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Morales, Cortez, Tupas set pace

Lawyer Narciso Morales stayed on track in achieving an unprecedented three-peat among owners, sophomore jockey O’neal Cortez continued his amazing rise to stardom and trainer Ruben Tupas looked set to score another romp as the 2017 horse racing season entered its fifth month.

A Philippine Racing Commission report as of end-April shows Morales pulling away in the owners’ category and threatening to score another runaway victory as his stable posted 85 wins on top of 87 second, 95 third and 105 fourth place finishes for a staggering R19,378,753 total in prizes.

Last year, Morales, a businessman who’s been in the sport for almost three decades now, set a record in the local racing history by posting an eye-popping 223 wins to emerge the winningest owner for the third time in the last five years.

Wilbert Tan is way behind in second spot with an 18-16-18-11 (first, second, third and fourth finishes) tally and a P5,675,356 in winnings while former Mandaluyong City mayor Benjamin Abalos, Jr is running third with 22-4-7-10 and P5,471,844.

“Our team is elated to see our horses win and deliver. We’re thankful to the fans who continue to support our runners,” said Morales.

Cortez, on the other hand, continued to amaze as he moved up on top in the jockeys’ category with 60 wins in 249 rides. Veterans Jessie Guce (50 wins in 249 rides) and Jonathan Hernandez (47 in 180), are running second and third, respectively.

There’s no surprise in the trainers’ division, with Tupas still ahead by the proverbial mile with 78 wins, 85 second, 69 third and 74 fourth place finishes and P21,363,418 in winnings, followed by Conrado Vicente (44-45-41-44 and P10,305,946) and Jesse Lapuz (42-29-39-37 and P8,369, 451).

The leading horse is Pangalusian Island, who posted two wins, two second and one third place finishes and accumulated P2,080,804 in winnings to lead Triple Crown runner Golden Kingdom (three wins and P2,000,000 in winnings) and imported runner Sakima (four wins and P1,221,687).