For making 2012 a season to remember in horse racing, horse Hagdang Bato and jockey Jonathan Hernandez emerged the unanimous choices to receive the highest honor in their sport during the Philippine Sportswriters Association-Milo Annual Awards Night on March 16 at the Manila Hotel grand ballroom.
In a performance acknowledged as the greatest of his time, Hagdang Bato won 10 big stakes races, including a sweep of the Triple Crown Series, went unbeaten in 11 appearances, and delivered almost P15 million in prizes to his stable as he raced to prominence practically unchallenged.
The 3-year-old horse of Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos achieved this amazing run of victories under the reins of Hernandez, a product of the jockeys’ academy. He described Hagdang Bato as the finest horse he has ridden in almost two decades.
“It was a no brainer (selection of Hagdang Bato and Hernandez). The board had an easy time making the choice. What the horse and the jockey did was simply amazing,” said PSA president Rey Bancod of Tempo after the PSA board meeting recently.
Along with other heroes and heroines who made the past year a big one for local sports, Hagdang Bato and Hernandez will be honored with major awards during a two-hour rites backed by International Container Terminal Services Inc.-Philippine Golf Tour, Philippine Sports Commission, Harbour Centre, Senator Chiz Escudero, Smart, LBC and the Philippine Basketball Association.
At the head of the honor roll are pro boxer Nonito Donaire Jr., amateur fighter Josie Gabuco, the Manila women’s softball team, and the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who will go up the stage as co-winners of the prestigious Athlete of the Year award.
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