Philracom bats for horse racing as sports tourism

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2022 11:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom), under chairman Reli de Leon, wants local horse racing to become a key part of the sports tourism industry.

"It's about time to open Philippine horse racing to tourists," said De Leon during Tuesday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

De Leon said Philracom will soon present the plan before the Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the different embassies in the country.

"This will boost our sales. It will be good for sports tourism. The tourists will not only come to the Philippines to go to Boracay but experience horse racing here," said De Leon.

"We see this is a good way of promoting sports tourism," he added.

De Leon cited the Kentucky Derby in the United States as well as major races in Dubai, which attract as many as 100,000 tourists each year, as evidence of the potential of horse racing as a tourist attraction.

"This also means more money for our government and more employment for our countrymen," he pointed out.

He said unlike other countries that experience winter, which means a halt in horse racing, Philracom enjoys a yearlong calendar.

Philracom, according to De Leon, can coordinate with the various travel agencies in the country in putting up horse racing packages for tourists, including airfare, board and lodging and shuttles from their hotels to the racetracks.

"We will invite tourists from all over the world," said De Leon during the forum that was also graced by Philracom executive director Ron Corpuz.

Philracom also announced the staging of the country’s first 2,400-meter race on Sept. 18 at the MJCI in Carmona, Cavite, a three-day Horse Racing Festival and Expo from Oct. 14 to 16, and the Hall of Fame Awards on Dec. 4 where an initial batch of 10 awardees will be announced.

Among those expected to lead the awardees are the late Ambassador Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco and Don Antonio Floirendo Sr.

The festival will feature clinics on horse racing and breeding and horse care, not just for race horses but those being used in equestrian and polo. 

De Leon said an expert from Australia will come over to share the expertise. The festival will also feature conferences on jockeys, trainers and horse owners.

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