Posts Tagged ‘horse’

THW: Can We Get Some of that Animal Kingdom?

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 3 April 2013, Wednesday

Can We Get Some of that Animal Kingdom?

            For the first time at the new Meydan racecourse in Dubai (opened in 2010), an American horse has won the prestigious Dubai World Cup, held last March 30.

According to the Dubai Racing Club, 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom “is the first American horse to win the G1 US$10 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airlines.”

Jockey Joel Rosario did a good job of guiding the Graham Motion-trained Animal Kingdom on the all-weather track surface, pulling away down the stretch and holding off a late fast charge by Red Cadeaux to win by two.

Red Cadeaux came in second, Planteur third.

The last American horse to win the Dubai World Cup was Well Armed in 2009.

The Dubai Cup, although a relatively new event as elite horse races go, has been graced by many legendary athletes of the sport. The inaugural race in 1996 was also won by an American – Cigar, ridden by Jerry Bailey.

The best time for the race belongs to the British-bred Dubai Millenium, which clocked 1:59.5 under Frankie Dettori, while the only other horse to also post a time below two minutes was Invasor; the Argentine-bred horse was steered by Fernando Jara, and their time was only the merest fraction off the race record at 1:59.97.

Prior to the race, Animal Kingdom was acquired by the Australian firm Arrowfield Stud for breeding purposes, but this win opens up the possibility that they may still keep on racing this plucky 5YO.

I look forward to his progeny because he has an interesting bloodline. Animal Kingdom was sired by the Brazilian-bred Leroidesanimaux (French for “king of the animals”) out of the German-bred dam Dalicia, who was never raced on dirt.

Leroidesanimaux was raced in the US and his overall performance in the 2005 was so impressive that he received the Eclipse Award for American Champion Male Turf Horse. His sire was Candy Stripes (with Nearco and Northern Dancer blood), who also sired the fast and furious Invasor. Animal Kingdom is Leroisdesanimaux’s most accomplished offspring to date.

Will our horseowners and breeders will somehow be able to import a horse from this family? We can only hope.

* * * * *

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Committee on Races released the list of nominated horses for the April 27 3YO Open Special Maiden Race at Metro Manila Turf Club in Malvar, Batangas.

It will be the first PCSO race held at the industry’s newest venue, which began its first official week of racing operations last February.

Entered to run the 1,200-meter race are lawyer Ramon Bagatsing Jr.’s colt Shaheed, to be guided by jockey Ronald Baldonido; Jose Miguel Chuidian’s filly Grand Charmer, with Val Dilema; Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos’s colt Rabble Rouser, with Philippine Sportswriters Association 2012 Jockey of the Year Jonathan Hernandez;

Jade Brothers Farm’s filly Blue Angel with John Alvin Guce; Miguel Yulo’s filly Golden Boots, with Antonio Alcasid Jr.; Melaine Habla’s filly Green Lover, with Mark Alvarez; and Herminio Esguerra’s filly Daragang Magayon, with Jeffril Zarate.

The race trial will be held on April 12. ***

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THW: Who is Hagdang Bato?

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 27 March 2013, Wednesday

Who is Hagdang Bato?

Hagdang Bato – “stone staircase,” and the name of a place in Mandaluyong City – is rightly regarded as the best Thoroughbred on the tracks today, and with good reason.

His record stands at 17 wins out of 18 runs (the lone loss was a second place finish) with earnings of P15.8 million as of February 13 this year, barely a couple of months into his fourth year.

He was valedictorian of his juvenile year and topnotcher of his three-year-old (3YO) season as well for sweeping the Philippine Triple Crown series, the first to do so in nine years since Silver Story.

He holds a track record – 1:37.8 for the mile, posted with regular rider Jonathan Hernandez during the 19 August 2012 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Grand Derby at Santa Ana Park.

So impressive are his record and past performances that the Philippine Sportswriters Association crowned him the 2012 Horse of the Year, and Hernandez, Jockey of the Year.

Hagdang Bato’s most recent major win was the March 9 Philippine Racing Commission Commissioner’s Cup at Santa Ana Park in honor of former commissioner and star jockey Eduardo “Boboc” C. Domingo Jr.

Hagdang Bato’s owner, Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos, is justly proud of this product of his breeding regimen.

“Buyer lang ako ng kabayo noon; ang maganda, breeder na ako ngayon,” he said. Abalos has bred other champions in his five years or so as a Thoroughbred breeder, among them Ibarra, Redemption, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office stakes race winners Cat’s Silver, Bumpy Ride, Never Cease, and El Libertador.

“As a breeder,” he went on, “the feeling is overwhelming. Andoon na ang luck. But all this is not a fluke. With just a small but reliable band of six broodmares and a system based on fundamental principles, we are getting good results.”

Hagdang Bato was sired by Quaker Ridge (a Herma Farms stallion) out of Abalos’s broodmare Fire Down Under, which he imported from the United States in 2004.

Fire Down Under earned $47,814 in 13 starts, and comes from a lineage that’s predominantly Northern Dancer (a “sire of sires”), with, interestingly enough, some Sham blood (called “one of the fastest racehorses of the 20th century”, but overshadowed by his contemporary Secretariat).

Quaker Ridge, on the other hand, provides a “balance to the Force” with his Forty Niner and Mr. Prospector blood. He earned $95,610 in seven starts before being sent to the Philippines in 2006.

Abalos says there are many factors that go into breeding. “Choosing bloodlines, nutrition for the mare while pregnant – those are all important,” he said, “along with the proper pasture, a good jockey, and a knowledgeable trainer.”

He is sentimental about the very first horse he acquired nine years ago, Dandansoy, which recently died, the Mayor said, giving birth to a large Quaker Ridge colt “which we will hand-raise on goat’s milk.”

As for his racing operations, Abalos attributes his success to careful programming of races – “hindi ako nanlalaspag ng kabayo,” he said. “I don’t double-run my horses and I select their races carefully, like in the case of Hagdang Bato. I don’t enter him in all the big races, such as last December’s Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco Cup.”

“My horse is still young,” he added. “His conditioning especially at this point is important. The Horse of the Year award makes it all complete, that’s why I don’t overwork him.”

What else is in store for Hagdang Bato?

“We are preparing him for the PCSO Silver Cup in June and the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup in December,” Abalos said.

Other races may yet be in the offing in 2013 for this supercolt, but one thing’s for certain – he has already secured himself a permanent place in racing history as one of the sport’s greatest racehorses.   ***

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THW: Philracom Raises Fees; MetroTurf, No Love for Jockeys?

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 20 March 2013, Wednesday

Philracom Raises Fees; MetroTurf, No Love for Jockeys?

Some horseowners reacted against the Philippine Racing Commission’s latest move for revenue generation – raising licensing and other fees.

“As it is, we are having financial difficulties maintaining our racing operations,” he said, “without the added cost of the increased fees.”

Nearly all licensing fees were doubled, some were tripled, only a few remained unchanged; for instance, horseowner’s licenses are now pegged at P1,000 from P500, horse registrations at P600 from P300, and so on.

In letters sent recently to industry members, the Philracom said that the fees have not been raised for many years and that the new fee schedule was arrived at in consultation with the Department of Finance.

The fee increases were approved by the Office of the President (Philracom being under the OP) in Administrative Order No. 31 dated 1 October 2012 for implementation in 2013.

Philracom announced this last year in a notice dated December 13 and in a letter sent to the three horseowners’ organizations last December 14.

The difficulty here is balancing government agencies’ imposition of realistic fees against the public perception that government is not supposed to make profits (unless the agency is a government-owned and –controlled corporation which has that mandate).

In any case, an order is an order, and if it comes from the OP upon the recommendation of the DoF, it’s pretty much a done deal.

* * * * *

Jockeys are wondering why the management of Metro Manila Turf Club, which  operates a spanking-new racetrack in Malvar, Batangas, has no love for jockeys unlike that lavished upon the horseowners and trainers.

Huge tarps at the track welcome owners and trainers, but not jockeys.

Raffles to entice participation in Metro Turf races offer motorcycles to owners and jackets to trainers, but nothing to jockeys.

A room designated for women jockeys was made available for the jockeys’ use, but later closed off, despite there being no active women riders at the moment. When the jockeys asked that the room be opened to them again, their request was refused.

Why are jockeys being considered second-class citizens at Metro Turf? Is it  because they are perceived to be devoid of influence where a horse will run or not, unlike horseowners and some trainers who can make such decisions?

The reality is that jockeys can and do make recommendations to their owners where to run their horses, because jockeys, more than trainers, know where their horses run best.

Metro Turf’s attitudes toward jockeys reflects the cultural hegemony of the racing world – where racing club owners and horseowners, as capitalists, are the top-ranked members of the milieu.

The trainers and jockeys are the working-class citizens who perforce have to comply with the demands and desires of the dominant groups, with the trainers a rung higher on the hierarchy ladder because many of them are also stable managers and make operational choices, including which jockeys to hire.

While this situation is, in general, the norm, most horseowners and the two other clubs – Philippine Racing Club and Manila Jockey Club – treat the jockeys with more respect, as their valued partners in industry endeavors.

The jockeys have in fact extended bend-over-backward cooperation to Metro Turf. One night during the first week of operations at Malvar, the track lights failed, causing a delay in the races. When they came back on, some bulbs remained non-functional.

The jockeys, not wishing to cause any further setbacks to the night’s schedule, gave their agreement to Metro Turf stewards for the races to proceed.

When Philracom Chairman Angel Castaño Jr. learned about this, he scolded the officers of the jockeys’ association, saying they should have put “safety first” principles ahead of accommodation.

What did the jockeys get for their pains?

They recently pointed out to Metro Turf that they felt there was some danger at the 1,200-meter distance, which is placed in a curving chute. They asked that a limit of seven horses be imposed to reduce risk of accidents.

They got the sarcastic reply:  “Why, we can’t have 13 horses?”

I checked with the jockeys while writing this to confirm that they still aren’t getting any love from Metro Turf.

Their answer: “It’s getting worse.”

Given all these, the jockeys say, “We will not compromise next time.”


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THW: Mayor Abalos Scores Anew

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 13 March 2013, Wednesday

Mayor Abalos Scores Anew

It’s looking like 2013 is Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos’s year as he keeps on scoring win after win with the mighty and talented horses occupying his stables at the moment.

Last Saturday at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite was a double for him with his Hagdang Bato and Stand In Awe dominating their respective races.

Hagdang Bato, Abalos’s prize colt, easily romped away with the Philippine Racing Commission Commissioner’s Cup. Only three others joined the race, with one being Hagdang Bato stablemate Barkley.

Hagdang Bato won wire-to-wire under gentle handling by jockey Jonathan Hernandez. They clocked 1:56.2 (14-24-25’-27’) for the 1,800-meter race. Righthererightnow came in second, Tensile Strength third, Barkley last.

Stand in Awe, while sent off as second favorite in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race, trounced top favorite Gee’s for Victory who had to settle for second in a contest that saw Abalos’s 3YO colt come from behind at the home turn.

Golden Sphinx checked in third, Dream of All Fourth. Time for the race was 1:15.2 (25’-23’-26’) for 1,200 meters.

* * * * *

            Congratulations to the Klub Don Juan de Manila for staging another successful event – the 1st Actors Guild racing festival last March 10 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

Actors Guild president Philip Salvador coordinated with KDJM to raise funds for the Guild’s charity efforts in behalf of underprivileged actors, stuntmen, doubles, and their families.

There were ten races with generous prizes, with the majors being two P500,000 races sponsored by casino and entertainment complex Resorts World – the Rudy “Daboy” Fernandez Memorial Cup won by Marlon Cunanan’s Crucis, and the Senator Ramon “Agimat” Revilla Sr. Cup claimed by Bayani Coching’s The Guardian.

There were five races with guaranteed P300,000 in prizes each, and three with added prizes of P30,000 to the winner. Among the sponsors were Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr., Jade Brothers Farm of Manny Santos, Excel Coil, Manila Horsepower, and Tony Calvento.

The event was star-studded with the attendance of veteran actors Salvador, Bong Revilla, Tirso Cruz III, and Rez Cortez, as well as entertainers Amy Torres, Polo Ravalles, and Luis Alandy. Also there were Efren Reyes Jr. and Cong. Oscar Malapitan.

KDJM, by the way, is accepting nominations until June 30 for the this year’s Don Juan Derby festival in October. Contact Malou Beleno who singlehandedly runs the KDJM Secretariat to nominate thoroughbred weanlings of 2012, yearlings of 2011, and 2YO of 2010. ***

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THW: Hagdang Bato on Saturday

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today. 6 March 2013, Wednesday

Hagdang Bato on Saturday

The Philracom Commissioner’s Cup takes place on Saturday at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, in honor of former commissioner Eduardo “Boboc” Coscolluela Domingo Jr.

He was once one of the most famous jockeys of the sport during the ‘80s and

‘90s. He rode the undefeated superfilly Sun Dancer of the mighty Toshio Abe stable and many other champions besides.

Boboc later carved a career in racing broadcasting and management. He suffered a stroke last year from which he is recovering. Holding a race in his honor is a recognition he richly deserves.

This year’s edition is a walk in the park for 2012 Horse of the Year Hagdang Bato, who will be running with coupled entry Barkley. There are only two other horses, Right Here Right Now and Tensile Strength. Another horse pulled out of the race.

Seems like Hagdang Bato has the competition running scared.

Also to be held on the same day is the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Special Maiden Race (3YO Open). Running in the 1,200-meter race are:

Felix Lumabas’s colt Aison Me with jockey Red de Leon carrying 54.5 kgs., Rita Bustamante’s colt Don Andres (Val Dilema, 54.5), Tony Tan’s filly Dream of All (Mark Alvarez, 53), Ed  Gonzalez’s filly Gee’s for Victory (Jonathan Hernandez, 53), Benhur Abalos’s colt Stand in Awe (Jesse Guce, 54.5), Honorato Neri’s colt Golden Sphinx (Antonio Alcasid, 54.5), and Divina Dy’s filly Diana Beatrice (Pat Dilema, 53).

Gee’s for Victory won the trial last February 28, clocking 1:16’ for 1,200 meters, followed closely by Stand In Awe. The other arrivals, in order, were Golden Sphinx, Dream of All, Don Andres, Aison Me, and Diana Beatrice last.


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THW: First Week of Racing At Malvar

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 27 February 2013, Wednesday

First Week of Racing At Malvar

The first season at new horseracing club MetroTurf got off to a shaky start last week but gained momentum over the weekend on the strength of strong support showed by horseowner Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos.

The Philippine Racing Commission, the sport’s governing body, gave MetroTurf a permit to operate this year, incorporating it into the 2013 official racing calendar along with decades-old Manila Jockey Club and Philippine Racing Club, both of which have racetracks in Cavite.

Because of technical constraints and other concerns, MetroTurf was unable to start its operations in January. Philracom gave them an entire raceweek starting Tuesday, February 19.

MetroTurf’s races were sparsely populated at first. Only six races were held on Tuesday. The declaration of entries for the following day were extended until midnight, something previously unheard of.

Despite this move, no races were held on Wednesday. Only seven were formed for Thursday, and five on Friday.

There are usually eight races from Tuesday to Thursday and nine on Friday at MJC and PRC.

Weekends often see 12 to 13 races held; MetroTurf only managed seven on Saturday and 12 on Sunday, for total of 37 races for the raceweek. The average number of races for a week is 55 to 59.

To entice horseowners to declare their entries, the weekend races were lavishly gilded with guaranteed and additional prizes.

However, Mayor Abalos’s full support for the weekend races was the deciding factor that increased the momentum of MetroTurf’s first week. Abalos turned out his best horses, attracting racing fans’ attention.

On Sunday, Abalos’s Cat’s Silver won the Leopoldo Prieto II stakes race for 3YO fillies while his El Libertador triumphed in the Leopoldo Prieto III race for 3YO colts.

Both horses were guided by Philippine Sportswriters Association Jockey of the Year Jonathan Hernandez. They will see action in this year’s Triple Crown series for elite 3YO.

Despite having fewer races for the raceweek, sales at MetroTurf weren’t bad, grossing P99.9 million (the average is P146 million). Horse prizes were around P230,000, not too far from the average P240,000 to P260,000. Sunday sales were at P34.2 million, slightly better than the average P32 to 33 million.

However, jockeys deplored the “abnormally hard track conditions” as seen in faster-than-average track times at MetroTurf. Describing the outer parts of the track as “like asphalt,” one jockey opined that this may have contributed to the breakdown of at least two horses up to Friday.

In addition, some track lights failed on Thursday night, causing a thirty-minute delay.

Growing pains, or not ready to race? The jury’s still out on this. Let’s see what happens next.

Meanwhile, the races go to a “2-2-2” schedule this week, with each of the three racing clubs holding two days of racing, one after another, and in rotation.

This scheme hopes to maximize the number of racedays per track, and to fairly allot the racing days spread over the year.   ***

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THW: Hagdang Bato Wins PCSO Freedom Cup

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 20 February 2013, Wednesday

Hagdang Bato Wins PCSO Freedom Cup

Outstanding favorite Hagdang Bato (Quaker Ridge x Fire Down Under) extended his winning ways by scoring in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Freedom Cup held last Sunday at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

Once again, the high-achieving colt of Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos faced off against the sport’s best import, Javier, Leyte Mayor Sandy Javier’s Magna Carta.

The last time they battled was also at a PCSO race – the Presidential Gold Cup held December 9 last year at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park.

Hagdang Bato won that 2,000-meter race, but then he carried only 54.5 kgs. while Magna Carta bore 58 kgs.

This time around, the scenario was similar – Magna Carta carried a heavier impost of 58.5 kgs. while Hagdang Bato was handed 55.

Magna Carta ran in front for most of the mile Freedom Cup with Hagdang Bato clinging to his flank, until the far turn when jockey Jonathan Hernandez urged Hagdang Bato.

They shot past the erstwhile frontrunner and steadily burned up the remaining distance to win by four lengths, posting 1:41 (25-23’-25-27’).

Magna Carta came in second, followed by Hagdang Bato stablemate Barkley, Maker’s Mark, High Voltage, and Chevrome, in that order.

On hand to present the awards from PCSO were: vice-chairman and general manager lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, and from the Committee on Races, lawyer Jose T. Malang (chairman), Carlos Castillo and Desoto Tupas (vice-chairmen), and Betsy Paruginog and Orlando Malaca (members). They were accompanied by MJC racing manager Jose Ramon Magboo.

In the Philracom-MJC Sorteo Cup held the same day, second favorite State Witness proved herself the best sprinter in a field of twelve, clocking 1:02.4 (13-23-26’) for 1,000 meters.

The Alvin Ferreras-owned veteran racemare, partnered by jockey Patricio Dilema, came from fourth position to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Chinoi. Jade and Diamond placed third, Dragon May fourth.

The awarding ceremony was graced by MJC Chairman lawyer Alfonso R. Reyno Jr., Philracom Executive Director Jesus B. Cantos, and Cavite congressman Roy Loyola, whose birthday it was that day.

Meanwhile, the PCSO Special Maiden race for 3YO held the previous day also at SLLP was a shocker, with longshot Azimuth (Winemaster x Fuzzy Wit) scoring an upset over the super-hyper-mega-ultra outstanding favorite Appointment.

Eduardo E. Gonzalez’s Appointment carried the bulk of the sales, mainly because it won the trial for the race some weeks prior to the actual run. Azimuth was second-to-the-last choice.

Said Azimuth’s owner-trainer, Tarlac congressman Jeci A. Lapus: “My colt stumbled slightly when it jumped out of the gate during the trial and made a poor showing that time, but we were confident it would do well and we pinned our hopes on it.”

Paired with rider Patricio Dilema, Azimuth ran off the pace with second pick Skydrifter in the lead until claiming front spot in the stretch to pull away from the pack and win by five lengths.

Appointment came in second, Skydrifter third, and Magical Boy fourth. Queen Quaker was scratched at the gate when it broke free during loading.

The time for the 1,300 –meter race was 1:22.8 (6’-24-25-27).

* * * * *

Horseowner/breeder Antonio V. Tan’s stallion Reenact is now standing at his Native Land Ranch for only P10,000 per live foal. Interested persons can email me for more information. Taga-karera can also go through the usual channels.


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THW: PCSO Freedom Cup, Special Maiden Race

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 13 February 2013, Wednesday

PCSO Freedom Cup, Special Maiden Race

Hagdang Bato versus Magna Carta again – what would you give to see a rematch between the two?

The last time the two met was at the Ruby Anniversary edition of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s flagship race – the Presidential Gold Cup.

Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos’s Hagdang Bato, valedictorian of his juvenile class the previous year, trounced stellar import Magna Carta wire-to-wire over 2,000 meters at Santa Ana Park, no mean feat.

However, Michael Dragon Javier’s Magna Carta was laboring under a heavy disadvantage – a 58 kilogram handicap weight, to be exact – and it was perhaps only to be expected that he placed a spent third.

But once again, PCSO provides a chance for Hagdang Bato, named Philtobo Horse of the Year last week at the Gintong Lahi Awards, to cement his reputation, and for Magna Carta to redeem himself.

Both are entered in the PCSO Freedom Cup this Sunday. To be run over a mile at San Lazaro Leisure Park, the all-colt race also features Hagdang Bato stablemate Barkley, Wilfredo Yason’s Chevrome, and Herminio Esguerra’s High Voltage and Maker’s Mark.

Let’s talk handicap weight again. Hagdang Bato will be carrying 55 kgs. under jockey Jonathan Hernandez, as will Chevrome; the others will be bearing 55.5 kgs., save for Magna Carta under Jesse Guce who has been assigned a staggering impost of 58.5 kgs.

This gives a 3.5 kilo advantage to Hagdang Bato, and this will prove to be a decisive factor in the outcome of the race. I admire the bravery and sportsmanship of the Javiers to run Magna Carta under this circumstance. It’s “may the best horse” win for them, with all the conditions imposed by the sport.

This is definitely a must-see – a battle no serious racing aficionado should miss.

But wait, there’s more from PCSO this weekend. On Saturday, also at SLLP, will be this month’s 3YO Open over 1,300 meters.

The lineup comprises Ronaldo Tan’s Magical Boy (colt, 54.5 kgs.), Eduardo Gonzalez’s Appointment (filly, 53), Esguerra’s Queen Quaker (filly, 53), Abalos’s Skydrifter (filly, 53), and Tarlac congressman Jeci Lapus’s Azimuth (colt, 54.5).

Appointment won the January 29 trial race, clocking 1:24.4 over 1,300 meters, followed by Sky Drifter, Queen Quaker, Azimuth, Magical Boy, and Sure Class.


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THW: “2-2-2” Racing Schedule is Official

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 30 January 2013, Wednesday

“2-2-2” Racing Schedule is Official

The Philippine Racing Commission signed last January 25 a resolution giving two racing days each every week to the racetracks of Manila Jockey Club, Philippine Racing Club, and Metro Manila Turf Club.

To be exact, Resolution No. 05-13 states that “the three racing clubs will have two days’ race schedule each and such schedule shall be implemented beginning the third week of February 2013.”

I mentioned this in one of my previous columns as being one of the scheduling options being mulled over by the Commission in its efforts to apportion the number of racing days in as fair and equitable manner as possible given the unusual circumstances.

All sectors of the industry, as well as aficionados and racing partners such as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, are awaiting the revised racing calendar which allots the racedays to specific tracks.

For one thing, PCSO might have to redo its 2013 racing schedule with regards to dates and venues.

The horseowners’ tri-organization comprising MARHO, Philtobo, and Klub Don Juan de Manila have written Philracom asking to be furnished the racing calendar.

Once again they expressed their dismay over the lack of consultation with their sector.

“While we do not wish to disrupt the prerogative of the Philracom on the scheduling of races,” said the tri-org in its letter, “and with due respect to the franchise laws of the three racing clubs, we express our serious concern and reservations that once again, the racehorse owners were never consulted on this very important matter.

“The horseowners are major investors in this industry; without our horses, there can be no racing. Allowing each club to run two days each in a raceweek will affect the economics of our operations in terms of transport cost and possible further loss of income for the horseowners.”

Trailer operators say that they will charge transport fees of P5,000 per horse from PRC’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite to MetroTurf in Malvar, Batangas, and P3,000 per horse from MJC’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite to Malvar.

It would indeed make horseowners think twice to transport horses merely running in barrier trials or in races to move down groups (they have no chance of earning prize money in these situations).

For the jockeys, it will be “an inconvenience, but a minor one,” said New Philippine Jockeys Association president Antonio B. Alcasid Jr. “Everybody has to adjust.”

* * * * *

The horseowners’ tri-org was gratified by Philracom’s swift and positive response to their letter on the 3YO-to-4YO handicapping issue.

The Commission assured the tri-org that as they requested, the 3YO-to-4YO handicapping guidelines Philracom issued would be held in abeyance and that the handicapping function would be transferred from Philracom to the racing clubs by February 5.

On the horseowners’ request that “money earned” be the basis for handicapping, the Commission replied that they have “already established the fundamentals for the club handicappers to adopt” in order to “carry out a fair and systematic racing culture” while maintaining the Philracom’s “oversight function” to “ensure and maintain the integrity of horseracing.”

A subsequent letter from the Commission to the tri-org asked the horseowners to provide a “consolidated recommendation on guidelines about the transition of 3YO to 4YO.”

The tri-org submitted yesterday their proposed guidelines, a class-division (CD) system based on prize earnings.

They will also be creating a simplified CD system for 2YO-to-3YO racing. As conceived by former Philracom chairman Andrew Sanchez, the scheme groups 2YO into CD groups; they will laterally move to the same CD group in the 3YO racing system the following year (for example, a 2YO in CD 4 exits to 3YO – CD 4).

* * * * *

A public hearing was held in the Senate yesterday on the “Philippine Thoroughbred Racing Authority” bill authored by congressmen Amado Bagatsing, Jeci Lapus, and others.

The meeting was presided over by Senator Ralph Recto, chairman of the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises.

The bill seeks to transform the nature of Philracom from the usual sort of government agency into a government-owned-and-controlled corporation.

Racing industry leaders attended the hearing. More on this later as it develops.

* * * * *

Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos scored in the January 26 PCSO Special Maiden race for 3YO with the wire-to-wire win of his entry El Libertador at Santa Ana Park.

The Perfect Cut x Savanna Wind colt clocked 1:15.6 (26-23’-26) over 1,200 meters with Kelvin Abobo on board. The trainer is Jojo Angeles.

Royal Maverick, Top Story, and Kidney’s Magic were the placers, in that order.

In the January 29 trial for the PCSO Special Maiden race to be held next month in SLLP, Appointment hit the wire first doing 1:24.4 over 1,300 meters, followed by Sky Drifter, Queen Quaker, Azimuth, Magical Boy, and Sure Class.


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THW: “2-2-2” Racing Schedule Days, Trainers’ Issue

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 6 February 2013, Wednesday

“2-2-2” Racing Schedule Days, Trainers’ Issue

The Philippine Racing Commission held a multi-sectoral meeting last Monday where they came up with the schedule of racing days to be allotted to the three racing clubs.

According to New Philippine Jockeys Association (NPJA) president Antonio B. Alcasid Jr., the day pairings that remain constant are Tuesday and Friday (initial allotment to Santa Ana Park); Wednesday and Saturday (San Lazaro Leisure Park); and Thursday and Sunday (Metro Turf).  The day pairings and tracks are then rotated the succeeding week, and so on.

As anticipated, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, that sponsors horse races nearly every month, will have to revise their racing schedules accordingly. They have already requested for formal advise on this matter from Philracom.

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I occupy my idle moments by reading the Philracom “Blue Book” (handbook of Rules and Regulations on Horseracing, as of December 2010), and sometimes find some rules that are confusing.

Take PR 28-A on “Qualifications of Trainers.” It provides that a candidate must be “a Filipino citizen, of legal age, of good moral character, physically and mentally fit, at least a high school graduate, has undergone Apprentice Program [sic] for at least one year under the Philippine Race Horse Trainers Association Incorporated [PRHTA] and endorsed by the same, and has passed the examination given by the Philracom.”

For some years previously, only members of PRHTA were allowed to be given licenses as trainers. However, this was overturned by several cases:

Case 1: Horseowners who want to become trainers: one of the most prominent examples of this case is Congressman Jeci Lapus. A horseowner for over thirty years, he applied to be a trainer some years back. He was not allowed initially because he was not a member of the PRHTA; however, he cited the cases of owners who presumably were issued trainers’ licenses when the ruling was different, such as Mayor Leonardo Javier Jr.

In addition, Congressman Lapus added that as a horseowner, he has the right to do what he wants with his own horses, even train them himself. If he breaks them, that’s his caveat.

Recently, top owners Herminio S. Esguerra and Eduardo E. Gonzalez were also issued trainers’ licenses. Three percent is deducted from their trainers’ share of the prize money and remitted to the trainers’ fund. They do not receive any benefits.

Is this fair?

Case 2: Independent trainers like Bobby Ungson, who for years was barred from membership in the PRHTA for some unknown reason. Finally, he agreed to forego receiving benefits from the group in exchange for membership, as long as he remits three percent of his prize money earnings.

Is this fair?

However, there are people who are still unable to obtain trainer’s licenses, such as retired trainers who received their benefits from the PRHTA but want to return to active training. Case 3: Veterinarian and multi-awarded trainer Antonio C. Alcasid Sr. received his retirement benefits some years ago, intending to spend his golden years in the US. That didn’t work out and he returned to the Philippines. The PRHTA refused to re-admit him to the group, even if he, like Ungson, was willing to remit to them the share of his earnings and forego receiving benefits. He still does not have a license.

Is this fair?

It is clear under PR 28-A that one need not be a member of the PRHTA to get a license, only pass their apprenticeship course. But how about those people who are well qualified enough to be a trainer without having to undergo that course, like veterinarians with racing experience and retired jockeys?

Why will not passing the Philracom examination for trainers suffice?

Contrast PR 28-A with PR 29-A, “Qualifications of Jockeys”: “The jockey must be a Filipino citizen, of legal age, of good moral character, physically and mentally fit, at least a high school graduate, and weighing not more than 52 kilograms.”

Why does it not explicitly provide that jockeys have to undergo the training provided for by the NPJA, although the practice is for would-be professional riders to go through two year’s of apprenticeship in the Jockeys’ Academy?

PR 35 describes “Apprentice Jockeys” and PR 36, “Student Jockeys,” but these rules are mere descriptions.

Again, going by the rule alone, anyone who fits the qualifications in PR 29-A may presumably be granted a license.

It’s time that the racing rules be revisited for fairness and consistency.


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