THE richest purse in the history of Philippine horseracing will be up for grabs on Sunday when the Manila Jockey Club Inc. (MJCI) celebrates its 150th anniversary at the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.
Eight races, highlighted by the Founder’s Cup, which itself offers a record prize of P6 million, comprise the P14.5-million racing extravaganza, presented by the MJCI and supported by the Philippine Racing Commission.
“Ito na ang pinakamalaking papremyo sa larangan ng karera sa ating bansa, first time po ito para sa ating selebrasyon ng ating ika-150 taong anibersaryo ng MJCI,” said MJCI Racing Manager Jose Ramon Magboo.
Other races on the table are the 1st leg of the Triple Crown series, which offers P3 million in total prizes and two other Philracom-backed races --the P1-million Hopeful Stakes Race and the P500,000 Philracom 3YO Locally Bred Stakes Race.
Also slated are the P1-M Fundador Cup, the P1-M City of Dreams Stakes Races, the P1-M Resorts World Stakes Races and the P1-M PCSO Stakes Cup.
“Labing-tatlong horses po ang maglalaban-laban sa Founder’s Cup kung saan may mga foreign (imported) entries po tayo. May mga early favorites po, pero alam naman ng bayang karerista, na depende pa din po sa araw na ‘yun,” said Magboo.
Battling for the Founder’s Cup crown are James Albert Dichaves’ Adios Realty (US) and Speightsland (USA), Joseph Dyhengco’s Atomicseventynine (USA) and Dixie Gold (PHI), SC Stockfarm’s Hitting Spree (USA) and Sakima (USA), Benjamin Abalos Jr.’s Lakan (PHI), Benjamin Abalos III’s Kanlaon (PHI), Hermie Esguerra’s Manalig Ka (PHI), Jeci Lapus’ Premo Jewel (USA), Cool Summer Farm’s Skyway (PHI), Divina Yap Dy’s Strong Champion (AUS) and Wilbert Tan’s Subterranean River (PHI).
As the birthplace of Philippine horseracing, the Manila Jockey Club was established in 1867 by Gov. General Jose dela Gandara y Navarro and a group of around 100 founding partners, whose members come from prominent Spanish, American and Filipino families of Manila.
The centerpiece of the festivities is the 150th Anniversary Gala Celebration at the Winford Hotel and Casino on Saturday, a formal affair that will include an exhibit, dinner and entertainment, as well as an exciting program showcasing the past, present and future of the company. Prominent personalities from the diplomatic corps, government, business and international racing community are also expected to attend.