Posts Tagged ‘yes pogi’

KL: Yes Pogi sa PCSO Silver Cup!

KARERA LANG! by Jenny Ortuoste for Bandera, 24 May 2011, Tuesday

Yes Pogi sa PCSO Silver Cup!

Walang kapagurang nilampaso ng beteranong Yes Pogi ang kanyang mga karibal sa 16th Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Silver Cup noong Linggo sa Santa Ana Park ng Philippine Racing Club.

Gumamit ang kanyang hineteng si Manolito Daquis ng kakaibang istratehiya sa laban. Kilala bilang stayer ang puting kabayo, na noong araw ay hinahayaan ng kanyang dating hinete na si Fernando Raquel Jr. na magpa-remate mula sa hulihan.

Ang nakakatakot lang sa modus na iyon ay baka kapusin si Yes Pogi, at iyon na nga ang nangyari sa ilang pagkakataon na siya’y natalo.

Ayon sa isang batikang hinete sa Top Ten, dati nang may potential na maging versatile sa estilo si Yes Pogi. “Pag larga niyan sa aparato,” ani ng hinete, “mabilis niyang nakukuha ang unahan.”

Ito ang nakitang posibilidad ni Daquis sa kabayo. Dahil maulan nung itinakbo ang PCSO Silver Cup at ayaw ni Yes Pogi na natatalsikan siya ng putik, minabuti ni Daquis na paunahin si Yes Pogi. Nakuha agad nila ang bandera kay Thoti’s Best bago pa mag-first bend, at hindi na ito binitiwan hanggang meta.

Medyo kinabahan pa raw ang trainer ni Yes Pogi na si Felix Lauron sa umpisa ng karera dahil hindi nga raw dating inuuna ang kabayo.

Nanalo ng nine lengths si Yes Pogi, sa oras na 2:04.4 sa kuwartos na 25-23’-24’-25-26’.

Napantayan niya ang 2005 record para sa 2,000 meters nina Stowaway Lass at Wild Orchid. Nakatulong rin na matigas ang pista dahil umulan.

Sumegundo si Righthererightnow, tersero si Darleb, at kuwarto si Thoti’s Best. Sinundan sila ni Shining Armour at huling dumating si Go Army.

Kasama sa awarding ceremony mula sa PCSO sina general manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, Committee on Races chairman Atty. Jose Malang, vice-chairmen Carlos Castillo at Desoto Tupaz, at members Dr. Romeo Buencamino at Henry Z. Beech; sina assistant general manager Benigno Aguas, treasury department manager Mercedes Hinayon, at marami pang iba.

Naroon mula sa Philippine Racing Club sina president Solomon Cua at executive vice-president at COO Atty. Ramon P. Ereñeta Jr.

Tinanggap ni Ma. Theresa de Vera ang tropeo para sa may-ari ni Yes Pogi na si Francis Lim, at si Jec Santos naman para sa Herma Farms & Stud, breeder ni Yes Pogi (Rum Tum Tiger x Belle Epoque).

Congratulations sa connections ni Yes Pogi, isang tunay na kampeon!

Karera lang – walang personalan! ***

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THW: Juggling Act Rips Yes Pogi

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 6 April 2011, Wednesday

Juggling Act Rips Yes Pogi

Yes, you read that headline right. 5YO veteran import Juggling Act scored an upset over top favorite Yes Pogi in last Sunday’s Diamond I stakes race held at Santa Ana Park.

It’s always a surprise when that happens, not only for the owners of the top pick, but also the bettors, the majority of whom expected the favorite to win. But that’s racing for you – anything can happen.

The Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored Diamond I was the third leg of the Import/Local Challenge series. Juggling Act was sent off as second favorite in the sales against Philippine-bred Yes Pogi, who came fresh off a win in the March 13 Philracom Commissioners Cup at San Lazaro Leisure Park.

Mooney Money took the lead while Yes Pogi ran off-the-pace with regular rider Manolito Daquis aboard. Juggling Act with Fernando Raquel Jr. galloped just behind them; the duo bided their time until the far turn and flashed past the frontrunners to win by nearly five lengths.

Juggling Act (Giant’s Causeway – Piccadilly Circus) earned P300,000 for his owner lawyer Narciso Morales, who also took the third place purse for coupled entry Indy Hay. Yes Pogi settled for second place, while Mooney Money copped fourth, followed by Botbo and Fierce Fighter last.

The total time for the race was 1:52.8 for 1,800 meters, with splits of 13’-23’-24’-25-26.

Post-race kibitzing was pretty much unanimous that Yes Pogi was burned out from successive battles. The two weeks between his most recent races are, in the opinion of most owners and trainers, not enough time to recover, especially for racehorses of this caliber. Abroad, horses go months in between races.

Yes Pogi would benefit greatly from a longish spell at the ranch now, more so with summer coming in. A few weeks galloping about in a nice grassy paddock is what this horse doctor orders.

Meanwhile, there is much rejoicing over at the Narciso Stables. It is now the top-ranked racing operation this year with P2.55 million in gross earnings for the period January 1 to February 28, according to Philracom records.

*****

Something to look forward to next weekend at Santa Ana Park is the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Open Maiden race for 3YO on April 17. The winner of the trial race held last March 29 was colt Wanna Change, owned by Tarlac congressman Jeci Aquino Lapus.

Guided by Rey-ann Camañero, Wanna Change (Heza Gone West – Regal Kingdom) clocked 1:18 and is the one to watch come raceday.

Rosenda Ann Ocampo’s Gold Field placed second, Honorato Neri’s Beau Erin third, and Augusto Benedicto Santos’s Sparkler fourth. Andre Angelo Santos’s Sunshine was fifth while Herminio Esguerra’s Aduana came in last.

Both the trial and the actual race are an easy 1,200 meters.   ***

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KL: Juggling Act, Naka-Upset!

KARERA LANG! by Jenny Ortuoste for Bandera, 5 April 2011, Tuesday

Juggling Act, Naka-Upset!

Nagulantang ang Bayang Karerista nang matiklo ng segundo llamadong Juggling Act ang paboritong Yes Pogi sa Diamond I stakes race noong Linggo sa Santa Ana Park.

Ang pakarera ng Philippine Racing Commission, na siyang tinaguriang 3rd leg ng serye ng Imported/Local Challenge, ay pinaka-abangan ng racing fans dahil ito ay isa pang pagsubok para sa kampeong si Yes Pogi, na humakot ng napakaraming panalo sa stakes at regular race noong nakaraang taon.

Ang kabayo ni Francis Lim ay siya ring pinarangalan ng Philippine Sportswriters Association bilang 2010 Horse of the Year.

Kaya siya ang naging llamado sa benta bago tumakbo ang karera.

Pagbukas ng aparato, unang lundag si Mooney Money; sinundan siya off-the-pace ni Yes Pogi, lulan ang kanyang regular rider na si Manolito Daquis. Si Juggling Act, na ginabayan ni Fernando Raquel Jr., ay nag-pacing sa likuran nila, sinundan ng ibang kalahok.

Pagdating sa rekta, wala ang pamosong bulusok ni Yes Pogi. Dinaanan siya ng Juggling Act at nanalo pa ito ng limang kabayo. Umoras ito ng 1:52.8 sa distansiyang 1,800 meters sa cuartos na 13’-23’-24’-25-26.

Tuwang-tuwa ang kanyang may-ari, si Attorney Narciso Morales, na siyang number one horseowner as of February 28 ayon sa rankings ng Philracom, lalo dahil nakuha rin nila ang third place kay Indy Hay, na ka-couple ni Juggling Act.

Cuarto ang beteranong si Mooney Money, quinto si Botbo. Bugaw o huli sa datingan si Fierce Fighter.

Mukhang wala sa kundisyon si Yes Pogi. Matamlay ang kanyang pa-remate. Maaring nasunog sa sunod-sunod na laban. Huli siyang tumakbo noong Marso 13 sa Philracom Commissioner’s Cup sa San Lazaro Leisure Park, kung saan niya dinurog ang kalaban.

Ngunit ang dalawa o tatlong linggong pagitan sa laban ay, para sa ilang horseowners at trainers, ay masyadong dikit. Sana ay maipahinga muna si Yes Pogi sa rancho upang pagbalik, makita natin muli ang kanyang winning form.

Karera lang – walang personalan! ***

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THW: Yes Pogi Shows Style in Amethyst I

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  16 February 2011, Wednesday

Yes Pogi Shows Style in Amethyst I

“Oops! I did it again.”

That’s Britney Spears’s lyric, but if horses could sing, champion horse Yes Pogi could have belted it out with feeling and withkarapatan last Sunday after winning the Amethyst I stakes at San Lazaro Leisure Park by a nose.

The 4YO roan colt by Rum Tum Tiger out of Belle Epoque trounced ten opponents, eschewing his typical style of running in dead last to gallop just off the pace in fifth or sixth. With veteran rider Manolito Daquis aboard, the tandem swung into rally gear by the far turn, but had to contend with fierce opposition from Juggling Act.

The Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored event is the second leg of the Import/Local Challenge Series and was run over a stamina-testing 1,750 meters.

Juggling Act won the first leg of the series, the Philracom Garnet I stakes held at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, last January 9. A 4YO import from Australia owned by Edna Sanchez,  Juggling Act was sired by American stallion Giant’s Causeway out of Australian mare Picadilly Circus.

What’s so amazing about Yes Pogi’s winning over Juggling Act by a mere nose?

The latter comes off a stakes win. Yes Pogi, on the other hand, according to jockey Daquis, comes off a long spell at the ranch – since after his victory in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup held last December 12 at Santa Ana Park. He has not raced at all since then, and came “cold” into the Amethyst I.

Daquis added that they prepared Yes Pogi for this stakes race with only the usual morning workouts at the track.

The usual practice in training recommends a tuneup race or two before the actual big event. For a local-bred horse to compete in a stakes race against imports without tuning-up and coming fresh off a spell and dusting off the cobwebs with just several weeks ofensayo would seem foolhardy to a lot of racing aficionados.

But that’s Yes Pogi for you – contrary to the max. This is a horse who prefers to run in dead last, loping along like a lazy donkey before firing up close to the far turn to blaze a trail down the track in the stretch to win, and win again.

“I think I did it again. I made you believe…”

Move over, Britney. Yes Pogi owns that song now.

******

More racing action is coming your way this weekend at Santa Ana Park with the running of the Philracom’s Amethyst II for fillies on Saturday and the Amethyst III for colts on Sunday. Both races will be run over 1,600 meters and are exclusive to 3YO Philippine-breds as part of this racing season’s Road to the Triple Crown. Each race has total prize money of P500,000, to be allocated among the first four placers. ***

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THW: It’s Time for Awards

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 26 January 2011, Wednesday

It’s Time for Awards

It’s that time of the year when sportswriters roll up their sleeves, down pots of coffee, squint at reams of statistics, and choose the recipients of “of the Year” awards.

In the US, the Eclipse Awards were given out last January 21 in Miami and to the acclaim of many supporters, supermare Zenyatta received the North American horse of the year award.

The Eclipse Awards are handed out by members of the National Turf Writers Association, employees of the Daily Racing Form, and racing secretaries representing tracks that are members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Zenyatta earned 128 votes over second placer Blame’s 102. Blame defeated Zenyatta in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, handing the highly-regarded racemare her only career loss, and was expected by some to cop top Eclipse honors.

The popular vote, however, was overwhelmingly with Zenyatta, who, at her age, has a shining career that Blame can only hope to duplicate. She won 19 races out of 20, her come-from-behind style keeping fans on the edge of their seats or cheering her on down the stretch to the wire.

She ran from dead last in the Breeders’ Cup and stride by stride mowed down the opposition, failing only to overtake Blame in the final few furlongs. But with that performance, she showed her supreme fighting heart that refused to give up.

The recipient of the third place award was three-time Breeders’ Cup mile winner Goldikova. The winner of the Eclipse Award in 2009 was another brave racemare, Rachel Alexandra. She was locked in a rivalry with the older Zenyatta in the early years of her career.

The blog Equine Ink (equineink.com) carried this lyrical quote from Zenyatta’s owner Jerry Moss: “If you love Thoroughbred horses, you go through life hoping that you can just see one more in whose presence, the clouds fall away to reveal the mountain top. It can take a generation, or infinitely longer, for such a horse to arrive. A horse that is capable of carrying the human heart.

“For the last 100 years, we know them all by name. But Zenyatta brought to us a beauty that was a tonic for the soul. She allowed us to believe in the impossible. And it was the light in her being, as much as the thrill of her races, that got us dancing. Zenyatta was transformative.”

This was Zenyatta’s third straight Eclipse award as top older female.

In our neck of the woods, Yes Pogi has emerged as the Philippine Sportswriters Association Horse of the Year, while Jesse Guce is Jockey of the Year. This was announced recently by PSA treasurer Joe Antonio.

Meanwhile, folks are looking forward to the weekend of February 19-20 at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. That’s the date and venue for the coming Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored Amethyst II (3YO local fillies) and Amethyst III (3YO local colts), both mile races. ***

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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 jennyoATlive.com.

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: Triple Crown Hopes Dashed

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 21 July 2010, Wednesday

Triple Crown Hopes Dashed

A magnificent performance by a comebacking colt crushed the Triple Crown sweep hopes of another via a heart-breaking photo-finish – and denied him a P500,000 bonus on top of the first prize of P1.8 million.

Yes Pogi, Francis Lim’s come-from-behind gray, failed to prevail against Herminio Esguerra’s Carriedo in the third leg of the Philippine Racing Commision-sponsored championship series for elite 3YOv local-breds last Sunday at San Lazaro Leisure Park.

Carriedo, who had a successful juvenile campaign, was sidelined by injury for much of his 3YO season and was unable to compete in the first and second legs of the Triple Crown. They were won by Yes Pogi, who endeared himself to fans with his laid-back running style of loping along in last for most of the race, only to surge in the later stages and win via close finishes.

Railbirds had expected that the 2,000-meter Triple Crown third leg would prove to be an easy run for the Rum Tum Tiger-sired gray, since longer distances favor stayers. But when the news broke that Carriedo was back in harness, the odds quickly rearranged themselves to give the plucky bay a good chance to reassert his domination over foes he had beat before.

All the contenders broke well from the gate, their hooves trying to gain traction on a sloppy track. Thief in the Nite, the lone filly, took the lead, followed by Consolidator. Carriedo ran off the pace in fourth while Yes Pogi, galloping towards the back of the back, moved up along the rail.

At the backstretch, it was still Thief in the Nite by two ahead of Consolidator, Scotland Yard in third, Carriedo still in fourth, while Yes Pogi had moved up to fifth. Jesse Guce, on board Carriedo, saw a hole and started moving up, while Yes Pogi, hugging the rail, was still looking for a place to go through.

At the far turn, Yes Pogi went through a gap between horses, swinging a bit wide off his course, while Carriedo saved ground and made a tight sweet turn into the homestretch.

Down the lane, it was Carriedo in front by ¾ length, as Yes Pogi tried to catch up under heavy whipping by jockey Fernando Raquel Jr. All Jesse Guce had to do was ‘show the whip’ to Carriedo, who struggled to keep the gap even as Yes Pogi lengthened his strides. They hit the wire at practically the same time in a photo-finish ending.

When the dust cleared, Carriedo was declared the winner by less than a nose, clocking a total time of 2:07. Yes Pogi came in second, Righthererightnow third, and Thoti’s Best fourth.

A bit of trivia – both Yes Pogi (out of Belle Epoque) and Carriedo (Deputy Bodman – Astuce) were bred at Esguerra’s Herma Farm and Stud in Batangas.

The Triple Crown wasn’t the only battle for elite 3YO last weekend. On Saturday, in the Philracom’s Hopeful Stakes, auxiliary to the Triple Crown, it was the Manolito Daquis-guided Si Señor (The Cliff Edge – She’s No Princess) that prevailed by 3-1/2 lengths over Westerly Wind. Redemption settled for third, Unequalled fourth. The 2,000-meter run tested the capabilities of a larger field than the Triple Crown over a hard track, resulting in the victory of a longshot with a total time of 2:10.

Now, another favorite pasttime of racing fans – running races in hindsight. What if Carriedo had been entered in the first two legs – would the entire outcome of this series have been different? It’s one of those questions that can only be answered with, “We’ll never know.”

What we are sure of is that we still have no Triple Crown champion. The P500,000 bonus prize put up by Philracom for a sweep champion remains unclaimed.While a sweep would have been quite an accomplishment for Yes Pogi, the fact that it is now going on ten years since the last one (Patrick Uy’s Silver Story in 2001), it is proof that the quality of Philippine thoroughbreds are so well-matched that there isn’t one that stands head and withers above the rest. ***

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THW: Triple Crown Sweep?

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 14 July 2010, Wednesday

Triple Crown Sweep?

After a nine-year drought, will there finally be a Philippine Triple Champion?

After winning the first two legs of the Philippine Racing Commission three-leg championship series for local-bred 3YOs, Yes Pogi needs to win the last battle on Sunday to make his mark in racing history as a successor to the illustrious lineup of champions.

However, he won the first two legs at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park. The final showdown will take place at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park over a lung-busting 2,000 meters – the longest leg of the series.

Yes Pogi, owned by Francis Lim, goes up against Hermie Esguerra’s Carriedo  (who was not in the first two legs), Jun Almeda’s Consolidator, Vicente Lava’s Go Vinnie, Joseph Dyhengco’s Lakota Creek and Scotland Yard, Deemark Trading’s Righthererightnow, Wilbert Tan’s Thoti’s Best, and Eric Tagle’s Thief in the Nite, the lone filly who will carry an impost of 52 kgs., while the others – colts – carry 54 kgs.

If Yes Pogi is still in the same stellar condition as when he won the first two legs, he has a very good chance to sweep. But now he has to contend with tough foes at a different track. I don’t see the longer distance as a problem; it might in fact be an advantage for this stayer, who usually runs in last or at the back of the pack, and edges up in the back stretch close to the far turn before going into full rampage at the top of the stretch to mow down the frontrunners. Talk about intimidation.

I’m also looking at other stayers to do well, such as Lakota Creek and Righthererightnow. First prize in this race is P1.8 million, a hefty purse which will be hotly contested by all. Should Yes Pogi accomplish a sweep, he takes home an additional P500,000, a bonus prize put up by Philracom for whoever wins all three legs of the most important series for 3YO.

The Philracom’s Hopeful Stakes, auxiliary to the Triple Crown and open also to 3YO local-breds, is set for Saturday at SLLP over 2,000 meters. Declared for this race are Hermie Esguerra’s Andalucia, C&H Enterprises’ Gallant Prince and Westerly Wind, Jeci Lapus’s Ice Storm, Nonoy Niles’s Invincible, Wilbert Tan’s Milenyo, Benhur Abalos’s Open Slew and Redemption, Ruben Dimacuha’s Si Senor, Roberto Yutadco’s Speed Spell, and Jade Bros. Farm’s Unequalled.

Second leg Hopeful winner Thief in the Nite moved up to the Triple Crown, leaving this race wide-open, again to stayers who will have the style and stamina to go two kilometres. The C&H and Abalos entries are looking good, while I wouldn’t discount frontrunners Andalucia and Speed Spell. This is an even-steven lineup that is pretty hard to call, and is interesting for that reason. Let’s see who brings home the P600,000 first prize.

There is also prize money for second to fourth placers, as well as breeders’ purses: P100,000 for the breeder of the Triple Crown champion and P30,000 for that of the Hopeful winner.

According to Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, “A sweep will be very exciting for the sport and for its aficionados. We look forward to seeing if the sweep bonus prize will finally be claimed. The breeders’ prizes should serve as added incentives for breeders to continue the good work they are doing to improve our local thoroughbred bloodstock.”

This weekend at SLLP will have participants and fans on tenterhooks, eager to see if Yes Pogi, a gray horse will follow another gray (Patrick Uy’s Silver Story in 2001) in the roster of Triple Crown champions. Who are you going with – sa itim (bay), sa pula (chestnut), o sa puti (gray or roan)?  ***

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THW: Yes Pogi – Racing’s Vacuum Cleaner?

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 9 June 2010, Wednesday

Yes Pogi – Racing’s Vacuum Cleaner?

For the first time in nine years, Philippine thoroughbred racing has a strong chance of seeing its Triple Crown sweep champion drought come to an end.

With 3YO roan colt Yes Pogi’s crowd-pleasing victory in the second leg of the Philippine Racing Commission Triple Crown series last Sunday at Santa Ana Park, sweep hopes surged high on the part of the horse’s connections and supporters.

Yes Pogi won the first leg last month in dramatic fashion, coming from the tail end of the pack to forge a blazing rally down the lane to win by nearly two lengths. With jockey Fernando Raquel Jr. aboard, he humiliated the other eight other runners, flashing past them as if they were standing still.

After that race, railbirds speculated on the gray’s chances in the second leg. Many said the outcome might have been different in the first leg if jockey Jeffril Zarate had not fallen off third favorite Scotland Yard, seen as the best bet to nip Yes Pogi’s chances.

Sure enough, last Sunday, Scotland Yard and coupled entry Lakota Creek emerged as second favorites after Yes Pogi. First leg second placer Well Well Well was third pick.

Out of the gate, Yes Pogi hung back in third to the last position in the seven-entry field. Scotland Yard had a bad start and was forced to catch up a bit, galloping off the pace behind frontrunner Thotis Best, while Righthererightnow ran in third.

At the back stretch, Yes Pogi maneuvered into fourth position until the home turn. As in the first leg, faced by a wall of horseflesh, he was forced to race very wide as rider Raquel scrambled to find a good position. With the Jeffril Zarate-piloted Scotland Yard in the lead and Thotis Best in second,  veteran jockey Raquel took a calculated risk and swung Yes Pogi in between Thotis Best on the outside and Righthererightnow by the rail.

It was an intuitive move that brought Yes Pogi closer to Scotland Yard. Matching his bay nemesis stride for stride, the gallant gray found extra reserves to go a couple better and catch Scotland Yard at the wire in a drama-filled photo-finish ending that brought fans at the Naic track surging to their feet, screaming in hoarse abandon.

Yes Pogi was declared the winner by a nose. The splits were 13’-24-24-24’-27’ for the killer 1,800-meter race, with a total time of 1:53.4 on a fast track.

Bred by businessman Herminio Esguerra’s Herma Farms and Stud out of prolific broodmare Belle Epoque (With Approval-Seaholme) by Kentucky-bred stallion Rum Tum Tiger (Storm Cat-Aly Tigress), Yes Pogi was acquired as a yearling by owner Francis Lim at a Herma Farms auction. Under careful training from low-profile conditioner Felix Lauron, Yes Pogi has evolved from a gangling stayer into a formidable contender for a Triple Crown sweep.

Patrick Uy’s Silver Story in 2001 was the last to win all three races of the Triple Crown series for local-bred 3YO. Will Yes Pogi be the next to claim the crown? He might, with the incentive of added riches making a sweep sweeter. In an on-air interview on the cable TV live racing coverage, Philracom chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II reminded everyone of the Commission’s P500,000 bonus prize to whoever sweeps the legendary series, on top of the P1.8 million for first place.

But the third leg on July 18 at San Lazaro Leisure Park will be a punishing 2,000 meters. Again, a longer distance would favor super stayers like Yes Pogi. However, he might have to contend with Hopeful Stakes leg two winner Thief in the Nite, Eric Tagle’s freakishly fast filly who won her 1,800 last Saturday by three wire-to-wire under jockey Jonathan Hernandez. Jun Almeda’s It’s June Again, who copped the Hopeful first leg, might compete also, in addition to the usual gang.

The way Yes Pogi has been performing under Fernando Raquel’s superb handling, he’s been power-vacuuming up foes and spitting them out like so many dust bunnies. And all things staying the same, he’s going to do it all over again next month. A sweep? No problem. Plug it in and bring ‘em on.   ***

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