It remains a difficult task for the horseracing industry to fully get back on its feet because of the pandemic, but things are looking up for sure.
I had a long chat with Reli de Leon, chairman of the Philippine Racing Commission and after nine months of the year, total sales are close to P1.4B already with almost P400M earned by the national government.
And Reli expects that with remaining races for the last quarter, Philracom is on track to double the P344 million it turned over to the government in 2020.
Racing fans are looking forward to some exciting races that should pump up the industry more. On October 3, at the race track in Naic, Cavite, is the schedule of the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown series, then the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Silver Cup set on November 7, followed a week later by the Japan Cup.
November 21 is reserved for the Amb. Eduardo Cojuangco Cup in honor of the first Philracom chairman, December 21 is for the industry's biggest race, the annual Presidential Gold Cup, while finishing off the year will be the first time ever Grand Derby on December 26.
The 3rd and final leg of the Triple Crown series will see erstwhile unheralded Nuclear Bomb aiming to join an illustrious list of 12 other horses, which have won all three legs of the series. Last leg's runner-up Kaparkan Falls will be out to thwart Nuclear Bomb, owning the distinction of being the last horse to beat the TC hopeful.
It will certainly be a windfall for Nuclear Bomb as it already has banked P4.2 million in the first two legs, ran over 1600 and 1800 meters, respectively, with the third a 2000-meter distance.
Another P2.1 million for the 3rd leg, plus a P1 million bonus for a possible Triple Crown victory awaits Nuclear Bomb.
Reli also shared the fact that this colt was not a first choice for buyers before as it was ordinary looking, with a not so impressive record by its parents. And if it can talk, maybe what it will say is "eat your hearts out."
The Japan Cup is a reciprocal race with the Japanese to promote our industry as Japan also holds a Philippine Cup race.
The Philracom is now eyeing similar races with other Asian countries like Singapore, Korea, Malaysia and Australia.
The Silver Cup is a good pre-Gold Cup event.
I also would like to commend Reli and his board for holding stakes races for the benefit of the less unfortunate. In the first leg, disabled jockeys were the recipients, while the second leg benefited the Ayuda Sa Atleta program for our national athletes, something I initiated a few months ago. Reli will be finalizing the beneficiary of the third leg .
He also disclosed that Philracom also has scheduled a Philippine Sportswriters Association Cup this year for charities to be chosen by sports editors, while next year, he is open to holding one for the Tabloids Organization of the Philippines.
Hopefully, I can travel already next month as I plan to watch the third leg of the Triple Crown and Reli has promised to give me a VIP seat if I make it there. What else can I ask?