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D Boulevard rules Presidential Gold Cup

Jockey Patricio ‘Patty’ Dilema raises his hand in victory following Dewey Boulevard’s wire-to-wire win in the Presidential Gold Cup.

MANILA, Philippines — The stars finally aligned for businessman-sportsman Hermie Esguerra’s champion galloper Dewey Boulevard as he conquered the biggest and most coveted prize of them all last Sunday by winning the prestigious PCSO Presidential Gold Cup against local racing’s cream of the crop at the Metro Manila Turf Club in Malvar, Batangas.

Now on its 45th running, the PCSO-sponsored Presidential Gold Cup is the highlight race of the local racing calendar and attracts the participation of the finest locally-bred gallopers in the country competing for the title as the year’s best.

“The staging of the Presidential Gold Cup is a reaffirmation of the PCSO’s commitment to support the local horse racing industry which has been its valuable partner in raising funds for charity for more than 83 years. Likewise, this classic event aims to recognize the champions of the sport and the improvement of the local breed,” said PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan.

Dewey Boulevard’s impressive wire-to-wire victory finally settled this year’s battle for local racing’s premiership title and elevated him to the elite roster of Presidential Gold Cup winners, an exclusive club of champions which also included former racing greats Wind Blown (2000 and 2001) and Real Spicy (2006), two of Esguerra’s celebrated campaigners who have dominated local racing during their prime.

“He definitely exceeded everyone’s expectations and simply ran a perfect race, a true championship performance,” said the multi-titled horse owner and breeder, who collected his third Presidential Gold Cup trophy.

Another significant factor that came into play for Dewey Boulevard was Esguerra’s decision to tap the services of veteran jockey Patricio “Patty” Dilema to partner the multiple stakes winning galloper. The proven journeyman rider is no stranger to winning the Gold Cup, having piloted the likes of Wind Blown, Pugad Lawin and Dixie Gold to stellar victories in the local classic.

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“He handled him very, very well and their partnership was a perfect fit, like hand in glove,” said Esguerra, who also credited Dilema for setting a perfect pace with splits of 25.5-24.5-24.5-24-26 for a final clocking of 2:05 over the classic 2,000-meter route.

“As they say, pace makes the race and Patty made sure that they were in complete control of the race’s pace from the opening of the gates through the final stretch,” he added.

Esguerra and Dilema’s partnership has actually come full circle, having piloted Wind Blown to victory in the 2001 edition of the Presidential Gold Cup at the Santa Ana Park, which was attended no less by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the last time that a sitting Chief Executive has ever graced the blue-ribbon racing event spearheaded by the PCSO. 

More than the prestige of the race, which was first won by the legendary Sun God of Don Pedro Cojuangco in 1973, the Presidential Gold Cup has also become the richest and most coveted in all of local racing, with a guaranteed winner’s purse of P4-Million.

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