THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 21 January 2009, Wednesday
Eventful Sunday in Carmona
For some reason there are instances when things don’t drop one at a time, but rather cascade in an overwhelming downpour of occurrences.
Take, for example, last Sunday at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. A huge day of racing was scheduled. MJC steward Arleen Chua had arranged for racing industry entities to stage charity races for the benefit of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation Inc. (Mowelfund).
Philracom chairman Atty. Joy Rojas accepts a plaque of appreciation from Mowelfund executive director and actress Boots Anson Roa.
There was an “Andrea del Rosario Trophy Race”. An “Iwa Moto” TR. One named for Eula Valdez and another for Dingdong Dantes. These actors were set to appear at the track, along with Mowelfund executive director Boots Anson Roa and trustee “Direk” Edgardo Vinarao.
More than that, track star Ibarra was to run in the day’s Philippine Racing Commission Garnet II stakes race, where he was expected to polish off rivals Don Enrico and coupled entries Shining Fame and Native Land.
But the racing community woke that morning to awful news – eleven horses belonging to Tarlac representative Jeci Lapus had been brutally stabbed in their stalls in the holding paddock at SLLP at around 1am. Police and witnesses point to a groom employed by another stable; his motive for the act is unknown.
Everyone was shocked. Racing oldtimers cannot remember an instance, ever, when something similar had happened. Racehorses, to the taga-karera, are like family. They are fed well, bathed and brushed, their manes braided. When they run, the owner, his family, and all the stable hands are on tenterhooks as to the outcome. Wins are congratulated, losses are met with commiseration, no matter who’s involved.
To the racing community, the crime has connotations beyond the concepts of cruelty to animals, destruction of property, and wanton violence.
Amazingly, none of the horses died and all are now on their way to recovery.
But the show must go on and races were staged as scheduled. The heavy favorite Grand Homer (Sunny Contender-Strawberry Joy) of Elizabeth Lontok, ridden by Jeff Zarate and trained by Dodec Vicente, won the Mowelfund TR jointly sponsored by Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos and the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners.
Eula Valdez, Iwa Moto, and the representative of Grand Homer’s winning owner, Elizabeth Lontok.
Top pick Daitoryosan (Aus, Fusaichi Pegasus-Trouble Woman) of Raymund Puyat, conditioned by Donny Sordan and steered by Christopher Tamano, won the highlight Mowelfund Cup, sponsored by Philracom.
Daitoryosan trainer Donny Sordan and jockey Christopher Tamano pose with actors Boots Anson Roa and Dingdong Dantes as Philracom commissioner Eduardo C. Domingo Jr. and Mowelfund’s Boy Vinarao beam in the background.
It was Defiant (Self Feeder-Defarge) in Goldfilar Trucking’s Andrea del Rosario TR, La Sombra (Aus, Black Hawk-Fie d’Or) in Klub Don Juan de Manila’s Eula Valdez TR, Rain Dancer (Aus, King Cugat-Timber Side) in the Cong. Mikey Arroyo-sponsored Iwa Moto TR, and Hittheroadjack (USA, Hold That Tiger-Triple Mach) in the EEG Development Corp. Dingdong Dantes TR.
Fans packed the stands and cheered for the actors at the awarding ceremonies.
But another shocker stunned the industry and racing fans in the Philracom Garnet II. A disruption in the broadcast services of Destiny Cable led to a delay in the race. Abalos’s Ibarra and Tony Tan’s Native Land waited in their stalls in the gate for over ten minutes. They were unloaded when it was apparent that the delay would take longer.
Mandaluyong Mayor Atty. Benhur Abalos and Philracom chairman Atty. Joy Rojas discuss the delay at the start of the Garnet II.
When the participants finally took off for the 1,500-meter race after a delay of almost half an hour, fans were dismayed to see Ibarra falter at the home turn, allowing Lorraine Uy Wi’s Don Enrico (Wind Blown-Kayumanggi) to overtake the erstwhile frontrunner and win. Trained by Arturo Sordan Jr. and guided by Fernando M. Raquel Jr., the 2007 Triple Crown leg winner set splits of 17-24′-24′-26 for a total time of 1:32.
In the stretch for the Garnet II. Don Enrico is ahead of Shining Fame by a length and a quarter; Ibarra, in third, is clearly spent.
Shining Fame came in second, Ibarra third, Native Land last.
In the succeeding day’s papers, the stabbing incident pushed the news about the stakes races right off the pages.
And Philracom sent a letter to MJC’s Board of Stewards requiring them to give a written explanation within 48 hours about the delay in the Garnet II.
This is horseracing. Generally it’s a quiet sport that keeps to itself and minds its own business. All this activity, on one day, was exhausting.
But then, racing is always exciting and unpredictable. You’ll never know what’ll happen next. That’s the way it’s always been. *** (Web: http://jennyo.net)