Because of late scratches and bad weather, just three horses showed up for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office National Grand Derby last Sunday (Aug. 14) at Metroturf Racecourse in Malvar, Batangas.
Despite the inclement weather brought by the hanging habagat, the race proceeded with Yong Yong, Guatemala, and Dance Again in contention. They reached the wire in that order, with all participants assured of a prize from the sponsoring organization.
Yong Yong was ridden to victory by Jonathan B. Hernandez, and is owned by Leonardo “Sandy” M. Javier Jr. and trained by Ruben S. Tupas. The time for the mile race was 1:39.
The weather, of course, cannot be controlled, but it was a disappointingly small field for such a prestigious race. Members of the PCSO Racing Committee are mulling over a change in the rule on the minimum number of runners. At the moment, it is “three to run.”
Making sure that the Derby, and other equally large stakes races, have a certain number of participants – say, no less than five or six – would make for a more exciting competition and preserve the dignity of the event.
An event that draws less than the minimum number of runners should be cancelled outright, no resetting allowed. That should encourage participants to appreciate the efforts of sponsors to help the industry.
This Sunday’s main event is the 8th Mayor Ramon Bagatsing Racing Festival, to be staged at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.
Among the event’s major races are the 1,750-meter 3YO Centennial Classic for imported and local horses, featuring Radio Active, Homonhon Island, Dewey Boulevard, Space Needle, and Daiquiri Lass.
The 1,750-meter 4YO and older Challenge of Champions showcases Atomicseventynine, Haley’s Rainbow, Dixie Gold, Court Of Honour, Kanlaon, Love To Death, and Marinx.
The 1,500-meter 3YO old Local Challenge Race pits against each other Real Flames, Pinay Pharoah, Leave It To Me, Mr. Noble, Guanta Na Mera, Xen Young, Double Rock, Bite My Dust, Pinagtipunan, Kundiman, Play It Safe, and Creative.
Also on the card is the 5th leg of the Philippine Racing Commission’s Imported-Local Challenge. The 2,000-meter race is open to imports and local-breds.
This year marks the centennial of Mayor Bagatsing’s birth. The late mayor of Manila was an avid racing aficionado who made the Gran Copa de Manila into MJC’s premier annual event. It used to be held every year on Araw ng Maynila and was held at the now-defunct San Lazaro Hippodrome in Tayuman, Manila.
The event sponsors are Resorts World Manila, Philracom, PCSO, MJC, Midas Hotel and Casino, DLTB Bus Company, Herma Farms and Stud, EEG Development Corporation, Mr. Eduardo “Duay” Calixto, City of Dreams Manila, and Pacific Online Systems Corporation.
Part of the proceeds of the day’s races will go to the KABAKA (Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Kaunlaran) Foundation, a non-governmental foundation dedicated to providing comprehensive social services to the poor. Founded by Amado Bagatsing in 1985, it provides medical assistance, nutrition-feeding programs (for children), educational and skills training programs, and facilitates social and economic initiatives.
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