HITTING Spree put on the jets in the final 400 meters and left fierce rival and tormentor Tin Drum scrambling in its dust to deliver an emphatic five-length victory in keeping her Ambassador Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr. Cup crown at the Saddle & Clubs Leisure Park Racetrack in Naic, Cavite.
The defending Cojuangco Jr. Cup champion Hitting Spree lost to Tin Drum in the Henry Cojuangco Cup early in the year and that setback proved to be an extra motivation for the SC Stockfarm-owned five-year-old filly and her jockey Kelvin Abobo.
Hitting Spree stayed on the outside in the early goings and allowed the elite eight-horse cast to fight it over the lead of the long 2000-meter race.
Halfway through, Hitting Spree and Tin Drum found themselves in a heated race until the last 400 meters, where the reigning champion unleashed her final burst all the way to the finish of the stakes race put up by Philippine Racing Commission in honor of the San Miguel Corp. Chairman, a stalwart in the horseracing industry.
Abobo proved to be in sync with Hitting Spree as they both managed to stick to their game plan of conserving their strength before going all out in the stretch to seal the win in their much-awaited rematch against Cool Summer Farm’s Tin Drum.
“Na-preserve ko lang 'yung energy nu'ng kabayo (Hitting Spree) ko hanggang sa last 400 (meters), kahit medyo mabigat 'yung kabayo ko, kondisyon na kondisyon naman,” said Abobo, who was mindful of Tin Drum and rider RG Fernandez as their biggest threat in the field.
“Si Tin Drum kasi ang pinakaunang tumalo kay Hitting Spree. Extra motivation sa amin 'yun, kailangan namin sila bawian,” he added.
Hitting Spree took home P1.2 million, while Tin Drum settled for the runner-up purse of P450,000, with Pangalusian Island (jockey JP Guce, owner Wilbert Tan) taking third spot and the P250,000 cash prize and Und Kantar (RO Niu Jr., Melanie Habla) landing fourth and the P100,000 prize.
Earlier, the Emmanuel Santos-owned Pride of Laguna and jockey JD Juco controlled the race from the middle to score the victory at the 2018 Philracom 3YO Open Challenge.
Pride of Laguna considered as one of the top three-year-old horses in the country, received P900,000 for the victory including awards for its team, all sponsored by Philracom.
Other winners for the day were Fire Dancer in the Uratex Foam Special Trophy Race; Huckleberry in the 2YO Juvenile Colts and Fillies; Niccole Girl in the Bingson Tecson Special Trophy Race; Ava's Dream in the 3YO Colt and Filly Mile; Water Mania in the PAGCOR Special Trophy; Lakan in the 23rd MARHO's Breeder's Championship; I Love Jane in the SC Stockfarm Inc. Special Trophy; Wessfacckol in the Shelltex Bed Special Trophy Race; Salt and Pepper in the 23rd MARHO's Breeder's Championship and Smash Consolidator in the Esicor Incorporated Special Trophy.