CARMONA, Cavite—Sepfourteen took the first-leg crown of the 2017 Philippine Racing Commission-Triple Crown series by a big margin recently at the San Lazaro Leisure Park here.
With jockey John Alvin Guce on top of him, Sepfourteen found an opportunity to pull away in the last 400-meters.
The 30-year-old Guce prodded the three-year-old colt to move past two bets that were trying to outdo each other right from the get go—Smokin Saturday and Biglang Buhos.
Sepfourteen responded and overtook the two, sprinting to the finish line some 20 meters ahead of the pack when it was over.
He had a clocking of one minute and 49.2 seconds when Sepfourteen completed the 1,600-meter course.
Pangalusian Island and Golden Kingdom then took the cue in overtaking Smokin Saturday and Biglang Buhas to settle for second and third, respectively, in this event which gave away a total purse of P3 million, with the top prize of P1.8 million going to Sepfourteen.
Philracom allotted a total of P6.5 million in the three races it contributed to the eight-race Manila Jockey Club extravaganza celebrating its 150th year.
“Tanaw ko nu’ng last 400 meters na malaki ang panalo, kaya tinuloy ko na,” said Guce.
With Selfie ruling Philracom’s 3YO Locally Bred Stakes Race and Brilliance topping the Hopeful Stakes Race earlier, Sepfourteen made it three in a row for Oliver Velasquez’s SC Stockfarm in the first leg of the most prestigious racing series for three-year-old horses.
The three-leg series is patterned after the United States’ Triple Crown, with its three legs comprising of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, also with progressively longer distances.
The series was launched in 1978, with Native Gift winning the first two legs and Majority Rule denying him the sweep. There have been only ten Triple Crown champions since then: Fair and Square in 1981, Skywalker (1983), Time Master (1987), Magic Showtime (1988), Sun Dancer (1989), Strong Material (1996), Real Top (1998), Silver Story (2001), Hagdang Bato (2012), and Kid Molave (2014).
“Now that Sepfourteen has won the first leg, let’s see how he fares in the next two,” said Philracom Chairman Andrew A. Sanchez. “It’s been a while since a horse swept the Triple Crown and with Sepfourteen’s commanding win in the first leg, it has a great chance.”
The last time one horse won it all in one year was in 2014 when Emmanuel Santos’s colt Kid Molave (Into Mischief x Unsaid) scored the rare 3-peat, earning a P500,000 bonus from Philracom for the feat.
Different winners ruled last year’s Triple Crown, with the first leg being won by longshot Radio Active, which beat early favorite Dewey Boulevard for the honor. In the second leg, Dewey Boulevard returned the favor by beating the first-leg winner in a duel from start to finish, setting up a battle royale in the third leg. But another longshot in Underwood crashed the party and dashed past Dewey Boulevard down the stretch to win the third leg by three lengths.