THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 12 November 2014, Wednesday
No races at MMTC this week
Races at Metro Manila Turf Club’s racetrack in Malvar, Batangas, were not held this week after some 88 jockeys submitted their excuse forms for the Nov. 11 and 12 (Tues. and Wed.) races scheduled there.
Given this, the Philippine Racing Commission passed the baton to the Manila Jockey Club, in line with a standing policy that if any reason a racetrack cannot conduct races on its scheduled racedays, the schedule will be passed to the next racetrack in the rotation. Races last night were held at MJC’s San Lazaro Leisure Park.
Last week, around 51 jockeys also refused to ride at Metro Turf, which resulted in the cancellation of the Nov. 6 races.
In a letter to Philracom dated 5 Nov. from the New Philippine Jockeys Association, the licensed riders said “each jockey has individually decided temporarily not to ride in the races held at [MMTC] this coming Nov. 6 and 7 races until it is made safer for the jockeys and the horses.”
These decisions stem from an accident suffered by jockey Leonardo T. Cuadra Jr. there last Nov. 2. According to the NPJA, Cuadra is now in critical condition and has undergone two operations; part of his skull has been removed to relieve pressure from hematomas.
This incident follows three others that occurred Oct. 11 and 12. In a letter to MMTC dated 13 Oct., the NPJA requested MMTC to “renovate said track with the goal of placing more fine sand to at least a similar level with that of the two other race tracks [MJC and Philippine Racing Club].”
They pointed to accidents at Metro Turf involving RR de Leon on Oct. 11 on horse Only The Best, and on Oct. 12 by JB Guce on Show Must Go On and VR Dilema on Epic, saying, “the jockeys concerned were unanimous in stating that the surface they landed on felt more like concrete than a proper track with some cushion.”
This was rebutted by the track in two letters dated Oct. 22, from the racing manager and from MMTC legal counsel, saying that “we take care of all our racing facilities and equipment with due diligence,” and that “blaming our racetrack for any accident is most unfair particularly without considering other equally important factors that may have caused any accident. However, we would like to assure that we will do what is necessary to address all concerns.”
Jockeys presented data supporting their position on a meeting held at Philracom on Nov. 7. Races were held that night after Philracom Chairman Angel L. Castaño Jr. mediated between the parties involved to find a resolution to the issue.