Horse racing gets boost with fourth racetrack to rise in Batangas
A fourth racetrack will soon rise in Batangas, and this is seen as a major boost to the local horse-racing industry that is trying to get back on its feet after being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hapi Jockey Club, Inc. (HJCI) had its groundbreaking last week after securing a franchise from Congress and the Office of the President to operate for the next 25 years, becoming, upon completion, the fourth world-class racetrack after the San Lazaro Leisure Park, Santa Ana and Metro Manila Turf.
“We are very thrilled to have finally laid the foundation to a racing facility dedicated to all local horse-racing aficionados who are truly passionate for the sport and the industry that revolves around it,” said HJCI president Raymund Puyat.”
The HJCI will rise on a 50-hectare property in Padre Garcia and is expected to open early in 2024 but will be a far departure from the racetracks local racing fans have been accustomed to with the owners’ plan of patterning it after Churchill Downs in Louisville in the United States.
Philippine Racing Commission chair Reli de Leon was on hand to witness the groundbreaking together with HJCI directors Oliver Velazquez, Elmer de Leon, Aristeo Puyat, Manny Santos, Ramon Balatbat, and Manny Viray and local government officials of Batangas.
Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Derby and is a sight to behold with its long homestretch and tunnel where the horses come out of heading to the starting gate.
The new complex will not only feature a grandiose gallery for live spectators, but also a similar tunnel and a track that will run for a full mile (1,600 meters) from end to end, something that none of the current racetracks in operation has.
“We are committed to immediately begin construction of a one-mile twin oval racetrack that will at best be suitable and safe for our prized racehorses,” said De Leon, who is also HJCI treasurer. “Towards this end, we have secured the services of Trackmaster USA for the design of the main track as well as a separate exercise track that will be the centerpiece of the new racing complex.”
Official races will be run on the main track with the center racetrack reserved for training of the gallopers.
The site of the new racetrack is easily accessible from Lipa, Balete or San Jose-Ibaan Star Tollway Exit going to P. Torres Street (Lipa-Padre Garcia Road) and is adjacent to Lipa City, the renowned horse breeding capital of the Philippines and home to majority of the country’s foremost thoroughbred breeding farms counting the farm of last year’s top breeder, Hermie Esguerra.