This is the year’s biggest horse race—the 2,000-meter 43rd Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup, on Sunday (Dec. 13) at San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.
As of presstime, the original declared lineup of nine horses still holds: Post position #2 Dixie Gold, 4YO bay colt, 55 kgs; #3 Kanlaon, 4YO bay colt, 55 kgs.; #4 Low Profile, 4YO bay colt, 55 kgs.; #6 Pugad Lawin, 6YO bay horse, 59 kgs.; #7 Messi, 4YO brown colt, 55 kgs.; #7a Tap Dance, 4YO bay colt, 55 kgs.; #8 Hagdang Bato, 6YO colt, 62 kgs.; #8a Malaya, 4YO roan filly, 54 kgs.; #9 Penrith, 6YO bay horse, 56 kgs.
Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur C. Abalos’s Hagdang Bato will carry a staggering handicap weight of 62 kgs. This is the heaviest that the PCSO Racing Committee has ever had to impose: the previous heaviest was 61 kgs. on Chito Arceo’s Bulldozer in 1997, and the horse won. PCSO’s rule is to add 3 kgs. for each Gold Cup win of the entry.
Abalos requested PCSO last Nov. 9 to reduce the weight considering that the horse is 6YO. However, the agency’s Racing Committee replied that the said handicapping rule, which “has been done and followed since the inception [of the race],” cannot be modified “at this point in time,” although they are “willing to review our [rules] for possible amendments if found necessary.”
Hagdang Bato’s situation is unusual because he has won the Gold Cup twice, in 2012 and 2014. Should he win, he will be the first horse to win the Gold Cup three times.
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What is likely to happen in this year’s Gold Cup?
Race analyst and Philracom commissioner says: “Hagdang Bato’s archrival Pugad Lawin… has won the 2013 Presidential Gold Cup and the 2014 PCSO Silver Cup…
“[Frontrunner] Low Profile humbled Hagdang Bato in the [Nov. 29] PCSO Anniversary race, barely three weeks after turning in a 2:06 for the 2,000 meters in the Philracom Amb. Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. Cup at the Saddle & Clubs beating Messi and Tap Dance, among others...
“Kanlaon’s…recent time (2:07’) for the distance in Naic shows that it has the stamina and finishing kick… Messi performs…better [with John Alvin Guce] than with other jockeys. It has to its credit a 2:05’ for 2,000 meters in Metroturf….
“The first two quarters [will be] dominated by Low Profile, with Tap Dance, Penrith, and Malaya providing pressure….come the third canto Dixie Gold and Pugad Lawin will make their bids [for the lead]. In the succeeding canto, Kanlaon and Messi will be ridden like there is no tomorrow…”
On Dec. 12, check my Facebook “Gogirl Racing” page for the link to the online copy of the 43rd Gold Cup souvenir magazine, with Gold Cup info, PCSO race recaps, and other information.
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Philracom Chairman Andrew A. Sanchez has arranged for the first-ever live free television coverage of the Gold Cup over a one-hour show on PTV-4.
Philracom is a co-sponsor of the race. For the past several years, the agency has been augmenting PCSO’s allocated prize money with an additional P1 million.
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Like the “Gogirl Racing” Facebook page to be part of the 1st Great Big Gogirl Christmas memorabilia raffle next week!
Star jockeys sent autographed items: Jonathan Hernandez, Jesse B. Guce, and John Alvin Guce, personal riding gear; Mark A. Alvarez, a photo; and Kelvin Abobo, the boots he used with champion Ibarra.
Star trainer Ruben S. Tupas and head groom Melvin Villegas sent horseshoes of Hagdang Bato, Low Profile, Pugad Lawin, and Kid Molave (2014 Philracom Triple Crown champion). Philippine Racing Club resident director Eric Salido pledged a loot bag.
Many thanks to jockey Antonio B. Alcasid Jr. and his students at the Philippine Jockeys Academt for helping solicit and gather the items from the jockeys.
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