The PCSO Presidential Gold Cup turns 36 years old this year.
And to mark the celebration, five Triple Crown leg winners and two other topnotch horses are competing in this year-ending blockbuster which stakes a total of P2.3 million. A fat paycheck of P1.5 million will go to the winner with the second placer earning P500,000, third P350,000 and fourth P125,000.
Leading the pack in the 36th PCSO Presidential Cup at the Santa Ana Park in Makati City on Sunday are 2007 two-leg Triple Crown winner Ibarra of Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos and sportsman Hermie Esguerra?s Real Spicy, the 2006 TC champion, and Indelible Ink, 2008 TC first leg winner.
The other entries?who are also expected to figure prominently in the race for the big bucks?are Es Twenty Six, 2007 third leg TC champion; and 2008 third leg TC champion Shining Fame; and non-TC winners Native Land and Henry D? Eight.
The PCSO Presidential Gold Cup was conceived by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board headed by the late PCSO chair and general manager Nereo C. Andolong.
A high point of the bayang karerista?s calendar since then, Don Pedro Cojuangco?s Sun God won the inaugural race in 1973. The following year, crowd favorite Ilocos King, Constante Rubio?s timeless galloper, took the coveted crown. Henry Cojuangco?s home-bred and Triple Crown champion Skywalker won in grand fashion in 1983 to become the undisputed champion that year.
There were upsets galore in the history of the Gold Cup. Among these upset-makers were 1986 winner Music Machine of Jenar Breeders Corp. of the Galang brothers, who were participating for only the first time in the Gold Cup series; Thriller, the one-eyed galloper from the Andrew Sanchez stable who won in 1988; unheralded Balatkayo, owned by former Philippine Racing Commission chair Augusto ?Ochie? Santos, who prevailed in 1991; and long-shot charger Fair Start, son of racing legend Fair and Square, who did the trick in 1993.
There were also dramatic back-to-back victories in the Gold Cup. The twin champions included Fair and Square from the Herminia Mamon stable who prevailed in 1981 and 1982; Sun Dancer owned by Japanese Toshio Abe who won in 1989 and 1990; Bulldozer of Ramoncito Arceo and Katkarian Inc. who scored in 1996 and 1997 and Esguerra?s superhorse Wind Blown, who triumphed in 2000 and 2001.
Wind Blown went on to amass an awesome record of 36 victories in 49 career starts, earning a record total of P18,978,695.50.
The much-awaited Dream Match between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Dec. 6 (Dec. 7 in Manila) brings back memories of the glory days when Philippine boxing was in full bloom. During the late 1950s and for the most part of the 1960s when the legendary Hall of Famer Gabriel ?Flash? Elorde reigned supreme, Elorde?s fights were also keenly awaited.
There was a time when the fans stormed the gates of the Rizal Memorial Stadium, breaking the steel gates to the chagrin of the security officers. And ring diehards even pitched tents outside the fight site just so they could enter and watch Elorde fight during the inaugural presentation on March 16, 1960 at the Araneta Coliseum...Based on its vast experience, consistent performance plus the advantage of playing before a hometown crowd, I pick Team Philippines over The World in their Grand Villards Billiards Showdown at the Trinoma Mall. A first prize of $40,000 (roughly P2 million) awaits the winner of this tournament.