was established upon the pull-out of former provider Makisig Network from live coverage of SLLP races. SLBN’s coverage will be carried on Destiny cable and other independent cable providers.

Good luck to the new team headed by Sam Radoc and composed of veteran video editors Jojo Llamanzares and Roel Taripe, technical director Noli Dimaandal, audio/playback guy Freddie Llavore, senior cameraman “Tito” Benjie Yap (who has the steadiest pulso in the business), and cameraman Haridasa Yap, among others. This team brings together the most experienced crew in race coverage. I’ve worked with them and I have to say this is indeed a “dream team”.

On another front, MJC tellers say that they will hold off a planned strike pending more talks today with MJC management on labor issues.

Finally for the news roundup, yesterday afternoon was declaration day for the six Championship races of the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners’ MARHO Breeders’ Cup racing festival, set for November 18 to 23 at Santa Ana Park, with major sponsors being San Miguel Corporation and Philracom. ***

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