LAST weekend’s races at the Philippine Racing Club Inc.’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, were a huge success.
Not only were exciting races run, but fundraising was also held to benefit worthy causes. I’ll coin a phrase to describe what went on—“fundracing,” or racing to raise funds.
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Last Sunday, (Aug. 20), the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office National Grand Derby benefited the Diabetes Center for Underprivileged Filipino Children and Adolescents, Inc.
Son Also Rises crushed the field, winning the mile race wire-to-wire by three lengths. Pinagtipunan, who came in second, also gave a good performance considering he was racing in last in the early stages of the race. 3rd Salt and Pepper, 4th Pinay Pharoah, 5th Great Wall. Time: 1:38 (24’-22’-23’-27’).
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Race 9 last Sunday was earmarked for the benefit of victims of the Marawi conflict. The purse was put up by the Philippine Racing Commission and PRCI.
The ratings-based handicap system race (that’s a mouthful, they should come up with a sexier name for it) was won by Oxygen, who came from behind to best six other horses.
Ni Hao led at the start, followed by Through the Years, Kimagure, Blue Eagle, Oxygen, Kuya Yani, and Boss Pogi last. Blue Eagle grabbed the lead in the backstretch, paced by Ni Hao and Through the Years.
Oxygen rallied on the outside to lead at the far turn. Kuya Yani put up a fight down the stretch, but failed to defeat Oxygen who won by a length and a quarter. 2nd Kuya Yani, 3rd Through the Years, 4th Ni Hao, 5th Kimagure. Time: 1:24.2 for 1,300 meters.
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Sunday sales exceeded P35.5 million. The day, marked by longshot wins beginning with Race 1, saw a P1.77 million carryover in the Winner-Take-All event to Thursday’s races.
As of presstime, PRCI is having its bolahan for the Thursday and Friday races under the eagle eye of no less than ever-supportive Philracom Chairman Andrew Sanchez.
Santa Ana Park Racing Manager Antonio B. Alcasid Jr. says he has asked Philracom for permission to use the ratings-based handicap system on Thursday, hoping it will result in a challenging racecard for racing fans keen to score the fat WTA pot.
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Last Saturday (Aug. 19), the George Y. Stribling Cup was held in honor of the late founder of the Philippine Jockeys Academy to benefit the current cohort of student jockeys.
In the 1,200-meter race sponsored by Philracom, the lead was taken by Top Stratum followed by Jazz Azia, Skeena, Copernicus, and the rest of the pack.
Jazz Asia, the favorite, led at the home turn and won by three lengths. 2nd Copernicus, 3rd Top Stratum, 4th Believable. Time: 1:14.4 (25-23-26’).
Jazz Asia’s rider Peter Guce was also last year’s winner of the GYS Cup. The other jockeys are calling him the “back-to-back champ.”
Peter was too young to study under “Lolo George” when the latter was still alive, but Peter’s older brothers, alums of the PJA, took him along to trainings where he met the old American horseman who devoted the last three decades of his life to uplifting horseracing in the Philippines.
The race proceeds will go towards the purchase of gear for the student riders, such as googles, safety vests, helmets, whips, and stirrups. The students, as the beneficiaries of the fundracing, attended the day’s festivities wearing commemorative Lolo George t-shirts.
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