The Philippine Thoroughbred horseracing and breeding industry held a meeting last Monday (May 21) with representatives from the horseowners, racing clubs, and government sectors to discuss various industry concerns.
Representing the government side was the Philippine Racing Commission headed by its chairman Andrew C. Sanchez. Philracom is mandated with supervising and regulating the industry.
Also among the attendees were top honchos of the racing clubs: lawyer King Reyno of Manila Jockey Club, Santiago Cualoping of Santa Ana Park, and lawyer Alexander Carandang of Metro Manila Turf Club.
The horseowners sector was well represented by directors and members of the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners, Philippine Thoroughbred and Breeders Organization, Klub Don Juan de Manila, and Thoroughbred Owners of the Philippines/Tuesday Group.
The meeting was hosted by horseowner and lawyer Narciso O. Morales at the Raffles Makati Owners Lounge.
Among the points taken up were concerns related to handicapping, prize money, and racing infrastructure.
Philracom will look into specific points concerning purses, among them the addition of one win per group starting Tuesday (May 29) to last until year end, an additional P20,000 per win in all condition races, and other similar matters.
The racing clubs will consolidate advertising and promotion campaigns that will promote the racing industry, including the showing of anti-bookies ads every race day.
Illegal bookies are an industry scourge, with some intelligence sources claiming that their earnings at least equal, and likely exceed, the industry’s legitimate sales.
The three clubs will also continue to improve racetrack maintenance as well as replace defective wagering terminals in off-track betting stations.
The horseowners also aired various issues that will be taken up in greater detail by the Philracom and in future industry meetings.
* * *
The Philippine delegates to this year’s Asian Racing Conference held last week in Seoul, Korea are back with interesting stories to tell.
I was given a lot of material to go through and that’ll be for my column next week. Meanwhile, one of the highlights of the conference was its increasing trend toward gender inclusivity and participation.
According to Santa Ana Park racing manager Antonio B. Alcasid Jr., “there were at least six women speakers at the various seminars held during the conference.” He said he was quite impressed by the development. “They were distinguished, knowledgeable experts, and they shared a lot of interesting information.”
He also mentioned that the headmistress of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s apprentice jockey program is female, something that would have been unusual in decades past.
The Philippines did have a female jockey —Analyn Reloto—but she is now working abroad. There have been at least three female apprentices through the years —I was the first, years ago, followed by another one who didn’t finish the course, then Analyn.
There aren’t any other female jockeys or apprentices in this country not because of limited opportunities, but because of lack of inclination. The Philippine Jockeys Academy is open to all who can make the height, and weight requirements, and have athletic ability.
There’s a lot more to say on gender and racing culture, but that’ll be for some other time.
* * *
Dr. Ortuoste is a writer and communications consultant. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and @DrJennyO, Twitter: @hoarsewhsprr and @jennyortuoste