The racing stable of lawyer and former Mandaluyong City mayor Benhur Abalos scored last Sunday with the win of Cerveza Rosas in the Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored stakes race for horses 4 years old and older.
Steered by jockey MM Gonzales and trained by CC Alvarez, the 5YO bay mare dominated for most of the race but narrowly won over second placer Lakan who paced her and staged a strong rally down the stretch.
Cerveza Rosas, who carried 53 kilograms, was sent off as the favorite along with her coupled entry Son Also Rises. The latter struggled with a 56-kilogram handicap weight and finished last in the eight-horse field. The handicapping was weight-for-age.
The race was held at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, over 1,300 meters. The time for the race was 1: 17. Lakan 2nd, Box Office 3rd, Eli Brassous 4th.
Philracom put up a total of P500,000 in prizes, with P300,000 for the winner.
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The performances of local-bred and island-born horses trained here have been improving greatly over the years, so much that the industry is contemplating joining competitions abroad.
I recall this being discussed as far back as the late 2000s, if not even earlier. The problem was that at the time we had no quarantine facilities for horses, a requirement for the movement of horses from one country to another under IFHA (International Federation of Horseracing Authorities) rules.
In 2016 we became a member of IFHA and the dream of racing abroad looks more like a possibility now. Philracom has adopted policies aligned with IFHA objectives, such as the ratings-based handicapping system and standardization of track maintenance, and the soon-to-be implemented drug testing program.
With Filipino horseowners eager to compete abroad for prestige and hefty prizes, Philracom is looking to assist them by coordinating with racing authorities in Southeast Asia and with local government agencies to draw up protocols on the movement of horses for international races and local invitational races.