Racing fans were puzzled by the sudden cancellation of Manila Jockey Club (MJC) races last night at the San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP), just before Race 1. MJC management announced that this was due to “technical difficulties with the servers”.
Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park, Carmona, Cavite: No tote, no racing
The servers mentioned are those that compute the wagers for the pari-mutuel betting system. For months, it was bruited about that MJC was embroiled in contractual disputes with United Tote of America (totalizator system and betting machines provider) and Global Versatech, Inc. (GVI), the local service provider that runs the betting system and provides tech support. (Both U-Tote and GVI also provide the same services to the Philippine Racing Club.)
The standoff culminated Tuesday night when the betting matrix allegedly was not fed to MJC servers, preventing wagering from taking place, leading to the cancellation of races.
MJC is now said to be concluding the negotiation of a new contract with GVI, for the “refurbishment and upgrading of its facilities”. Races at SLLP cannot be held pending the complete installation and testing of an upgraded system; so MJC races for today, Wednesday, are also cancelled.
Stepping in to resolve the crisis, Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) chairman Atty. Jose Ferdinand “Joy” M. Rojas II issued the following directive today to MJC and Philippine Racing Club (PRC):
That the venue for MJC-scheduled races from Thursday, May 29, to Sunday, June 1 (four racing days), be transferred to the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park, consonant to the existing agreement between both racing clubs.
Chairman Rojas deemed that it was “not in the best interest of the racing industry for races to be cancelled or otherwise disrupted in any way”, hence the decision to change the venue.
Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park, Makati City: Have tote, will race
This comes upon the heels of a planned ocular inspection to SLLP on Saturday by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Games and Amusements, chaired by Rep. Amado S. Bagatsing (Manila). It is assumed that the congressmen will be entertained at Santa Ana Park instead.