THE Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) recently achieved a milestone after being formally accepted as a member of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), whose mission is to promote good regulation and best practices on international matters pertaining to the sport.
Members of the Philracom board, led by Chairman Andrew Sanchez, Commissioner Bienvenido Niles Jr. and Executive Director Andrew Buencamino, hailed the commission’s formal acceptance into the IFHA.
Philracom Commissioner Rep. Niles recently represented the Philracom to the 50thInternational Conference of Horseracing Authorities in Paris, where he formally accepted the commission’s inclusion to the 60-nation IFHA.
“We were officially accepted in their executive council meeting in April of this year, and we had to present to them during this Paris conference facts about the Philracom, how we run our races here, and they were quite impressed,” said Niles.
Commissioner Niles said Philracom’s entry into the IFHA membership “will make sure that horseracing in the Philippines is held at the highest level.”
“Race owners are very excited because they know this will open new avenues for them. At the same time, this will ensure that Philippine racing will move towards globalization,” explained Niles, adding the Philippines’ top horses can compete in future races abroad and vice versa.
One way to do this is through IFHA’s help in the Philracom’s handicapping (rating) and cataloguing system.
“We have to be aligned with the drug-free environment that they are trying to promote across all of the members of the IFHA. We also have to align with their handicapping system. We will need to get guidance from them in terms of how our horses can be rated, aligned with the norms and standard of international racing,” Niles said.
This, Niles expects, will benefit the entire industry and help grow the revenues.
“Once we do this, we can be sure that people will have confidence na ‘yung mga kabayo are safe to bet on, they’re healthy, walang gamot, competitive. They will know that the handicapping is balanced para the races will be exciting. I think if we can do that, ‘yung mga bettors natin will be happy,” he said.
On the other hand, one area that excites Executive Director Buencamino, a veterinarian, is in the transfer of technology from one member IFHA nation to another.
“There is a committee on IFHA on horse welfare. If there’s anything that we need, they can provide us with technical advise. Normally naman, there’s a lot of sharing among members, so if there is a disease that is unique to a certain country, they let us know the treatments that are used,” said Buencamino.