The Melanie Habla-owned and bred Big Lagoon, with his rider John Alvin Guce, simply waited for the perfect moment in making their charge and in the process bagged the richest and most prestigious race in the Philippine horseracing calendar, the P10-million 2022 Philracom-PCSO Presidential Gold Cup last Sunday at the Metro Manila Turf Club in Malvar, Batangas.
Being the off-the-pace runner that he is, the bay 5YO by Havana out of Blue Catch was nicely settled in fourth at the early portion of the lung-busting 2000m journey behind the fast stepping Sky Shot, Ambisioso and Silver Cup champ Boss Emong.
It was the same order for most of the race until the last 600 meters, when Big Lagoon made its move to the prodding of Guce. Big Lagoon responded and picked off Boss Emong and went toe-to-toe with Sky Shot.
However,the distance of the journey was just too much for the front runner eventually giving way to the charge of the Ruben Tupas-trained galloper. But, Big Lagoon was not out of the woods yet. A fast approaching threat was looming in the form of Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr.’s Super Swerte which made his own charge for the win.
Sadly though, Super Swerte was just too far off the pace and ran out of real estate as Big Lagoon held him off by 1 1/2 lengths to bag the PGC.
Time of race was 2:04 with clips of 24’-23-25-24-27’.
The win gave Big Lagoon’s connections the top prize of P6-million while Super Swerte’s had to settle for a not so bad P2-million for the runner-up effort.
Boss Emong still finished third worth P1-million, Sky Shot mustered enough to grab fourth (P500 thousand) and Victorious Colt fifth (P300,000).
A sidelight came after the second race of the day where former PGC champion Pangalusian Island bid farewell to the track with a ceremonial gallop befitting a true-blue champ, much to the delight of the thousands of fans who were in attendance and was accorded a thunderous applause.
Incidentally, the PGC day lived up to its billing as one of the top draws in racing as the 13-race card brought in the highest single day sales for the year at P31,642,563 and the week’s P89,031,316 in sales is also the highest during the four-day week racing schedule.
“Congratulations to the connections of Big Lagoon for winning this year’s edition of the Presidential Gold Cup. But moreso, I’d like to thank the racing aficionados who came to the track to show their support for their favorites, and also to those who went to the OTB’s,” Philracom Chairman Reli de Leon said.