The never-ending feud that is Hagdang Bato versus Pugad Lawin continues on Oct. 18 at Santa Ana Park with the staging of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Anniversary mile.
The event pits the two contenders against each other once again in what has become a series of battles for ultimate supremacy. Neither has emerged unscathed from their encounters, with one or the other winning, or both losing to equally fierce opponents from the elite ranks.
On Sunday, Mayor Benhur Abalos’s Hagdang Bato will be paired with regular rider Jonathan Hernandez and Tony Tan’s Pugad Lawin with Patricio Dilema.
They will compete for the top prize of P800,000 against Felipe Vergara’s Messi (with John Alvin Guce), Ruben Dimacuha’s Low Profile (with Mark Alvarez), lawyer Narciso Morales’s Tap Dance (with Jesse Guce), and Jun Sevilla’s Penrith (with Kelvin Abobo).
These are all male horses: 4YOs Messi, Low Profile, and Tap Dance will carry 55 kgs., and 6YOs Pugad Lawin, Hagdang Bato, and Penrith will cary 56 kgs.
The second placer will receive P350,000, third P200,000, and fourth 150,000.
The race commemorates PCSO’s founding anniversary. This year marks the agency’s 81st year since it was established on 30 Oct. 1934 to institutionalize Sweepstakes draws for the purpose of raising funds for public health and welfare projects.
Lotteries have been conducted in the country since 1833. The Spanish colonial government ran a loteria through the Empresa de Reales Loteria Españolas de Filipinas, a private enterprise. Its most famous winner is certainly national hero Jose Rizal, who won P6,200 in an 1892 draw. He used his winnings to build a school and clinic in Dapitan during his exile there.
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The Philippine Racing Commission is carefully monitoring the condition of horses imported from Australia for the Hendra virus, a disease contagious to horses and humans.
Philracom Chairman Andrew A. Sanchez said that if necessary, the Commission is prepared to halt importation activities using Philracom’s powers as the government agency tasked with supervising and regulating horseracing and breeding. “We take the health of our horse population very seriously,” said Sanchez.
The racehorse population was decimated years ago by equine infectious anemia (EIA), resulting in strict requirements for horses to undergo the Coggins test for EIA before they are allowed to be transported from the ranches to the racetracks.
The present Commission under Sanchez is carefully monitoring the condition of horses coming into the country in order to prevent a similar outbreak.
According to Australian shipping agent Cameron Croucher in an email addressed to the Department of Agriculture, “there is an extremely low risk of infected horses traveling to the Philippines,” citing his country’s strict biosecurity measures.
Australia is one of the country’s top sources of Thoroughbred runners and bloodstock, along with New Zealand and the United States. The horses are employed for various sports including racing, riding, polo, and equestrian, and for breeding purposes.