THE Philippines’ newest and most modern horse racing track is set to rise in the country’s fastest growing region following the groundbreaking of Hapi Jockey Club, Inc. (HJCI)’s 50-hectare thoroughbred racing complex in Padre Garcia, Batangas last May 3, 2022.

The momentous event was attended by a large contingent of major stakeholders from the local horseracing industry, led by the incorporators of HJCI, renowned racehorse owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, and top officials from the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom), the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), as well as local executives from the Municipality of Padre Garcia and the Province of Batangas.

“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. As such, we are hitting the ground running following the approval of HJCI’s franchise by both Houses of Congress and the Office of the President, ” said HJCI President and Director Raymund Puyat

Under Republic Act No. 11649, HJCI was granted a 25-year franchise to construct, operate and maintain racetracks for horse racing in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna and Cavite. Said franchise was formally approved and signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on March 8, 2022, and officially took effect last March 29, 2022.

Among those who participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony were Philracom Chairman Aurelio “Reli” de Leon, Padre Garcia Mayor Celsa Braga-Rivera, Batangas Provincial Board member Amado Carlos Bolilia IV, GAB Commissioner Braulio Lagrisola, Punong Barangay Ireneo Mancia of Brgy. San Felipe and HJCI Directors’ Raymund Puyat, Oliver “Jojo” Velazquez, Elmer de Leon, Aristeo Puyat, Manny Santos, Ramon Balatbat, and Manny Viray.

“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. 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,” said HJCI Treasurer and Director Elmer de Leon.

The site of the new racetrack is easily accessible from P. Torres Street or the Lipa-Padre Garcia Road from Lipa City, the renowned horse breeding capital of the Philippines and home to majority of the country’s foremost thoroughbred breeding farms.

“This new racetrack will be managed by industry stakeholders and professionals with the experience and the commitment to develop the sport to its full potential. With this historic development, all horse racing aficionados in the country can rest assure that their favorite spectator sport and leisure activity is here to stay for the long haul,” said HJCI Chairman Oliver “Jojo” Velasquez

Members of the new race club expressed confidence that its eventual operation will be instrumental in restoring public interest and confidence in the sport of horse racing and hasten its recovery as a consistent generator of revenue and employment amidst the challenges of the new normal.