THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 28 January 2009, Wednesday
Amethyst, Chairman’s Cup Next Month
Happy Lunar New Year to all! What are horse racing fans looking forward to next month?
After the salvo of Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored January stakes races – the Garnet I and the Garnet II – the next fusillade erupts on February 8, with the running of the Philracom’s Amethyst I mile at Philippine Racing Club’s New Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.
The race is the second leg of the Imported/Local Challenge and has total prizes of P500,000 allocated from first to fourth, as is usual practice.
February 15 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite, will showcase the 1500-meter Amethyst II, a handicap race open to the special class division runners of the three highest groups. The twist here is that it is open to local-breds only. Such races are always interesting to watch, to see how much thoroughbred breeding has improved in the country in the past several decades.
Speaking of breeding, one of the major contributors to this effort will be honored on February 22.
The 2009 Philracom Chairman’s Cup stakes, in honor of past leaders of the government agency that regulates and supervises the sport, will be named for Augusto Benedicto L. Santos, who served from 1986 to 1990.
Santos is also a noted breeder and horseowner and has been active in the industry since the ’70s, if not earlier. He bred many champions on his Batangas ranch. Many of his winners were the progeny of stock imported by his father, Augusto A. Santos, also a noted horseman who entered the sport in 1956.
In the ’80s, there were the likes of Luminary (2nd leg Triple Crown champion), Rocket Star, and Little Hut.
In the ’90s, Marangal reigned supreme. He was bred by Santos in New Zealand. Other winners on the roster are Gold Cup victor Balatkayo and the undefeated racemare Sun Dancer.
In the new millennium, his stakes performers included Flirting Hero, Batangas Force, I Love This Game, San Diego Force, Namaste, and Cat’s Eye.
The 1600-meter Chairman’s Cup is open to 3YO local-breds and carries a total pot of P2 million. There is also a P70,000 prize to the winner of the breeder. These serve as hefty incentives to local breeders to continue to upgrade their bloodstock.
Meanwhile, the Philracom has released the rankings of the Top Fifty Horses, Owners, Trainers, and Jockeys of 2008. Space constraints prevent me from listing them all, but here are those who made the official Top Ten:
Horses: Indelible Ink, Don Enrico, Shining Fame, Go Army, Real Spicy, Ibarra, Terry Toon, Es Twenty Six, Hieroglyphics, and Good Humour.
Owners: Herminio S. Esguerra, Aristeo G. Puyat, Antonio O. Floirendo Sr., Ricardo G. Aquino, Antonio V. Tan Jr., Emmanuel A. Santos, Leonardo M. Naval, George M. Lazarte, Jeci A. Lapus, and Antonio G. de Ubago Jr.
Trainers: Ruben S. Tupas, Raymundo R. Henson, Dave R. de la Cruz, Nestor E. Manalang, Ricardo P. Paman Jr., Felipe B. Buencamino, Orlando A. Velasquez, Ernesto S. Roxas, MM Vicente, Donato S. Sordan.
Jockeys: Jonathan B. Hernandez, Jesse B. Guce, Patricio R. Dilema, John Alvin A. Guce, Fernando M. Raquel Jr., Dominador H. Borbe Jr., Jeffril T. Zarate, Karvin E. Malapira, EP Nahilat, and John B. Cordero.
Rankings are based on “money earned”, or gross prizes won from first to fourth. For the full list and stats, visit http://www.philracom.gov.ph. ***