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philippine racing club

THW: Longshots Rule 3rd leg Triple Crown, PSA Cup

by Jenny on August 16, 2011

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

Longshots Rule 3rd leg Triple Crown, PSA Cup

Racing is full of surprises, and last weekend saw a couple of upsets in the big races that drew more than the usual number of fans to the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.

Last Sunday, two interesting races were held, both sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission – the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown and the Philippine Sportswriters Association Cup.

The Triple Crown is the championship series for elite local-born 3YO – only the very best may join. The entries in the PSA Cup, in contrast, were drawn from the class-divisions and the race was a grab-bag of feisty veterans aged four to nine.

In the Triple Crown, all eyes were on the favorite Magna Carta, who triumphed in the second leg and placed second in the first. The colt owned by Michael Dragon Javier faced off against twelve other foes over 2,000 meters.

But when the dust cleared, it was far second choice Tensile Strength first at the wire. Ridden by star jockey Jeffril Zarate, the Manuel Vicente-trained filly bested the rest of the field, including ten colts, to win by three.

The Rock placed second, Cheese Mosa third, and Barkley fourth. Magna Carta did not feature among the placers.

The splits for the race were 24.4-23.4-25.4-25.8-27.6 for a total time of 2:06.6. Tensile Strength’s win was worth P1.8 million for her owner, former Philracom commissioner Felizardo “Jun” Sevilla Jr.

In the Philracom-Philippine Sportswriters Association Cup, second-to-that-last-favorite Ferrarione shocked the overflow crowd at Santa Ana Park by outlasting the frontrunner Barefoot Contessa, yet another longshot.

The 9YO veteran horse owned and trained by Tarlac congressman Jeci Lapus was the oldest entry among the ten-horse field. He came off a 209-day spell well-rested enough to come from behind and clobber his foes in the stretch.

Lapus Stable star jockey Red de Leon saw a gap by the rails and cleverly positioned Ferrarione inside, saving ground and overtaking eventual second-placer Barefoot Contessa before the wire.

Speedy McKie took third and heavy favourite Nine Dragon settled for fourth. Quarters for the 1,300-meter race were set at 7’-23-23-26’ for a total time of 1:19.8. S

Present at the awarding ceremony were PSA officers Teddyvic Melendres, sports editor of Philippine Daily Inquirer (president); Riera Mallari, sports editor of Manila Standard-Today (secretary); Joe Antonio, sports editor of People’s Journal (treasurer); and Aldrin Cardona, sports editor of Daily Tribune (Board member and past president).

With them representing the host club was racing manager and assistant vice-president Dan Valmonte, while I was there too as a member of PSA.

Last Saturday, the 2,000-meter Philracom Hopeful Stakes saw Prime Rate emerge victorious, followed by Thirdy Thirdy in second, Midnight Myth third, and Sir Ferdinand fourth.

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As I promised last week, here’s a little more on the planned Malvar-Tanauan, Batangas Metro Manila Turf Club racing facility of horseowner-businessman Norberto Quisumbing Jr., PhD. “Dr. NQ”, as he is fondly called, anticipates that in the next two years, the key facilities in the racing cluster shall be completed.

Around 250 workers will be employed in the first phase of construction in the third quarter of this year and increase to 500 in December 2011.  ***

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THW: Philtobo Races

by Jenny on January 3, 2011

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 29 December 2010, Wednesday

Philtobo Races

The Philippine Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Organization staged an interesting event last Sunday at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park – the 11th running of the Philtobo Grand Championships.

The Santa Ana Park-Philtobo 3YO Colts championship was taken by second pick Thoti’s Best. The Wilbert Tan-owned colt steered by Daniel Camañero nudged out favorite Gastambide to claim the P240,000 first prize. Its counterpart PGA Cars-Philtobo 3YO Fillies race was won by Narciso Morales’ Tiger Moon.

Ralph Javier’s Arvin Dugo shone in the Papiroman Farms-Philtobo 2YO Colts race, while Aida and Joe Arceo’s Restless Heart proved her dominance in the Herma Farms & Stud-Philtobo 2YO Fillies stakes.

The top honor in the Philippine Racing Commission-Philtobo Juvenile championship was claimed by Herminio Esguerra’s Pritil, guided by ace rider Jonathan Hernandez and trained by Bogie Fernandez. The trio repeated their winning ways in the 2,000-meter Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office-Philtobo Classic championship with the pride of their stable, Go Army.

Fans looking forward to coming races must watch a special year-ender on December 31 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park, when retiring local-bred horses will have their last hurrah during the Philracom Farewell Stakes race. The 2,000-meter battle will have total prizes of P500,000 allocated from first to fourth places.

Horses are allowed to race until they are 12YO. Since all local-born horses are considered to be Northern Hemisphere-bred, meaning they all turn a year older on January 1, all horses that will turn 13 on the first day of the 2011 will be allowed to participate in this final event of the year.

Also at SLLP on January 9 will be the first Philracom stakes race of the new year – the Garnet I, first leg of the Imported/Local Challenge series. To be run over a mile, the nominated entries are Fierce Fighter, For Bond Only, Mr. Diamond, Multiply, The Next Big Thing, and coupled entries Indy Hay and Juggling Act.

Overall, 2010 has been kind to racing, with sales being on the upside compared to last year. I can’t give exact figures yet since they won’t be available till after the year-end – but thanks are due to the racing fans who have staunchly supported the sport come what may.

For its part, the governing body of the sport, Philracom, looks forward to more vibrant and dynamic racing in 2011, and wishes everyone a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – a sentiment that I echo with all my heart.   ***

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THW: Longshot Wins Philracom Grand Derby

by Jenny on January 3, 2011

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

Longshot Wins Philracom Grand Derby

It was a spectacular fight – the favorite fighting neck-and-neck against the longshot in the Philippine Racing Commission’s year-ender, the Grand Derby, held last Sunday at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park.

The winner of the 2,000-meter 3YO-locals only race was an upstart, Marlon Cunanan’s Shining Armour, steered by Patricio Dilema. He took the lead, lost it, and had to rally down the stretch against the favorite, Deemark International’s Righthererightnow, which placed second in the December 12 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup.

They hit the wire almost in unison in a photo-finish that had fans tensed on the edge of their seats until Shining Armour was declared the winner of a trophy and P600,000, relegating the Deemark entry to second and P225,000.

Darleb took third and P125,000, Thoti’s Best fourth for P50,000. The total time for the race was 2:09.8. Cunanan also received the breeder’s prize of P30,000. Shining Armour’s lineage is American on both sides – Tempestuous Wind x Granddad’s Delight.

On December 26, the Philippine Racing Club showcases at its Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, the 11th edition of the Philippine Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Organization championship races.

Philtobo Juvenile Championship declared entries: Charming Santi, Dimasalang, Fargo, Gandang Pinay, Hari ng Yambao, Herran, Hi Money, Prince Isaiah, Pritil, Sha Na Na, and Sulong Pinoy.

Philtobo Classic: Bumble Bee, Go Army, Heaven Sent, Ididtmyway, and Oh Wacky.

Philtobo 3YO Colts: Air Of Distinction, Gastambide, Haz Halo, Henry Hill, Invincible, Tayuman, Thoti’s Best, and Yes Pogi.

Philtobo 3YO Fillies: Compelled To Lead, Happy Morning, Kristal’s Beauty, Money Queen, Perfect Material, Tiger Moon, Touch Of Gold, and Woodsy Ribbon.

Kicking off next year’s initial salvo of explosive races is the Philracom Garnet I, the opener of the traditional gemstone stakes series revived by Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II in 2008. A mile race, it is the first leg of the popular Imported/Local Challenge series and will be held on January 9 at Santa Ana Park. Eligible to compete are imported and local 3YO.

The Philracom Garnet II is set for January 15 at SLLP in Carmona, Cavite, and is open to 3YO local fillies that have already participated in the regular race, while their counterpart colts will have their chance to show off their skills the next day in the Garnet III. Both are also mile races.

Slated for February are the Amethyst stakes for 3YO. The Amethyst I will be held at SLLP on February 13 as a pre-Valentine’s Day offering. It is the second leg of the Imported-Local Challenge and will test the abilities of competitors over 1,750 meters.

Both the Amethyst II (for fillies) and III (for colts) are mile races to be held at Santa Ana Park on February 19 and 20.

Philracom stakes races for juveniles aren’t scheduled until June, giving the trainers and other connections of 2YO horses a chance to toughen them up the first six months of this year before the big battles commence.

In addition to calendared races such as these, additional charity or special races may also be supported by Philracom to enliven the racing programs as need be. Philracom also supports the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup with an additional P1 million prize for the winner.

With so much racing action to look forward to, it’s a great time for enthusiasts of the sport. Happy holidays to all from The Hoarse Whisperer, and may you all receive your fix of speed, strength, and success via the races! ***

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THW: Defiant Defies Odds

by Jenny on October 21, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 20 October 2010, Wednesday

Defiant Defies Odd in Sampaguita Stakes

Running neck and neck against some of the finest fillies and mares in the land, Defiant proved herself the best after winning the 2010 Sampaguita Stakes.

Sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission, the annual event showcases the top 3YO and older female horses in a grueling 1,800-meter race. Held at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, last Sunday, bettors were gratified to see that the 6YO Jun Molina-owned mare still has what it takes to win.

Defiant, sent off as second choice, galloped off the pace just behind frontrunners Heaven Sent, the favorite, and Eternal Flame. The two wore each other down, allowing Defiant to come from behind, breeze past them, and win by nearly two lengths with a total time of 1:56.7. Eternal Flame came in second, followed by a spent Heaven Sent in third, while Redemption came in fourth.

Sired by the Irish stallion Self Feeder out of American mare Defarge, Defiant has an impeccable lineage. On the sire side, Lycius her grandsire brings in Mr. Prospector and Native Dancer blood while her granddam Last Drama contributes the heritage of Sir Ivor and Somethingroyal, a Princequillo mare and the dam of celebrated champions Secretariat and Sir Gaylord.

On her dam side, Defiant possesses a nice British lineage courtesy of Hyperion, with French stallion Mahmoud also making an appearance in her pedigree.

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Meanwhile, also last raceweek at Santa Ana Park, a mishap in Saturday’s Race 6 saw the breakdowns of congressman Henry Cojuangco’s Kairel and Surround Sound which ran as coupled entries. To discuss the incident and the issue of track safety, Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners president Eric Tagle and other MARHO directors hosted a dinner the other night to which were invited various racing personages.

Among the guests present were Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, PRC’s executive vice-president lawyer Ramon P. Ereñeta and racing manager Dan Valmonte, jockeys’ association president Antonio Alcasid Jr. and director Lyndon Guce, and trainers Googie Catajan and Gil Pansoy (who trained Kairel and Surround Sound).

Apart from track condition, many other factors may influence the outcome of a race and whether a horse finishes or not. One thing that must be considered is the soundness of the horse. Since racehorses are usually worked every morning in addition to their running in races, the wear and tear on their muscles and joints is considerable. The stress may lead to the formation of hairline fractures, tendonitis, and other ailments that may lead to breakdowns.

Atty. Ereñeta said that PRC policy is to give utmost importance to maintaining the Santa Ana  Park track in good condition. To achieve this, they use all the necessary equipment such as a waterer, harrow (to break up and soften the track surface), and plancha (a heavy steel plate to seal the track and allow water to slide off the surface easily).

All things considered, the jockeys reiterated that they are satisfied with the condition of the track at Santa Ana Park.

The MARHO Board thanked Atty. Ereñeta and Mr. Valmonte for their consistent vigilance on track matters, prompt response in the case of untoward incidents, and graciousness in dealing with requests and queries coming from the various industry sectors.

The MARHO Board also took the opportunity to announce the forthcoming MARHO Cup racing festival to be held at Santa Ana Park, MARHO’s home track, on November 23 to 28. Dubbed “MARHO Kinse: The Crystal Anniversary”, the event, on its 15th edition this year, showcases the elite Thoroughbreds of the country in well-handicapped races that attract participants, spectators, and sponsors while contributing to the promotion of the sport.  ***

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THW: ‘Ber” Months and Big Races

by Jenny on September 30, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 29 September 2010, Wednesday

‘Ber’ Months and Big Races

Manila Jockey Club, owner-operator of San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite, has placed jockey Kelvin Abobo on a three-month suspension after all, said New Philippine Jockeys’ Association president Antonio Alcasid Jr.

The suspension prevents Abobo from riding in regular races at SLLP, but he may perform ensayo (morning workouts) and enter the track. The suspension does not extend to the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, nor is it a Philippine Racing Commission-sanctioned one, since the Philracom itself saw fit to lift the initial three-month suspension slapped upon Abobo last month by the MJC Board  of Stewards for alleged “lack of interest” aboard horse Supreme Leader.

The jockeys have said many times that they do not object to the track’s imposition of bans because MJC (or PRC, for that matter) may restrict the use of facilities as they see fit, since it is their private property.

What the jockeys are asking for is a clear set of guidelines for the imposition of bans, which at present are used near arbitrarily as a punitive measure. The guidelines would greatly assuage the minds of the jockeys, and uphold fairness and due process in such matters.

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On October 12, the 2,000-meter fifth leg of the Imported/Local Challenge series at SLLP pits 3YO and older horses in the Opal I stakes sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission. On October 17, Santa Ana Park will host the 1,800-meter Sampaguita Stakes for 3YO and older fillies and mares. The latter offers total prizes of P1.5 million, and is sure to attract the best runners from that category.

The racing community also looks forward to the 2010 Klub Don Juan de Manila racing festival at SLLP in October. Their sponsored races are eagerly awaited by racegoers, and kicks off the season of holiday racing marked by the MARHO Breeders’ Cup in November (this year on its milestone 15th staging), and December’s Philtobo racing festival  and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup. ***

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THW: Third Race Track?

by Jenny on September 9, 2010

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 8 September 2010, Wednesday

Third Race Track?

Headline got your attention? Of course it would. For ages since anyone can remember, there have been only two – the Manila Jockey Club (founded 1867) and the Philippine Racing Club (1937). Yet in this age of declining sales due to substitute products (other forms of entertainment), an investor is poised to set up another facility as a venue for the ‘sport of kings’.

Over breakfast last week with horseowner and businessman Norberto Quisumbing, he discussed his vision for Metro Manila Turf Club. The 25-hectare property sits on the towns of Malvar and Tanuan in Batangas, sharing the cool climate of nearby Lipa, where 80% of the country’s Thoroughbred breeding ranches are located. Building a racing facility in this area, said Dr. Quisumbing, is only logical, given the close proximity of the farms where the horses are bred and spelled.

The track surface will be of sea sand, which is plentiful in this archipelago and still has, to many minds, excellent features such as superior drainage and good cushioning, as long as it is of the right grade. It is also cost-effective. A comfortable grandstand will be built that will have restaurants and VIP boxes – think Santa Anita Park in California. Stables will be constructed close by.

Apart from the racetrack, other contemplated amenities are villas and other residential spaces, a landscaped park for rest and relaxation, and a horseback riding trail. Groundbreaking for the project is slated for the end of this year, with completion by late 2011 or early 2012.

With the existing two tracks already in stiff competition for sales, the addition of a third racecourse will up the ante on the business and marketing end. At present, neither MJC nor PRC have anything by way of a consistent, branded marketing effort that makes intensive and effective use of traditional advertising channels and professional ad agencies. Much reliance is still placed on the existing niche market, word-of-mouth, and cable television racing channels run by homegrown talents, not experienced pros from the networks.

In terms of computer-mediated communication, the racing community might as well be in the Dark Ages. Use of digital media such as the Internet are not optimized; the official websites are slow and cranky, with minimal content that is not often updated. The fan websites provide more interesting and dynamic user-generated content. Mobile phones? Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which have proven powerful for disseminating information? Forget it.

One constraint the industry has that it perhaps does not realize is the inadequacy of competent and imaginative writers to produce quality material. Racing needs not only competent, but excellent writers.

The sport of kings is alive and thriving in the Philippines; what a pity not more than a handful of people know about it. But hope springs eternal; perhaps someday the tracks will recognize the importance of communication and use trending channels in addition to others that have been proven effective for business purposes.

However, it must be mentioned that the industry also operates under heavy burdens, among them taxation. Philippine racing is among the highest taxed in the world while track take is low, leaving little left over for the tracks after operations to improve their facilities with.

A pending bill in Congress, authored by Tarlac representative Jeci Lapus and left over from last year, which was written by Palawan congressman Abraham Mitra and supported by Manila lawmaker Amado Bagatsing, seeks to reduce some racing taxes in a move to boost the sport’s sagging revenues by making it more attractive to bettors.

Maybe this year that law will finally be passed and bring some relief to an industry filled with passionate supporters like Dr. Quisumbing and stalwart institutions like PRC and MJC. ***

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