By Jenny Ortuoste
The Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) announced on Sunday that horse races will commence on April 18 and 19 “subject to the lifting of the NCR (National Capital Region) community quarantine.”
In a post on its official Facebook page, Philracom wrote that races shall be held that weekend at San Lazaro Leisure Park “with the same lineup as was scheduled for March 14 and March 15” with a confirmation of entries on April 16.
Among those races were the Philracom Maiden Stakes race and the 3YO Road to the Triple Crown.
Philracom advised “horse owners, trainers, and jockeys to be ready with their horses participating in any of the races scheduled,” particularly those competing in the two stakes races mentioned.
New racing calendar
The agency also advised the horseracing community that “the NEW racing calendar from April 21, 2020 until July 31, 2020 shall be approved by the Philracom Board and shall be immediately published.”
A racing calendar, usually approved before the start of the year, schedules the races to be held at each racetrack in rotation.
There are at present three operational racetracks: Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite; Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite; and Metro Manila Turf Club’s Metroturf Racecourse in Malvar, Batangas.
Philracom Executive Director Dr. Andrew M. Buencamino told the Manila Bulletin that the one month’s break due to the community quarantine “would put the stakes race schedule out of sync, so what we plan to do is decide where to start day one of rotation” when races commence upon the lifting of the quarantine.
In view of President Duterte’s instruction to agencies of the executive branch to maintain only a skeletal force in office to deliver necessary public services during the NCR quarantine, Philracom also announced its compliance with the directive.
In a Facebook post on Monday (March 16), the agency wrote in Filipino that while they will reduce the number of personnel on duty, it will continue to receive letters from the public and that transactions remain open for those in the industry who need assistance.
“Humihingi po kami ng pag-unawa sapagkat skeletal force po lamang ang manning, ito po ay bukas 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunes hanggang Biyernes hangga’t possible, salamat po,” they wrote.
(We ask for your understanding because we only have a skeletal force manning the office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday while possible, thank you.)
In view of the start of the NCR community quarantine and its attendant concerns related to transport and checkpoints, Philracom also announced that it closed their office at 2 p.m. on Monday “for the safety of our employees to get home early. Please bear with us and wait for further announcements.”
Philracom is the government agency mandated to supervise and regulate the sport and industry of horse racing. The betting aspect of horse racing is under the jurisdiction of the Games and Amusements Board. Both agencies are under the Office of the President.