Posts Tagged ‘World Racing’

KL: Bandera Cup, Tuloy!

KARERA LANG! by Jenny Ortuoste for Bandera, 14 May 2011, Saturday

Bandera Cup, Tuloy!

Aprubado na ng Philippine Racing Commission ang kanilang sponsorship ng Bandera Cup charity race, at ang schedule nalang nito ang inaayos pa.

Ayon kina Bandera—- at sports editor Frederick Nasiad, dalawa ang iniisip nilang gawing benepisyaryo ng charity race na ito – ang Newsboys Foundation at “Lapis at Papel” Foundation. Ang layunin ng huli ay ang mamahagi ng school supplies sa mga mag-aaral sa ilang paaralang pampubliko.

Matatandaan na mayroong annual charity race ang Tumbok, ang dating sister publication ng Bandera. Naka-apat na pakarera ito, at ang pinakahuling organisasyon na natulungan nila ay ang Bahay Maria foundation para sa mga abandoned children.

Dahil ito ang kauna-unahang pagkakataon na magpapakarera ang Bandera, pinag-iisipan nila ng mabuti kung anu-anong mga pakulo at kabonggahan ang maari nilang i-arrange para sa ikasasaya ng mga manonood ng karera at pati na rin ang mga mambabasa ng Bandera.

Kaya antabayanan nalang sa kolum na ito ang schedule ng 1st Bandera Cup!

*****

Mga balitang karera: super-dehado ang nanalo ng 137th Kentucky Derby, first leg ng US Triple Crownna idinaos noong Mayo 7 sa Churchill Downs racetrack sa Lexington, Kentucky.

Galing sa gitna ng kumpol ang 20-1 longshot na si Animal Kingdom, sakay ni John Velasquez. Change-rider lamang siya; pinalitan niya ang regular rider na si Robby Albarado na nabasag ang ilong nang umalma ang sasakyang kabayo nito sa isang regular race tatlong araw bago mag-Derby Day.

Bakit hindi panguha si Animal Kingdom: bukod sa hindi niya regular rider si Velasquez, ito rin ang una niyang takbo sa buhangin. (“Turf horse” kasi ito, tumatakbo sa pistang damo). Bakit panguha: kadalasan ay suwerte ang pulot-sakay. Ganyan talaga ang karera, kahit ano, maaring mangyari.

Kalendaryo ng karera sa Mayo: 14, SLLP: 1st leg Philracom Hopeful Stakes; 15, SLLP: 1st leg Philracom Triple Crown; 21, Pimlico Racecourse sa Maryland, USA: Preakness Stakes, 2nd leg US Triple Crown; 22, PRC: PCSO 16th Silver Cup.

Karera lang – walang personalan! ***

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THW: Triple Crown Sweep Unlikely

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  28 April 2010, Wednesday

Triple Crown Sweep Unlikely

It’s a sign that Philippine breeding is improving and racing becoming more competitive, with the lack of a sure contender for three-year-old honors in the summer’s Triple Crown competition.

The Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored trilogy of races showcases elite 3YO local-breds. In years past, there would always be one or two runners who clearly outclassed the rest – Fair and Square, Sun Dancer, and Real Top, to name a few. But since Silver Story did it in 2001, no horse has swept all three legs of the event.

A sweep is now considered rare enough for the Philracom to offer a P500,000 bonus prize to whoever achieves it. This year, it seems like the purse will go unclaimed once again.

Over the past few weeks, horses nominated for the Triple Crown and its auxiliary race, the Hopeful Stakes, have been running in prep races. Among those who won their preps and are emerging as likely favorites are Consolidator and Yes Pogi in the Triple Crown on May 9, and Lakota Creek, Thief in the Nite, Hot, and Queen of Class in the Hopeful on May 8, both at Santa Ana Park.

In mile races last weekend at Santa Ana Park, Eric Tagle’s Thief in the Nite ran wire-to-wire to win by five lengths, Sandy Javier’s Hot came from behind in an easy win, and Jun Almeda’s Consolidator destroyed the field to win by 13 lengths.

The latter’s impressive run tagged it as a likely favorite for the Triple Crown, yet Consolidator ran against a lesser field of Hopeful wannabes. It’ll be a different scenario come the actual race.

Gray filly Heaven Sent won the 2009 Triple Crown first leg.

Mirroring the openness of the local Triple Crown is the US version. Eskendereya, early favorite for the Kentucky Derby on May 1, was scratched the other day after incurring an injury. The “Run for the Roses”, first jewel of the US Triple Crown, is now anybody’s race.

An annual event since 1875, held on the first Saturday in May, the KY Derby attracts horseracing fans from all over the world, some dressed in their best outfits, others in their wackiest hats.

(Image from hairstyle-blog.com)

They come to savor the mint juleps, engage in horse racing betting, and watch the finest horses in the country race for honors in one of the most historic and prestigious events in the world.

The field for this year’s edition includes: American Lion, Awesome Act, Conveyance, Dean’s Kitten, Devil May Care,   Discreetly Mine, Dublin, Endorsement, Homeboykris, Ice Box, Interactif, Jackson Bend, Line of David, Lookin at Lucky, Make Music For me, Mission Impazible, Noble’s Promise, Paddy O’Prado, Setsuko, Sidney’s Candy, Stately Victor, and Super Saver. (The scratches were Eskendereya, Rule, and Endorsement.)

Last year’s KY Derby was won by Mine that Bird with Calvin Borel on top. Rallying from last place, the tandem sneaked unnoticed by the rail, a tactic the jockey is known for, hence his nickname “Bo-rail”. Even the race announcer did not mention his name until he was three lengths in front and less than a hundred meters from the wire. The “monumental upset” was the second biggest in Derby history. This led to a surge in interest in Kentucky Derby betting.

This year, Bo-rail is riding Super Saver. However, it is the Bob Baffert-trained Lookin at Lucky that may be the likeliest contender, along with Sidney’s Candy who has beaten him before.

Lookin at Lucky, 2Y0 champion in 2009, started his 2010 season by winning the Rebel Stakes. He later placed third in the Santa Anita Derby. (Image from bobbaffert.com)

Both here and in the US, the Triple Crown is up for grabs by the best – and the luckiest. Given a good break from the gate, a gap in the wall of horses, and a clear path to the wire, any of the competitors may gain the gold and the glory.

A sweep? Not likely, but it would be fantastic if it happens. In any case, going by the excellent quality of thoroughbreds nowadays, horseracing as a sport is the clear winner. And that’s as good as a sweep. ***

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There Will Be Only One Winner.

The two best horses in the world – Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra – face off on April 9 in the $5 million Apple Blossom Invitational at Oaklawn in Arkansas. THIS IS RACING.

Click on the link to watch a fantastic fan promo video. Watch with headphones, volume high, full screen.

Zenyatta v. Rachel Alexandra – The Best

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THW: Hong Kong Racing, Part 1

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 11 February 2009, Wednesday

Hong Kong Racing, Part 1

Horseracing is one of the most exciting spectacles, wherever in the world it may be found. In Hong Kong, the 124-year old Hong Kong Jockey Club has raised racing to new heights with its operations at its two racecourses – at Happy Valley and Sha Tin racecourses.

Happy Valley is the older of the two tracks and is the place to go “for fun”, as a tour guide in Hong Kong said. Sha Tin is “world-class”.

Since land is at a premium in Hong Kong, stables aren’t single-story barns like they are here or in Australia, the USA, or most other racing nations. Rather, stables are three- or four-story buildings accessed via ramps. They look like mall parking lots.

Multi-storey stables at Sha Tin are accessed via ramps.

All the stables are located at Sha Tin, in the New Territories. That same facility includes an elegant clubhouse; equine hospital; equine pool; forge; and chemical laboratory, one of only four top-class equine labs in the world.

Facade of Sha Tin Racecourse, New Territories

Attention to detail: a horseshoe-shaped drain

Training track at Sha Tin

Hong Kong’s top female apprentice brushes her horse’s tail. The bedding, changed twice a day,  is of shredded newspapers.

A curious horse peeks at visitors.

The equine hospital is headed by veterinarian Dr. Lawrence Chan. Since there are no vet schools in Hong Kong, he took his degree in Australia. Dr. Chan pointed out that his hospital has state-of-the art ultrasound equipment; an operating theatre with a large hydraulic table; a gamma ray machine; treadmills to gauge horses’ cardiac health; and an overhead pulley system to transport horses all around the hospital in slings. Surveillance is via a 24-hour CCTV system.

The equine operating theater has a hydraulic table.

Dr. Chan in the recovery room beside the operating theater.

The equine pool is large and very clean. The flooring is of rubberized matting to protect horses’ hooves. After a dip, a trainer may opt for heat treatment for his horse at the adjacent solarium and its bank of infrared lights.

A horse is worked in the equine pool.

After a pool workout, the horse gets an infrared heat treatment in the solarium.

The forge is also high-tech. Several blacksmiths are on duty to create and repair horseshoes, bits, and other metal tack used in riding.

The forge.

The laboratory, headed by chemist Dr. Terence Wan, contains over US$8 million worth of equipment and is upgraded as often as new equipment is invented. The lab, which monitors equine and urine samples in compliance with the HKJC’s strict rules against horse doping, has received many awards for its accomplishments.

Dr. Terence Wan in the HKJC laboratory.

Dr. Wan, who formerly worked in forensics, instituted several streamlining and safeguarding procedures to ensure the credibility of his lab’s findings so that they are admissible in court. Among his innovations are security cameras that record all lab technicians’ movements during investigation of a sample. When the technicians leave their counter, the cameras guard the samples.

The HKJC lab also has huge vaults where the specimens are stored. Access to these vaults, and to those drawers that hold other chemicals, are strictly regulated, with multiple backup and failsafe systems.

The lab processes equine and human (jockeys’) blood and urine samples, and monitors feeds and supplements as well. Their equipment is so sensitive that they can detect the presence of chemicals in the parts per billion. Samples from all over the world are sent to them for testing.

Dr. Wan points out the difference in samples of horses’ urine held by his assistant Jenny. The lighter-colored sample has had its sediments removed and is now ready for analysis. Dr. Wan says is harder to analyze horses’ urine – “We prefer human urine any day!”

Dr. Wan says their lab, staffed with 43 chemists, is so efficient that they have “never had a false positive”.

The racecourses, both at Happy Valley and Sha Tin, are magnificent. Happy Valley has turf, while Sha Tin has both turf and dirt (which they call an “all-weather surface”). Racing is held only twice a week from September to June – Wednesdays at Happy Valley, and Sundays at Sha Tin. The latter has its own MTR (train) station that makes a detour to the racecourse on racedays only.

Happy Valley’s turf track is nestled in the heart of the city.

Sha Tin’s turf and dirt tracks

With racing revenues at over US$12 billion a year, it is no wonder that the HKJC can afford such world-class facilities.  Philippine racing makes P8 billion annually, which could be more if illegal bookie operations were halted. With the limitation in our resources, the most we can do is emulate the best practices we observe in racing abroad, and tailor them to fit our local circumstances.   ***

All photos by Jenny Ortuoste, taken with a Nikon D60, basic lens.

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The Blood-Horse: Special Report on “Losing the Iron Horse?”

This news release just in from Mr. Robert Bolson, Corporate Marketing Director of Blood-Horse Publications, publisher of The Blood-Horse:

THE BLOOD-HORSE JULY 26 ISSUE TO FEATURE SPECIAL REPORT:

LOSING THE IRON HORSE?

Report shows a decline in starts per foal since 1970

 Lexington, Ky. - The July 26 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine will feature a special report, “Losing the Iron Horse?,” which investigates whether the Thoroughbred racehorse is as tough today as it was 30 to 40 years ago. Editors of The Blood-Horse recently sought the answer to this question by producing a comprehensive review of 34 years of historical Thoroughbred stallion progeny records pulled from The Jockey Club’s extensive database. A feature story revealing the results of the investigation will appear in the July 26 issue, available on newsstands July 24. The full study, containing more than 200 pages, will be available to download on BloodHorse.com on July 23.

 Eric Mitchell, executive editor for digital media of The Blood-Horse notes, “There has been anecdotal evidence for years that the Thoroughbred of today is not as tough as it has been in the past. We compiled stallion progeny race records for foal crops from 1970 through 2003, broke the data down by decade, and then calculated starts per foal for each stallion and each decade to look for trends. We were looking to see whether the starts per foal have decreased over time and clearly they have.”

 The study shows that foals born from 1970 through 1979 made an average of 20.42 starts. For foals born between 2000 and 2003, the average number of starts per foal has fallen to 13.15. Among older racehorses the decline has been even more dramatic. The starts per starter for horses 4 years old and older were 25.97 in the 1970s and have since fallen to 12.97, a drop of 50%, for the foals born in 2000 through 2003.

 ”We know that not all racehorses are managed the same,” Mitchell said. “The graded stakes winner is managed differently than the claimer. So to better understand the trends, we grouped the stallions within each decade by the quality of their best runners – sires of grade I stakes winners, sires of a grade II or grade III stakes winners, sires of non-graded stakes winners, and finally sires that are not represented by any stakes winners. Besides looking at the starts of older horses, the study also looked at starts per starter of 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. Among the stakes-producing sires by starts per foal and for starts per starter in each of the age groups, the same declining trend occurs.

 ”The big questions now are why we are seeing these trends and what can the industry do to reverse them?” Mitchell continued. “This study is just the first step toward identifying the changes and their cause.”

 In order to understand what the numbers might mean, The Blood-Horse assembled a group of prominent Thoroughbred industry breeders and owners July 11 who evaluated the statistics and debated the impact in a round-table discussion. Details of this insightful discussion will also be reported in The Blood-Horse and on BloodHorse.com.

 ”About Blood-Horse Publications:
Blood-Horse Publications is a multimedia publishing company that traces its roots to 1916. Its flagship publication, The Blood-Horse, is the leading weekly Thoroughbred racing and breeding news and information magazine. In addition, Blood-Horse Publications also publishes the award-winning The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care, a monthly equine health care magazine; the official Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup souvenir magazines; Auction Edge; and Keeneland magazine. In addition, Blood-Horse Publications also publishes equine-related books and videos under the Eclipse Press banner, and operates a family of award-winning Web sites including BloodHorse.com, TheHorse.com, StallionRegister.com, ExclusivelyEquine.com, the official store of Blood-Horse Publications; and TrueNicks.com.”

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