THW: MARHO Races a Smash!

THE HOARSE WHISPERER  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  26 November 2008, Wednesday

MARHO Races a Smash!

“Congratulations on a very successful event!”

Racing fans proclaimed this year’s edition of the MARHO Breeders’ Cup a roaring success by breaking attendance records and spiking sales to heights not seen since the glory days of racing five years ago.

Held at the historic Santa Ana Park racetrack in Makati City from November 18 to 23, the flagship annual event of the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners attracted a great number of participants resulting in a larger field size for many of the races which all had guaranteed and/or bonus prizes.  The superb invitational handicapping system, devised specially for the event, was another crowd-drawer, as the races that were formed were, as one fan put it, “very difficult to analyze.”


Crowds filled the stands at Santa Ana Park on MARHO Breeders’ Cup Sunday.


On Saturday, victories by longshots Mooney Money (Mojave Moon-Monochrome), Weder Weder Lang (Changeintheweather-Offensive Threat), and Kaakit-akit (Brahms-Allowance) resulted in carryovers in both sets of the Winner-Take-All events. There were also carryovers in Race 13′s Super Six, Quartet, and in the Magic Nine events.


MARHO director Manny Santos (in behalf of owner Jan Michael Santos, his son), rider Karvin Malapira, and trainer Mark Tupas receive their trophies for Weder Weder Lang’s surprise win. With them are Philracom commissioner Atty. Vic Tantoco, chairman Atty. Joy Rojas, Cong. Amado S. Bagatsing, and Pedro Sy Gaisano and Crisanta Cayetano of the Manila Red Cross. 

Sunday saw a record-breaking number of spectators crowd the grandstands to watch the championship races. An indicator of high viewership at the off-track betting stations were the gross figures for the exotic betting options. The first WTA set climbed to over P7 million, while the second set raked in P3.3 million, way over the usual P2.2 million average for a Sunday second set WTA.

Outstanding favorite Go Army (Mr. Sutter – J’Approve) did not disappoint in the Philippine Racing Commission-MARHO Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Colts, where he won wire-to-wire by ten lengths over Action Sailor. Owner Hermie Esguerra also received the award for breeder of this talented two-year-old, ridden by Jonathan Hernandez.


Go Army being led into the winner’s circle. Action Sailor is right behind.

In the Philracom-MBC Juvenile Fillies, Heaven Sent (Hezagonewest-Kiss and Run), steered by John Alvin Guce, won handily by six. Owned by Rita Pilapil, the breeder was Jose Mari Franco, a MARHO director.


Heaven Sent with Karvin Malapira at the wire.

It was Shining Fame, third leg Triple Crown winner, in the Santa Ana Park-MBC Colt Mile. Guided by Jesse B. Guce and racing neck-and-neck down the stretch against Don Enrico, the Royal Premiere-Harry’s District colt prevailed by a length to give owner Tony Tan, also a MARHO director, the win. Toti Cariño was the breeder.


Shining Fame wins the MBC Colt Mile!


Lou, Pam, Jacq Yu, owner and MARHO director Tony Tan, MARHO president Mayor Benhur Abalos, jockey Jesse Guce, PRC president Solomon Cua, trainer Ruben Tupas, MARHO executive vice-president Eric Tagle, and Sarah at the awarding ceremony for Shining Fame’s win.

Former MARHO president Aristeo G. Puyat scored in the Andok’s-MBC Filly Mile with his own-bred Blue Arch (Mr. Sutter-Arch), ridden by Brian Yamzon. In the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office-MBC Sprint, it was MBC alum and Herma-bred EJ’s Magic (Self Feeder-Heir Apparent), with apprentice jockey Miles Pilapil on top.


Sandra, Luan, owner-breeder Aristeo Puyat, Jake Maderazo, trainer Gil Pansoy, jockey Brian Yamzon, Cong. Amado Bagatsing, Sarah, and Lou pose at the awarding ceremony for Blue Arch’s win.


It’s EJ’s Magic in the PCSO-MBC Sprint!

In the highlight San Miguel Beer-MBC Classic, four-year-old racemare Es Twenty Six (Principality-Play By Ear), another MBC graduate, fended off the challenges of 2007 PCSO Presidential Gold Cup winner Native Land and four others to win the 2,050-meter race and first place purse of P1.2 million. Owned by Nery Sunga, this stellar performer was bred by MARHO chairman Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr.


Es Twenty Six with Jesse Guce on top enters the parade ground.


Katya, Kay, Pam, trainer Dave de la Cruz, owner Nery Sunga, breeder and MARHO chairman Sandy Javier, jockey Jesse Guce, MARHO internal auditor Tony de Ubago, Jacq Yu, Anna, Lou, Kay, MARHO directors Chito Borromeo and Nel Velasco at the awarding ceremony for the win of Es Twenty Six.

The Philracom Ambassador Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr. Cup saw island-born horse Ibarra (Yonaguska-Fire Down Under) almost smash the 2:09 record for the 2,050 meters with a time of 2:09.6, winning wire-to-wire by three lengths. Jockey Kelvin Abobo gave his mighty mount only a couple light flicks of the whip down the stretch, securing the win for owner Mandaluyong Mayor lawyer Benhur C. Abalos, MARHO president.


It’s Ibarra across the wire first in the 2008 Philracom ECJ Cup!


MARHO chairman Sandy Javier, MARHO executive vice-president Eric Tagle, MARHO member Enrique “Henry” M. Cojuangco representing his brother Amb. Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr., trainer Ruben Tupas, owner MARHO president Mayor Benhur Abalos, jockey Kelvin Abobo, Philracom chairman lawyer Joy Rojas, PRC president Solomon Cua, Philracom commissioner lawyer Vic Tantoco, and PRC executive vice-president lawyer Ramon P. Ereñeta Jr. at the awarding ceremony for Ibarra’s win.

Other trophy races were also held that day, adding to the event’s excitement.

Sunday sales reached P43.8 million, surpassing the P41.6 million sales for the previous year. Said Javier, “For our 35th anniversary next year, MARHO plans more races and activities.”  Abalos thanked participants, fellow directors and members, the host venue Philippine Racing Club, and racing fans. “We are grateful for the support everyone has shown MARHO, which contributed to making this event a success.”   *** (Web:

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