In a memorable 2016 season, a horseowner posted a record that’s expected to withstand the test of time, a veteran jockey continued to deliver, a horse recovered from a humiliating defeat and dominated again and a venerable trainer emerged tops for the nth time.
Drawing one win after another in the regular races in another amazing year, businessman Narciso O. Morales recorded an eye-popping total of 223 wins that went down in local racing’s history as the highest ever as he made it two-in-a-row among horseowners.
In addition, Morales also posted 285 second, 278 third and 275 fourth place windups as he finished ahead by the proverbial mile over runner-up SC Stockfarm (71-43-37-31) and third placer Hermie Esguerra (48-19-23-17).
“I salute my team for preparing our runners well and I thank the fans for supporting our stable. We’ll try to do well again in the new season,” said Morales, who also finished No. 1 last year with a 165-plus victories.
Based on the annual Philippine Racing Commission report, jockey Jonathan Hernandez, horse Low Profile and trainer Ruben Tupas also emerged tops in their respective divisions to share the spotlight with Morales.
Hernandez clinched 173 wins, including six stakes races on board top horse Dewey Boulevard of the Esguerra stable, to beat another tested jockey in Jesse Guce ,who recorded 160 victories and Mark Gonzales, who had 159 triumphs in a brilliant showing by an apprentice.
After an embarrassing defeat in the 2015 Presidential Gold Cup, Low Profile returned to win last year’s running of the prestigious event and cap a productive season that saw the horse and his jockey Mark Alvarez rule four of the country’s biggest, richest races.
Low Profile posted seven wins in eight outings in 2016 and delivered P7,537,587 in prizes to owner Ruben Dimacuha, including P4 million in winning the 42nd edition of the PGC. Dewey Boulevard came in second with P6,293,072.
There was nothing new in the outcome in the trainers’ division, with Tupas finishing No. 1 again with 232 victories and CM Vicente (138) and Dave dela Cruz (133) ending up second and third, respectively.
Morales, a land transportation magnate, has about 50 horses actively running in three racetracks and hopes his stable will do well again as he bids for a fourth title as ‘winningest’ horseowner.
“We’ll go for it (finishing No. 1 again). But it will take us a lot of doing because the other owners will be ready as always,” Morales said.