WORLD-CLASS horseracing looms on the horizon as the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) increases the pot for the races and begins implementing a rating-based handicapping system as a result of its recent membership to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), whose mission is to promote good regulations and best practices on international matters pertaining to the sport.

The country's governing body for horse-racing has allotted P15 million in prize money, divided equally among the three racing clubs during a 15-weekend stretch which serves as a test run of its new rating-based IFHA handicapping system.


Benefitting from this increase in prize oney are races scheduled at the Manila Jockey Club on July 23, Aug. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 26, and Dec. 17; the Philippine Racing Club on July 9, Aug. 20, Sept. 10, Oct. 1 and Dec. 24; and the Metro Turf on Sept. 17, Oct. 29, Nov. 19, Dec. 10 and Dec. 31.

The Philippines is adopting IFHA's rating-based handicapping system this year as the international body's 31st member country.

Making up the elite IFHA membership is Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, United Aram Emirates, United States of America, South America, India, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Panama, Puerto Rico, Scandanavia, Singapore, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

"These IFHA member countries are enjoying a boom in their respective horse-racing industries because of the rating-based handicapping system, and soon, we in the Philippines, will do too," said Philracom Chairman Andrew A. Sanchez. "Our IFHA membership will ensure that Philippine racing will move towards globalization."

Philracom Commissioners Bienvenido Niles Jr. said that the benefits of Philracom's affiliation with IFHA will benefit the entire industry and help grow the revenues.

"Once we do this (rating-based handicapping), we can be sure that people will have confidence na 'yung mga kabayo are safe to bet on, they're healty, walang gamot, competitive. They will know that the handicapping is balanced para the races will be exciting. I think if we can do that, 'yung mga bettors nating will be happy," he said

Even the horseowners, Chairman Sanchez said, will benefit from this because of the increase prize money. "Dati iilan lang ang nabibiyayaan. Ngayon marami na, because we are increasing prizes from Classes 1 to 5. And once a racehorse owner gets the benefit from this, he will import more horses or use his earnings to makee his local ones here competitive daahil kaya na nya gastusan," Sancez reasoned out.

An additional P100,000 in prizes will be given in Class 1races, with Classes 2 to 5 getting P80,000, P60,000, P40,000 and P20,000, respectively, distributed from first to fourth places. Winning horse owner gets P30,000 in Class 1, while P20,000 and P10,000 are allotted in Classes 2 and 3, and 4 and 5, respectively.

Once area that excites Executive Director Buencamino, a veterinarian, is in the transfer of technology from one member IFHA nation to another.

"There is a committee on IFHA on horse welfare. If there's anything that we need, they can provide use with technical advise. Normally naman, there's a lot of sharing among members, so if there is a disease that is unique to a certain country, they let us know the treatments that are used," said Buencamino.