Posts Tagged ‘English’

THW: Yes Pogi Uses Surprise Tactic in PCSO Silver Cup

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 25 May 2011, Wednesday

Yes Pogi Uses Surprise Tactic in PCSO Silver Cup

A change-up strategy led to success for a fast-breaking charger in the 2011 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Silver Cup.

The 16th PCSO Silver Cup displayed at Santa Ana Park.

Held last May 22, a rainy Sunday at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, the 2,000 meter race set veteran Yes Pogi against five other classy contenders.

Yes Pogi is known as a stayer, coming from the rear of the field to claw his way to a win under his former rider Fernando Raquel Jr. However, the problem with such a technique is that he might run out of track before he can catch up to the frontrunner – and this has been the cause of his few defeats.

This time around, rider Manolito Daquis opted to let him grab the lead from Thoti’s Best before they hit the first bend, a surprise tactic that had fans – even Yes Pogi’s trainer, Felix Lauron – biting their nails in suspense. It proved to be the right move to avoid being sprayed with mud in the face, a factor that could have affected Yes Pogi’s running.

Manolito Daquis on Yes Pogi winning the 16th PCSO Silver Cup.

A top ten jockey said that he has noticed that Yes Pogi tends to jump out of the gate quickly, but past strategies forced him to hang back. “If he had been allowed to lead before,” said the rider, “we might have seen this versatility from Yes Pogi sooner.”

The speedy gray colt bred at horseowner-businessman Herminio Esguerro’s Herma Farms & Stud facility in Batangas is by Rum Tum Tiger (USA) x Belle Epoque(USA), perhaps proving the contention of some that American lineages are the best for speed on dirt tracks.

Yes Pogi won on a fast track by an amazing nine lengths with splits of 25-23’-24’-25-26’ for a total time of 2:04.4. This ties with the 2005 record set by Stowaway Lass at Wild Orchid.

Righthererightnow came in second, Darleb third, and Thoti’s Best fourth, followed by Shining Armour and Go Army last.

Present at the awarding ceremony, from PCSO, were general manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, Committee on Races chairman Atty. Jose Malang, vice-chairmen Carlos Castillo at Desoto Tupaz, and members Dr. Romeo Buencamino at Henry Z. Beech, also assistant general manager Benigno Aguas, treasury department manager Mercedes Hinayon, and others.

Daquis, GM Rojas, Lauron, and Ma. Theresa de Vera in behalf of owner Francis Lim.

Also there, from the host Philippine Racing Club, were president Solomon Cua and executive vice-president/COO Atty. Ramon P. Ereñeta Jr.

Receiving the award in behalf of Yes Pogi owner Francis Lim was Ma. Theresa de Vera, while Jec Santos subbed for Herma Farms.

Congratulations to the connections of Yes Pogi, a true champion!


The trial race for the June 11 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race for 2YO (open) was held yesterday at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park over 1,300 meters.

Joining the trial were fillies Classy Kitkat owned by Ramon Bagatsing Jr., Herminio Esguerra’s Fair Wind, Jose Mari Franco’s Huatulco, Renato Virata’s Markees World, and Kerby Chua’s Pinay Beauty, and colts Conqueror’s Magic of Wilbert Tan and Jeci Lapus’s Stolen Time. Handicapping was set weight, fillies carrying 52 kgs. and colts 52 kgs.

Markees World, steered by replacement rider Rodeo Fernandez, won the trial by about seven lengths over Stolen Time. Fair Wind placed third and Conqueror’s Magic fourth, followed by Classy Kitcat, Huatulco, and Pinay Beauty last. The time was 1:24’.

Markees World with Rodeo Fernandez wins the PCSO Special Maiden trial.

Winning by seven? That makes Markees World the one to watch. By Australian and Philippine stakes winner Key Apo out of Ribbon Grain, the dark bay filly was bred at Paris Match Farm owned by racing industry elder statesman Aristeo “Putch” Puyat.

Also on June 11 are the second legs of the Philippine Racing Commission’s Triple Crown and Hopeful Stakes series.

With three major races running on one day, it’s going to be a huge event for speed aficionados. Mark it in your planners and drive down to the SLLP Turf Club for a day of racing and dining.  It’s along Governor’s Drive in Carmona, Cavite, less than an hour away from Makati. ***

Photos by Eric de los Reyes/PCSO.

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THW: Longshot Rules 1st Leg Triple Crown!

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 18 May 2011, Wednesday

Longshot Rules 1st leg Triple Crown!

Like I’ve said before, anything can happen in a horse race.

And when you’re talking elite thoroughbreds, it’s all the more likely that any event they figure in will be an even-steven race, with no quarter given to the favorite.

That’s what a longshot did in last Sunday’s 1st leg Philippine Racing Commission Triple Crown series held at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park.

Seven horses were declared, and one was scratched – Bosbarawana, who also had a chance of winning. Of the remaining six horses, classy colt Magna Carta emerged as the favorite in the sales.

But when the gates flew back, the aptly-named jockey Rodeo Fernandez was quick at the jumpout, grabbing the lead and never giving it up till the wire, reaching it six lengths ahead of Magna Carta. Coming a very close third in a photo-finish was The Rock, while Barkley took fourth.

Hari ng Yambo, an island-born bay colt, nearly shattered the 1:38 record for the mile distance set in 2007 by another island-born, Copper Dew, by posting 1:39 with impressive quarters of 24’-23-25-26’. I believe he could have broken the record, but since he had pulled way ahead of the pack in the stretch, his jockey may have eased up a bit to spare the horse the risk of injury, especially since he is almost sure to run in the second leg of the Triple Crown series.

Hari ng Yambo, by Chapel Royal (USA) x Daulide (ARG), is owned by Manny Santos and trained by Mark Tupas. Their stable receives the first prize of P1.8 milllion.

I think we know who’s going into the second leg of the Triple Crown on June 11, also at SLLP, as the heavy favorite. And if there’s a horse that could make a sweep of all three legs, it’s this one.

Meanwhile, the winner of the 1st leg of the Philracom 1st leg Hopeful Stakes held at the same track last Saturday was another longshot, Constatic, who also beat the race favorite, Cheese Mosa, who also came in second.  Tensile Strength came in third, Whistler fourth.

Local-bred Constatic, by Ecstatic (USA) x Consa (PHI), was to have been ridden by its regular jockey, Antonio Alcasid Jr. But he was declared to ride another likely candidate, Smart Guru, which was scratched before the race, allowing replacement rider Louie Balboa to grab top honors here.

Like I’ve also said before, suwerte ang pulot-sakay.

Constatic, owned by Ronaldo Tan and trained by Joel Mijares, clocked 25’-24-25’-26’ for a  total of1:41.4, about the average time for the mile. They won P600,000 first place purse for the efforts of their team.

On Sunday, all eyes will be glued to the action at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park for the 16th running of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Silver Cup. The arduous 2,000 meter race pits wily veterans Thoti’s Best, Shining Armour, Go Army, Yes Pogi, Darleb, and Righthererightnow against each other in a fight for P1.1 million in first-place prize money.

Yes Pogi shone last year as a 3YO in two legs of the Triple Crown, and won a slew of stakes races after that. Though not undefeated, he’s still my best pick for this race, one of the most prestigious and exciting on the racing calendar.

Good times for racing? You can bet on it.   ***

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THW: Wanna Change Wins PCSO Maiden Race

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 20 April 2011, Wednesday

Wanna Change Wins PCSO Maiden Race

After a strong showing in the trial race, speedy colt Wanna Change did not disappoint its backers by charging hard down the stretch to victory in last Sunday’s Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Maiden Race.

Held at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, the 1,200-meter race pit Wanna Change, the favorite, against a tough field of 3YO. With jockey Jonathan on top, the tandem hung back just behind frontrunner Gold Field, the second pick, which was also second-placer to Wanna Change in the trial held a couple of weeks earlier.

Hernandez put Wanna Change into higher gear at the far turn, leaving Rosenda Ann Ocampo’s Gold Field five lengths behind to eat his dust, as he stopped the clock at 1:17.5. Andre Angelo Santos’ Sunshine came in third.

The breeder’s prize went to Luis Chuidian, whose ranch produced Wanna Change from American stallion Heza Gone West out of Kiwi mare Regal Kingdom.

PCSO’s next race will be the Silver Cup, slated for May 22 also at Santa Ana Park. The race is traditionally held in honor of the sitting president’s spouse. Since President Benigno S. Aquino III is still a bachelor, the race honorees are the president’s sisters -Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Viel Aquino-Dy, Pinky Aquino-Abelleda, and Kris Aquino.


The Philippine Racing Commission held two stakes races at Santa Ana Park over the weekend. The Diamond II mile for 3YO fillies was run on Saturday, with the favorite, lawyer Sixto Esquivias IV’s Cheese Mosa winning by half-a-length over Prime Rate, Constatic, and Rhea’s Angel in that order. The time for the race was 1:42.4.

The counterpart 3YO colts’ race happened on Sunday, with Ralph Javier’s Arvindugo clocking 1:41.4 for the mile and winning by a head over the heavy favorite Magna Carta. The Rock placed third and Dear John fourth.


I can’t wait for the first leg of the Triple Crown on May 15 at San Lazaro Leisure Park. The mile race sponsored by Philracom has a total purse of P3 million, allocated from first to fourth. Handicapping is set weight, with colts carrying 54 kgs and fillies 52 kgs.

Apparent from the outcomes of the recent 3YO races is the lack of a clear stand-out among the local-bred 3YO this racing season. This tells us that the Triple Crown campaignthis summer is up in the air for anyone to catch. That makes it more exciting and shows that the elite 3YO trilogy will be hard-fought and tough to conquer.

I will go so far as to predict a longshot surprise in at least one of the legs.

In short, I don’t think there will be a sweep of the Triple Crown this year and that the Philracom’s bonus prize of P500,000 for the slam will go unclaimed yet once more.

But that’s just me. And this is horseracing, where anything can happen.

And that is what makes it fun! If you haven’t watched a horse race yet, you’re missing out on a different kind of speed/skill/sport combination. Give it a try. Races happen Tuesdays to Sundays year-round, and are broadcast live over cable television.***  (Email:; Web:; Facebook: Gogirl Racing; Twitter: @gogirlracing)


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THW: Third Favorite Thrills in PCSO Race

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 30 March 2011, Wednesday

Third Favorite Thrills in PCSO Race

Unpredictable – that’s what horse races often are, and the best-laid plans and thought-out scenarios may fail to ascertain in advance the winner.

That’s what transpired during the March 27 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office-sponsored Special Maiden Race at San Lazaro Leisure Park. It is a PCSO racing rule that a trial race for all the declared entries be held before the actual race. Punters take note of who wins the trial, the placers, and their running forms. Their analysis serves to guide them in picking the winner when betting on the actual race.

But since all the entries have to do is pass the trial – it’s usually a matter of compliance – the horses’ connections prefer to not push their horses in an effort to minimize risks to their safety and preserve their condition as much as possible, so that they are not burned out or injured before the race.

That’s why when a precocious filly named Ooh La La’s Gold, owned by Eduardo Dimacuha, won the March 15 trial, bettors sent her off as the second favorite on raceday. Another filly, Mayor Benhur Abalos’ Tiger Run, was the favorite.

But it was third choice Smart Guru, a chestnut colt owned by Honorato Neri, that scored an upset in the PCSO race for 3YO beginning their career. Piloted by ace veteran Antonio Alcasid Jr., Smart Guru carried 54.5 kgs, 1.5 kgs more than the two fillies.

Sired by American stallion Conquistarose out of Australian mare Crazy Bout You, Philippine-bred Smart Guru clocked 1:23 for the 1,300-meter journey to win the P300,000 purse.

Tiger Run came in second, Just For Keeps (a Joel Songsong-owned colt) third, and Ooh La La’s Gold came in last.

The next PCSO event will be a 1,200-meter Open Maiden race for 3YO. Registered to run at Santa Ana Park on April 17 are Herminio Esguerra’s Aduana, Honorato Neri’s Beau Erin, Rosenda Ann Ocampo’s Gold Field, and Andre Angelo Santos’ Sunshine (fillies), and Augusto Benedicto Santos’ Sparkler and Tarlac congressman Jeci Aquino Lapus’ Wanna Change (colts).


The Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners recently announced the tentative schedule of their prestigious MARHO Cup championship races, the longest-running annual racing festival of its kind.

“This year’s MARHO Cup is the 16th edition and will be held from November 15 to 20 at Santa Ana Park,” said MARHO president Eric Tagle, “with the usual slate of championship races – the Classic, 3YO Colts, 3YO Fillies, Juvenile Colts, Juvenile Fillies, and Sprint.”

The event was initially conceived as an incentive for Thoroughbred owners and breeders to improve the bloodlines for local runners, a long-term policy that has paid off and shown results in terms of faster track times and better performances.

Tagle also announced that MARHO will be holding MARHO Trophy Races twice a month, one race at each track (SAP and SLLP). At stake are an added prize of P20,000 to the winner if a MARHO member in good standing and a commemorative trophy.


Are you a horseowner interested in acquiring American bloodlines for your stable or ranch? Are you a race aficionado dreaming to become a horseowner? MARHO chairman Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier has tentatively set a horse auction at his legendary Royal Maverick Ranch in Lipa, Batangas, for late May.

He will be offering 26 yearlings and 28 2YO, some of them sired by Warrior Song and Art Moderne. The two stallions are former runners who have battled each other and clocked 1:33 for the mile. The Philippine track record for that distance is 1:38, held by an island-born filly, Jose Mari Franco’s Copper Dew.  Watch this space for updates on the RMR auction.  ***

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THW: Magna Carta, Magnifico!

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 2 March 2011, Wednesday

Magna Carta, Magnifico!

A 3YO island-born colt demolished the field to win in last Sunday’s Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Freedom Cup at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park.

Outstanding favorite Magna Carta, owned by Michael Dragon T. Javier, negotiated the the 1,500-meter race with ease, running wire-to-wire and winning by ten lengths.

Steered by Philippine Sportswriters Association 2010 jockey of the year Jesse Guce, Magna Carta clocked a brisk 1:34’ and stamped himself as the one to watch in this year’s forthcoming 3YO stakes races.

Emmanuel King’s Hi Money came in second, followed by Ralph Javier’s Arvindugo in third and RMR Equine, Inc.’s Yellow Citizen in fourth.

Present to witness the race at SLLP were, from PCSO, chairperson Margarita Juico along with her husband Dr. Philip Ella Juico, general manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, assistant general managers Betsy Paruginog, Julieta Aseo, and Benigno Aguas, department managers Atty. Jose Malang and Reynaldo Empremiado (chairman and vice-chairman of the Committee on Races, respectively), and Josefina Sarsonas, as well as assistant department manager Orlando Malaca and division chief Desoto Tupaz (also vice-chairman of the Committee on races) both of the Draw and Races department.

They were also on hand to award the trophies to the winning connections.

Magna Carta is trained by Ray Henson and is from the Royal Maverick Ranch of Javier, Leyte mayor Leonardo “Sandy”Javier Jr., who accepted the award as winning breeder. He is the father of Magna Carta’s owner and is a long-time horseowner and breeder, well-respected in the industry with many contributions to the sport.

Mayor Javier has bred a great many Thoroughbred champions. His farm produced Wind Blown, the winningest racehorse of all time, who retired in 2004 with over P19 million in money earned, a record unequaled to date.

As chairman of the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners for many years now, Mayor Javier, along with then-president of MARHO Aristeo G. Puyat, instituted the MARHO Cup races held every last racing weekend in November at Santa Ana Park. The racing festival is the richest annual week-long event, eagerly awaited by race aficionados.

Magna Carta has an impressive lineage – Woodman out of Pledge the Fifth by Danzig – which tends towards the speedy side resulting in a sprinter of this caliber. Time will show if Magna Carta will pick up the flexibility that will allow him to perform as a stayer when he gets older, since races for older horses are usually held over longer distances.

PCSO is in the process of reviewing its 2011 Schedule of Races, which traditionally includes several PCSO Special Maiden Races for juveniles, the Silver Cup, and the Presidential Gold Cup, the most prestigious annual event of the sport.  ***

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THW: Go Army Conquers in SMB-MARHO Kinse

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 1 December 2010, Wednesday

Go Army Conquers in Successful SMB-MARHO Kinse

The Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners celebrated a milestone last week – its 15th running of the San Miguel Beer-MARHO Cup Championship races at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite,

The racing festival, the biggest such event annually, featured this year nearly 40 trophy races scattered from Thursday to Sunday and its flagship six stakes races on Sunday.

Dubbed “MARHO Kinse: A Celebration of Horseracing”, the championships were dominated by horseowner and breeder Herminio S. Esguerra who bagged three out of six. Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos won two while Cesar Daniel Castro scored the final win.

Esguerra’s veteran runner Go Army emerged as the victor of the main race, the San Miguel Beer – MARHO Cup Classic, easily conquering six other foes to win the 2,000-meter battle by five lengths.

Heaven Sent sprung clean out of the gate and ran in front by five ahead of the Jonathan Hernandez-steered Go Army, who ran off the pace for most of the way until the home turn when he started moving up and pulled away from the rest of the field.

Go Army (Mr. Sutter – J’Approve) clocked splits of 24’-24-26-27-29 for a total time of 2:10.4. Native Land came in second, followed by a spent Heaven Sent and Defiant in fourth.

Esguerra entries also won two other main races. The Hernandez-guided Dimasalang (Quaker Ridge – Matinee Marvel) triumphed in the Philippine Racing Commission–MARHO Cup Juvenile Filly stakes, and second favorite Gastambide (Enjoyment – Sequin) in the 3YO Colt Mile.

Abalos fielded Barkley (Baseball Champion-Treeline) in the Philracom-MARHO Cup Juvenile Colt stakes. Barkley was sent off as the second choice and won by a length-and-a-half over third-placer Arvin Dugo. The favorite, Lord of War, came in third.

Redemption (Sailaway-Fire Down Under), half-sister to champion Ibarra and another Abalos stable star and also second pick in the sales, was victress of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office-MARHO Cup 3YO Filly Mile, winning by ¾ length over top pick Westerly Wind, May Bukas Pa, and Woodsy Ribbon.

Castro’s EJ’s Magic (Self Feeder – Heir Apparent) made MARHO history by scoring a three-peat in the Sprint, being the only frontrunner to overcome strong winds last Sunday and hit the wire first. He duplicated the feat of Ariba King who won three-in-a-row from 2002-2005.

The savvy 6YO chestnut sprinter ran as third favorite and posted splits of 12’-21’-26’ for a total time of 1:00.7.

The MARHO breeders’ trophies went to Esguerra’s Herma Farms & Stud, which bred Dimasalang, Gastambide, Go Army, and EJ’s Magic; and to Abalos, whose ranch produced both Barkley and Redemption.

Thanks to a stellar lineup and strong sponsor, participant, and aficionado support, “MARHO Kinse” logged vigorous betting handle figures, a mark of event success.

The six-day raceweek’s sales were pegged at P160.7 million for a week without betting carryovers while Sunday’s were over P37.39 million. MARHO’s record for Sunday sales is over P45 million, set in 2005 at the old Santa Ana Park racetrack in Makati City.

In keeping with this year’s crystal anniversary theme, the winning horseowners of the six championship races were awarded heavy glass crystal vases while the breeders were awarded sparkling Swarovski crystal horse figurines presented in sapphire blue boxes.

The racing festival was initially staged in 1996, the brainchild of MARHO chairman mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr. and president emeritus Aristeo G. Puyat as a scheme for providing incentives and encouragement to local Thoroughbred breeders to improve the quality of the racehorses they were producing.

Since then, in the face of economic and other challenges, MARHO has continued with the program, providing millions of pesos in prize money annually for the winners and placers of the event. Breeders, for their part, have responded over the years by bringing in quality horses from abroad to boost local bloodstock.

The six championships are open only to Philippine-bred horses, and to be nominated to the MARHO gives foals an added cachet at auctions and sales.

This year’s event sponsors were San Miguel Corporation, Philracom, PCSO, Santa Ana Park, Hygain Feeds, and the Ciara Marie Foundation. The MARHO board of directors – Mayor Sandy Javier, chairman; Eric Tagle, president; Antonio de Ubago, executive vice-president and treasurer; Antonio Tan, VP-Racing; Manny Santos, VP-Membership; Atty. Ramon Bagatsing Jr., VP-Special Projects and corporate secretary; Victor Ferrer Jr., auditor; directors Jesus Ramon Mamon, Macario Asistio, Cong. Amado Bagatsing, Jose Maria Franco, Vicente Go Bon, Enrique Javier, Cong. Jeci Lapus, and Robert Ramirez -  thank all the sponsors and everyone who participated and helped make MARHO Kinse the most successful horseracing event of the year so far.

For those who wish to view the “San Miguel Beer-MARHO Kinse” souvenir magazine, search for “Gogirl Racing” on Facebook for the link.   ***

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THW: PCSO, MARHO Cup Races Coming Soon

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 17 November 2010, Wednesday

PCSO, MARHO Cup Races Coming Soon

The races last weekend at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park were an interesting bunch. They weren’t predominantly llamado (won by favorites) which would have been boring; instead, they were of moderate difficulty, with victories by third, fourth, and fifth favorites providing spicy challenge and sending the magagaling sa karera home with robust dividends.

It was a treat to watch Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos’s talented 2YO Barkley beat a field of up-and-coming colts and fillies last Sunday. The Jesse Guce-guided and Ruben Tupas-trained Barkley (Baseball Champion-Treeline) beat Cito Esquvias’s Prince Isiah to the wire by a length with a total time of 1:19 and quarters of 7-23-23’-25’ in the 1300-meter race. Ofelia Ibaviosa’s Whistler came in third and Ramon Taay’s Evox fourth.

On the same card, another promising 2YO gave a portent of things to come by demolishing nine other juveniles over 1300 meters. Narra (Shooting Star-Materiales Fuertes), a sturdy colt owned by Gaudencio Pamaos, trained by former horseowner Andrew Sanchez, and ridden by novato specialist Esteban de Vera, was sent off as the outstanding favorite. He did not disappoint his backers, fashioning a length-and-a-quarter win in 1:21 win over placers Perfectionist, Sha Na Na, and Terrible Marvin.

Both Barkley and Narra are Philippine-bred, and their achievements and those of their peers at this early age make true horsemen and racing fans proud at how much local breeding has improved. The major thoroughbred breeding enthusiasts spare no expense in importing the best bloodstock they can afford, knowing that they most likely cannot expect a return on their investments. They do it because of their passion for a sport that is like no other.

The allied racing and breeding industries are fortunate to have such gentlemen among their ranks – Benhur Abalos; Javier, Leyte mayor Sandy Javier; and businessmen Aristeo Puyat, Herminio Esguerra, Eric Tagle, Tony de Ubago, Nathaniel Velasco, Ochie Santos, Tito de Jesus, Nonoy Niles, Raymund Puyat, Emmanuel Santos, and Tony Tan, to name just a few of them.

A couple of other Sunday races are worth mentioning. Race 11 saw an upset victory scored by fifth choice Lady Diamond (Treasure Cay-Agree to Agree), a 4YO bay filly owned by Alchy Enterprises that came from behind to score over second placer Scud Missile, the third favorite. The top choice, Jigsaw Star, was nowhere to be seen among the first six placers.

Race 9 was a fantastic battle among the veteran warriors in class-division 1. The stretch run saw five horses running neck-and-neck, with photo finishes declared for first and third places. When the smoke cleared, the favorite, Ciriaco Lapid’s Royal Academy, was declared the winner by a mere nostril, relegating Banay Banay to second, Away We Go to third, and Royal Scepter to fourth.

Royal Academy was well-steered by young rider Apoy Asuncion, who was elevated from the apprentice ranks not too long ago. The time for their 1000-meter sprint was 1:04.

This week, the races are being held at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park, and their highlight races this coming Sunday are five major races sponsored by thePhilippine Charity Sweepstakes Office – the PCSO Special Maiden Race, named for PCSO chairperson Margarita Juico; and four other trophy races named for the four PCSO directors – lawyers Mabel Mamba, Maria Aleta Tolentino, and Francisco Joaquin; and Betty Nantes. PCSO general manager lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II will also be attending the PCSO races.

Next raceweek at Santa Ana Park will see the staging of the “MARHO Kinse” event – the 15th MARHO Cup racing festival sponsored by San Miguel Beer, PCSO, Philippine Racing Commission, PRC, Hygain Feeds, and Ciara Marie Foundation. The coming months will see more special horseracing events and the same track, including the 38th PCSO Presidential Gold Cup on December 12. ***

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THW: Don Juan Races a Success

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 27 October 2010, Wednesday

Don Juan Races a Success

Congratulations to the officers and members of the Klub Don Juan de Manila on their successful staging of the 9th Don Juan Derby racing Festival! Held last raceweek at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park, the event featured four major races and minor trophy races scattered throughout the week.

Longshots ruled in the major races, with only one favorite scoring a win. Top choice Yes Pogi got back at rival Carriedo to bag the coveted Don Juan Derby trophy.

Yes Pogi, winner of two legs of this year’s Triple Crown Championship for 3YO, hung back of the field in his customary style to come from behind and win by a length-and-a-half. Owned by Francis Lim, trained by Felix Lauron, and ridden by Manolito Daquis, Yes Pogi is expected to perform well in the rest of the year’s prime competitions, such as the MARHO Cup racing festival.

In the other major races, Jun Paman’s Dailies won the Don Antonio Floirendo Golden Girls Stakes; SC Stockfarm’s Lord of War scored in the KDJM Juvenile Colts; and Antonio Floirendo’s Indy’s Task crossed the wire first in the KDJM Juvenile Fillies.

It was a rousing, well-managed event, and credit goes to the present leadership of KDJM for a job well done – president Ferdie Dimaisip, vice-presidents Manny Santos and Bayani Coching, corporate secretary Robert Francisco, treasurer Cesar Avila, and directors Tonyboy Eleazar, Ryan Ponce, Ruben Laureano, Victor Martinez, and John Joseph Lagasca. Special mention goes to their indefatigable and energetic manager Malou Beleno.


This next bit of information is not about racing, but it is about a former equine veterinarian, Lito Borja. Those in the know will remember him as formerly connected with the Philippine Racing Club. In 2007, he left the dizzying world of the racetrack for a simple life as a gentleman farmer on 40 hectares of paradise in Orion, Bataan, three hours’ drive from Manila.

At present, Dr. Borja grows fruit trees and other cash crops, but will be adding coffee to his planting lineup soon. He has not abandoned his interest in animals and takes care of a menagerie of wild animals on his vast plantation close to Mount Samat. “You can see the lights of Manila from there,” he says.

One thing he’s considering is caring for old and retired racehorses. “I can put up a paddock,” he said, “where they can run free. The place is hilly in some parts and they can get trailriding exercise.”

Since he is cash-strapped, he cannot afford to buy horses, but is willing to take them in from horseowners and breeders who might want to farm out geldings, dry mares, retired racehorses, and so on. It sounds like a very interesting project – an old folks’ home, as it were, for Thoroughbreds. It’s a quiet and peaceful way for horses to live out the rest of their days. Horseowners who want to take Dr. Borja up on his offer can send me an email at

In November, Dr. Borja will be off to Basilan for a week, where he will do volunteer work at remote barangays and war-ravaged and poverty-stricken areas there. For ‘animaltarian’ reasons, I asked? “Humanitarian too,” he insisted. “There is endemic poverty in Mindanao and experts have concluded that it can be alleviated by providing more livelihood opportunities and improving those already existing. Vets like myself can help by giving care to their cattle, which are undersized and undernourished.”

It’s people like Dr. Borja, who unselfishly volunteer their time and effort to missions like this, who make things better for the rest of us. Let’s think of how we can, in our own little way, also contribute to the well-being of the racehorses  and cattle  and dogs and all the other fauna that share the earth with us. ***

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THW: Jockey Kelvin’s Status Still Shaky

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 22 September 2010, Wednesday

Jockey Kelvin’s Status Still Shaky

Despite protracted negotiations in an effort to restore peace and harmony within the industry, Manila Jockey Club’s chairman and CEO lawyer Alfonso R. Reyno Jr. stood firm on his decision to ban jockey Kelvin Abobo from the premises of MJC’s San Lazaro Leisure Park.

However, as of presstime, the racing club has not released any notice regarding Abobo; his status is still floating and the rider has no idea when he may resume active racing or even his morning workouts with horses at the facility in Carmona, Cavite.

Several top horseowners had written to Reyno vouching for Abobo’s character. Philippine Racing Commission chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II had also conversed with him seeking an amicable resolution to the crisis.

The case stems from two weeks ago, when Abobo was suspended by the MJC Board of Stewards for “lack of interest” on third favorite Supreme Leader. Abobo appealed to the Philracom, as provided for by law. Upon review of the race, the Philracom review committee lifted the suspension. Whereupon MJC slapped a ban on the rider.

The New Philippine Jockeys’ Association members, appalled at the lack of guidelines and criteria in the imposition of bans, contemplated a strike for this racing week, which was averted after several industry personages stepped forward to mediate.

The jockeys have never questioned MJC’s right to ban anyone from their property. However, as riders who have a job to do on the premises, they wonder at the lack of clear criteria, the bans, they say, imposed seemingly at whim.

A jockey’s work is not confined to riding in races. His day begins at four o’clock in the morning, when he works the horses assigned to him until seven or eight o’clock. Working horses is necessary for the rider to build rapport with his mount, get to know his or her habits and quirks, perform corrective measures as necessary, and so on. That is why a total ban from premises is problematic. A jockey who is forbidden from working horses at a certain track will be unable to continue his training of the horses, and may even lose these rides should the horseowner or trainer decide to hire someone else who can proceed with the required regimen at that particular track.

That is why to place a rider on ‘floating’ status spells disaster not only for the rider, but will also cause headaches for the horseowner, trainer, and the horses. The sport of racing is synergistic system – ‘synergy’ meaning, “two or more agents working together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the agents independently.” The word comes from the Greek syn-ergos – “working together”.

In the subculture of the sport, harmonious relationships are essential for the smooth flow of activities. It is almost a dance. A misstep, and the entire pattern is thrown into disarray.

The jockeys need clear guidelines on MJC’s banning of riders and request due process in the imposition of bans. It is illogical and unjust to place a rider on ‘floating’ status. And don’t make me bring up Marxist dialectics and question whether this constitutes a class struggle – the working class against the moneyed elite.


My thanks to the Philippine Racing Club, especially AVP and racing manager Dan Valmonte who arranged a tremendously exciting Communication Research trophy race last week at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. The race was named after the social science discipline I am currently studying at the doctoral level and was meant to provide my classmates and professor from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication a unique communication environment experience. The visit to the track broadened the knowledge of Dr Jose Lacson and professors Bea Lapa, Rod Rivera, Julienne Baldo, and Nina Villena regarding sport communication and subcultures within mainstream society.

After I gave them tips for the first daily double (the combination Defiant-Yes Pogi paid about P22) and they collected winnings for the first time, it seems that a couple of them are hooked enough to pursue their newfound interest in the sport. That’s how some horseracing aficionados are born – after watching the races live.

The Communication Research Trophy Race, with an added prize of fifteen thousand pesos and a trophy for the owner, was won by two-leg 2010 Triple Crown winner Yes Pogi, ridden by veteran jockey Manolito Daquis, trained by Felix Lauron, and owned by Francis Lim. ***

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THW: Of Lakambinis and Broken Records

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 25 August 2010, Wednesday

Of Lakambinis and Broken Records

It’s a rule of thumb in handicapping (choosing winners in horseracing) to opt for a colt or male horse over a filly or mare. It’s just one of those things, like taking a sprinter over a stayer in short distance races, stayers over sprinters in mid- to long-distance battles, and bays over grays and roans in bright day races.

To remove the gender factor, there are “distaff” races open only to fillies and mares, such as the Philippine Racing Commission’s annual Lakambini Stakes for local-bred 3YO fillies. Horseowners with high quality fillies take the effort and time to prepare their horses for this big-money stakes race that is usually run over a long distance.

This year it was run over 1,800 meters at Santa Ana Park last Sunday, with a slate of talented thoroughbreds coming out of their stables to compete for first prize of P720,000 put up by the Philracom, which also allotted prizes for second to fourth and for the winning breeder.

First out of the gate was the heavy favorite, Eric Tagle’s Thief in the Nite, with Cito Esquivias’s Empire Glory running off the pace. Longshot Ma’am Mika ran in third, moving up in the backstretch to grab second position before the far turn.

At the top of the stretch, Thief in the Nite was still in front but fading, allowing Ma’am Mika to take the lead. Third choice Redemption, guided by top rider Jesse Guce, staged a powerful rally in the final eighty meters to win by a length over Jun Molina’s Ma’am Mika. EB King’s Bilyonarya took third, C&H Enterprises’ Westerly Wind fourth. Total time for the race was 1:53.6.

Owned by Mandaluyong City mayor Benhur Abalos, Redemption is trained by Ruben Tupas. Sired by Sailaway out of American mare Fire Down Under, Redemption is half-sister to Mayor Abalos’s champion Ibarra, which was sired by a Cherokee Run progeny, Yonaguska.

In another special race also last Sunday, the mile-long Samahang Plaridel Race, second favorite Hot Shout, owned by Tito de Jesus’s Rolling Green Farms and ridden by John Alvin Guce, clocked 1:41 to win over placers Tiger Moon, Lakota Creek, and Okay Approve.

In last Thursday’s 2nd Mayor Ramon Bagatsing Memorial Raceday, the two 1,700 meter highlight races proved exciting with the record for that distance being broken within both races.

It’s “Horses out!” for one of the Mayor Bagatsing Day special races.

In the Division I Bagatsing Cup, third pick Thoti’s Best, steered by Daniel Camanero,  scored an upset over heavy favorite Yes Pogi and close second choice Carriedo. The time for the race was a record 1:45. Two races later, in the Division II, the Jeff Zarate-piloted Batang Tundo set the track on fire with a blistering 1:43.

Thoti’s Best flashes past Carriedo in the RDB Cup – Div I.

Though low-key compared to last year’s week-long event debut, the Bagatsing Raceday was special, with recognition given to winning grooms via cash prizes of P1,500. Sponsors Euromed, Red Bull, and Pocari Sweat had giveways packs for winning owners, trainers, jockeys, and grooms.

JennyO interviews Cong. Amado Bagatsing on the live cable TV coverage.

Meanwhile, the nomination of yearlings to the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners racing program will be accepted until October 31. A general assembly and election of officers will be held in the first or second week of September.

All in all, these are interesting times for the sport, with annual events being sustained by their founders and sponsors despite tight economic times. ***

All photos by Joselito Vilella.

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