Big things are in store for Philippine horseracing industry this year.
More big races, racing exhibits, and a first ever Hall of Fame are some of the plans in the pipe bag for the Philippine Racing Commission in the next 11 months.
Philracom Chairman Reli De Leon disclosed the holding of the inaugural Triple Cup stakes races later in the year featuring four-year-old and above horses, and the revival of the Araw Ng Maynila races, popularly known as the Gran Copa De Manila in time for the city’s celebration of its founding anniversary on June 24.
Then there’s also the staging of a special 2,400-meter distance race on September – the longest to be held in the country – a first ever Philippine Horseracing Expo at the World Trade by October, and the launching of the maiden Hall of Fame in local horseracing.
“Sabi ko nga 155 years na yung karera sa Pilipinas, the oldest in Asia, but this is the first time that we will be having our Hall of Fame awardees,” said De Leon in the virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.
“There are many first things to happen (in horseracing) this year. We’re trying to think out of the box projections or plans for us to have more exciting races to offer to the racing public.”
The grand plans by the Philracom are borne out of the encouraging figures earned by the industry last year which amounted to P2.3 billion, or more than doubled the sales it gained in 2020 (P1.1 billion) at the height of the pandemic.
For 2022, De Leon said his office is projecting sales of at least P4.5 billion.
“I’m very happy to report that we bounced back stronger last year compared to 2020,” stressed the Philracom chairman in the same public sports program presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), MILO, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Amelie Hotel Manila, Unilever, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“Our contribution to the government last year was P680 million, so most probably this year, we will reach P900 million to P1 billon contribution for the government.”
The figures are attainable with the numerous stakes races to be held in the coming weeks, including the traditional Triple Crown series in the middle of the year.
With COVID-19 cases also in the downswing and possibly, the rest of Luzon being put under Alert Level 2 later this month, the Philracom is confident the ‘Bayang Karerista’ will already be allowed to watch the races live in the different race tracks albeit a certain percentage of its total capacity.
“There is a provision by the government today that LGUs (Local Government Units) are the ones deciding the availability of people entering the race track. It is upon the jurisdiction of the LGU,” said De Leon. “Probably under Alert Level 2, siguro mga 20 percent of the sports fans will be around.”