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CARMONA, Cavite — Second pick Magna Carta humbled defending titlist Yes Pogi and eight others to rule the 39th PCSO Presidential Gold Cup race and run away with the biggest ever prize that went up for grabs in local horse racing history yesterday.
With the ever-reliable Jesse Guce handling him to perfection, the 3-year-old Magna Carta pulled away from the pack at the far turn, going home virtually unchallenged in the long 2000-meter race at the San Lazaro Leisure Park here.
The bay son of imported Woodman and Pledge The Fifth finished some four lengths in front of third favorite Sulong Pinoy under John Paul Guce and seven ahead of the fallen champ, Yes Pogi, who miserably missed displaying his usual remarkable finishing burst and wound up third under Manolito Daquis.
It was a rewarding day for the owner of Magna Carta — Sandy Javier of the Andok’s fame.
In all, Magna Carta’s stable went home with a total of P2.5 million in prize money that included a bonus of P1 million from the Philippine Racing Commission, the biggest ever won by a local runner.
And Magna Carta deserved every peso.
Running the outer rail, Guce sent Magna Carta scampering and leaving Carriedo, Yes Pogi, Gastambide and Sulong Pinoy behind as they left the far turn after staying in either fifth or sixth spot in the first 1,700 meters of the event.
By the time he turned for home, Magna Carta was already about three lengths in front of Sulong Pinoy and five ahead of Yes Pogi, who did most of his running using the inner rail and looked ready and able to make another run.
Turns out, Yes Pogi was good only in the first four quarters.
The winning time was 2 minutes and 7 seconds for Magna Carta, whose victory gave him the inside track in the race for the horse of the year award.
Trained by the venerable Ray Henson, Magna Carta carved a name as a juvenile, and easily made himself as the horse ably capable of ending the long, long search for a new Triple Crown champion.
But right off the first leg, Magna Carta proved a dud, finishing among the tailenders as an overwhelming pick. He made amends in the second leg, which he ruled in wire-to-wire fashion, only to fail miserably again in the third and final leg.
Although he won a couple of stakes races after that Triple Crown debacle, Magna Carta could only come in second in the popular daily double betting behind Yes Pogi, who was coming off a marvelous win in the MARHO Classic a few weeks ago.
But on this cloudy, windy afternoon, Magna Carta proved he was back in business.
The other highlight race in the afternoon went to second favorite Hagdang Bato, who won the Philracom Juvenile championship after top choice Humble Riches was disqualified by the board of stewards.
The stewards found the erstwhile unbeaten Humble Riches and her jockey Val Dilema to have committed an infraction while at the height of a pulse-pounding homestretch duel with the Jonathan Hernandez-ridden Hagdang Bato, who actually finished half-a-length behind.
A few moments after they turned for home, Humble Riches bumped Hagdang Bato, forcing the latter to race wide going into the last 100 meters of the one-mile event, an infraction that was big enough for the stewards to reverse the outcome.
Owned by Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos and trained by Ruben Tupas, Hagdang Bato, son of Quacker Ridge and Fire Down Under, clinched the top prize of P1.5 million, while going unbeaten in three outings so far as a 2-year-old.
The only girl in a field of six juveniles, Humble Riches settled for P562,000 as runner-up and saw her amazing eight-race winning streak come to an abrupt end.
Patron, ridden by John Paul Guce, also made a go of it but lost wind going into the final 50 meters and copped third place worth P312,000.