MANILA – 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-deserved 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 government," he added.
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 (those who will not be included in the) first batch of awardees will get the chance in future selections,” he said.
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 (I saw him ride and he has his own style. He is elegant rider)," De Leon said.
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 wind Breeding Expo, preferably at SM Mega Trade Hall sometime in November or December.
He also announced the schedule of major races this year.
*The Presidential Gold Cup with PHP10-million prices to be held every December
*Cojuangco Cup with PHP5-million prizes every November
*The Triple Crown with PHP3.5-million in prizes per leg on May, June and July
*The Triple Cup races with PHP2.5-million in prizes on February, March and May
*Triple Cup for juvenile with PHP1.8-million in prizes
*Hopeful races for 3-year- old horses with PHP1.5 million in prizes
*Silver Cup with PHP3-million prizes
*Grand Derby with PHP3-million prizes
*Lakambini with PHP2-million prizes
*Sampaguita with PHP2-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 (We are grateful to the GAB and chairman Baham Mitra for their campaign with the help of police to crack down on illegal bookies)," De Leon said.