guests PHILRACOM chairman Reli de Leon is the special guest in the “Sports On Air” episode 4 last Feb. 4. With him in photo are People’s Tonight sports editor Ed Andaya and other veteran journalists.

Alba, Cojuangco head Hall of Fame nominees

February 7, 2022 Ed Andaya 418 views

PRE-WAR race jockey Ildefonso Alba and the late sports patron Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco are expected to head the first batch of inductees to the soon-to-be launched Philippine Racing Hall of Fame.

Speaking at the “Sports On Air Weekly” program, Philippine Racing Commission (PHILRACOM) Chairman Aurelio “Reli” de Leon said Alba and Cojuangco are hands down choices for the prestigious award to be given by the racing body for the first time in 155 years.

Alba was a pre-war Filipino race jockey who was once included in the Guinness Book of World Records, while Cojuangco served as the founding chairman of the PHILRACOM from 1975-1978.

“Horseracing, the sport of kings, started in the Philippines 155 years ago. But this is only the first time that we are introducing this Philippine Racing Hall of Fame,” De Leon told the six-man panel composed of veteran sports journalists.

“It’s a well-deseved and long-overdue recognition to the men and women who made horseracing in the Philippines the No. 1 spectator sport and multi-billion industry supporting the goverment,” added De Leon.

De Leon, who was appointed Chairman of the horseracing body in 2020, said more than 30 personalities have already been nominated by different horse racing associations/ clubs and various sectors representing jockey, trainers and horse owners.

“Based on the resolution approved by the PHILRACOM, we plan to have 10 awardees for the first year. Right now, there are already 33 nominees and a screening committee will be formed soon to review the list. This will be a yearly event, so yun hindi makasasama sa first batch of awardees will get the chance in future selections.”

De Leon, the 12th PHILRACOM chairman, also mentioned jockey Leonardo Trinidad, one of the most popular jockeys in the 70s.

“Nakita ko siya (Trinidad) na sumakay at may sarili siyang style. Elegant rider siya,” added De Leon.

The exact date and venue of the awarding ceremonies will be finalized late next month.

De Leon also announced the plan to hold the first Philippine Horseracing wnd Breeding Expo, preferably at SM Mega Trade Hall sometime in November or December.

“Depende sa health situation, gagawin natin yung horseracing expo, na may mga iba’t ibang booths, sa November or December. Kung pwede, isabay na din natin yun Hall of Fame ceremonies.”

De Leon also announced the schedule of major races this year.

— The Presidential Gold Cup with P10-million prices to be held every December.
— Cojuangco Cup with P5-million prizes every November.
— The Triple Crown ith P3.5-million in prizes per leg on May, June and July.
— The Triple Cup races with P2.5-million in prizes on February, March and May.
— Triple Cup for juvenile with P1.8-million in prizes.
— Hopeful races for 3-year- old horses with P1.5 million in prizes.
— Silver Cup with P3-million prizes.
–Grand Derby with P3-million prizes.
— Lakambini with P2-million prizes.
— Sampaguita with P2-million prizes.

Meanwhile, De Leon thanked the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham”Baham” Mitra, for helping PHILRACOM in cracking down on illegal bookies still operating in Metro Manila.

“Malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa GAB at kay Chairman Baham Mitra sa patuloy nilang kampanya katulong ang ating pulisya para masawata ang mga illegal bookies,”said De Leon.

“Patuloy din ang aming panawagan sa bayang karerista na huwag tumaya sa mga illegal bookies. Meron tayong mga OTBs (off-track-betting), pati na online or digital betting, na kung saan pati ang ating mga OFWs pati seamen ay nakatataya.”

“Sabi nga, just enjoy the races.” with reports from Gab Ferreras