LONGSHOT colt Radio Active overcame eight others to snatch the first leg of the Philippine Racing Commission Triple Crown series for elite 3YO Thoroughbreds held last Sunday (May 15) at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.
The racing series, patterned after the US edition and held every summer, is the most prestigious and among the richest for 3YO and attracts the best participants of the season.
Indianpana took the lead at the start of the mile race, with favorite Dewey Boulevard in second, Space Needle third, and Radio Active fourth. All four were tightly bunched and each jockeying for a better position.
At the backstretch, Dewey Boulevard shook off the others and grabbed the lead followed off the pace by Radio Active, with Space Needle dropping half a length back to third and Indianpana to fourth.
Radio Active was obviously running hot and almost too much to handle for his young rider John Alvin Guce, taking the front position at the far turn and pulling away from the rest of the pack without whipping or urging.
Even though he raced wide at the home turn, Radio Active still forged a commanding lead and won by an impressive seven lengths, aided only by a few token flicks of the whip close to the finish line.
In his elation over the unexpected victory, Guce stood up in the irons before reaching the wire and was fined P1,000 by the stewards for grandstanding.
Radio Active is owned by SC Stockfarm and trained by Nestor Manalang. SC Stockfarm claimed the P1.8 million winner’s prize as well as the P100,000 breeder’s purse, having bred Radio Active from US-breds Lim Expensive Toys (sire) and Lacquaria (dam).
Underwood 2nd, Space Needle 3rd, Subterranean River 4th. Total time 1:41 (26-24’-23’-27).
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In the Philracom Hopeful Stakes mile held that same day, the honors went to Felizardo Sevilla Jr.’s Guatemala, another lightly-regarded entry.
Trained by Manuel Vicente and ridden by Kelvin Abobo, the win was worth P600,000. Pinagtipunan (favorite) 2nd, Real Flames 3rd, Dance Again 4th. Total time 1:43.6 ((26’-24’-25-27’).
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It was the favorite Nyquist who won this year’s Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the US Triple Crown. No surprise; as juvenile champion, he was clearly the one to beat.
The question is, can he take the second jewel in the crown, the Preakness Stakes? By all accounts, his workouts and gallops are fine and he is in excellent condition. He has a good chance of winning the Preakness, with it having a slightly shorter distance compared to the KY Derby.
In fact, we could be looking at another sweep of the Triple Crown, after American Pharoah ended the 37-year drought last year. Still need more convincing? Nyquist’s Derby time of 2:01.31 is the fastest since 2003 and almost two seconds better than American Pharoah’s last year.
The 2016 Preakness Stakes will be held May 21 at the Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore.
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