Relocating Historicity: Sta. Ana Park in Cavite?

Posted: September 19, 2010 in culture
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Do jockeys really mind to get a trophy?

September 19, 2010. It is so funny that I have to take PhD for me to see an actual horse race unfold in my very eyes. I bet 20 on daily double and I won 63 pesos. Then, I bet again for the pick five with back up for 64 pesos, unfortunately I loss. How much did I really get to win, after travelling hours to Naic, Cavite; spending 275 pesos for a grande cup of black currant juice and turkey-chicken Tuscan sandwich? Added to this is my taxi fare of 100 to get to our meeting place, and 14 pesos for the jeepney fare to get home, and 30 pesos for the tricycle?

On Game Theory, John Von Neumann explains that everyone in the game is trying to win and their behavior is driven by rational choices of strategies as they consider the rules and payoffs at stake (cited in McCain, 2004). In a game, the action a player depends not only on the particular action taken by him, but also on the action taken by the other (Carmichael, 2005). At this juncture, I have to add on the fact that in a game where people gamble or take risk, the behavior is also influenced by some cultural belief to fortune, luck or swerte. The latter is penultimate to taking chances.

Who’s the player in a horserace? Naturally, they are not the horses, but the jockeys, the bettors, the horse-owners and the franchise that run the whole system of the horseracing sports. All these people were there when our group witnessed the UP-Communication Research Trophy Race. There I was a bettor and played twice, and played in front of a national TV camera during the awarding ceremony.

What are UP PhD students doing in here?

It was really my first to be in the playing field, as a newcomer, I had try betting so I could know what’s going in the bettors mind and how does it really feel. There I understood, that gambling puts a person in another oblivious state of anticipation, excitement, thrill and wishful thinking to get the pot. The feeling of being lucky induced the urge in me to bet more. That, I think is the snare which catches a gambler to remain in the cycle of taking chances. The feeling that one accomplished something by strategic thinking as evidenced by winning is another driving force. But all ends in regret, when the strategies did not work. Then I entertained the thought I was not just lucky, so I would try again my luck sometimes,  or I that I  needed to learn more and go there again with a vengeance.

Looking at numbers, the odd numerology of luck?

Me thinking, what's the mantra to invoke the God of horses to make me win?


I was expecting that its new structure will be grander than what it was in my hometown in Sta. Ana Manila. From since I was a kid, the Sta. Ana Race track fascinated me a lot, the towering two horses that watched over Pasong Tamo are rare signifiers that welcomes everyone to the hometown of Philippine Horse Racing. Before, the old Sta. Ana Park was demolished it housed two huge art-deco stadiums, where tens of thousand kareristas could fit in.

Vast land reserved for horses

The Stables

I knew this as we had a chance to spend a prom there when I was in high school, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Manila. But that historic structure are billowed to ground, only one horse head is left in the island along Pasong Tamo, it’s height is also shortened just up to the eye level. A cultural heritage that our hometown used to own has been relocated somewhere else.

Relic of the Past

It is only this year, during the last session of the Congress that a legislative move was enacted to keep any structure from being torn down, if it is 50 years older and is a cultural heritage or any sense of history. If the move to negotiation to sell the Sta. Ana Park had been a little delayed or its demolition had been late, the Old Sta. Ana Park will have remained as a cultural site.

The New Sta Ana Park of Naic Cavite

The Stadium from inside

Takilya, tayaan at kubrahan ng karerista

Ceiling from the lobby of the New Sta Ana Park

VIP Lounge


There is historicity and stories to every place. My story of betting in a horse race was a first time, and probably it will be a part of my own life-history when years passed. Feeling lucky, because during the first race, my bet was still “live”, I reviewed and tried to understand the foreign language of the kareristas in their dividendazo. I had my picks, upon tracking the performance of those horses and reading the tips. But I loss, the critical thinking skills that I learned from almost twenty years of schooling didn’t just work. I wonder how the other bettors performed in their pag-aaral?

Couple, dating or betting?

Hoping that our horses win

Waiting for the race

 The New Sta. Ana Park is sitting in a 400 hectare lot, filled with talahib. From the road, it is really difficult to see the stadium, and its gate is not as grand as it used to be in Manila. The place I thought is not just Sta.Ana, and the Philippine Racing Club is just using the name of its origin. Nothing really beats the original, but now the original is gone and new history is being started along with its relocation. The PRC’s history is with Sta. Ana, but it has distanced itself from that and so with the original kareristas.

The Old Sta Ana ParkRelic of the Past

Stone bench from Old Sta Ana Park


 These kareristas now rely on the hyperreal representation of the race through television broadcast. The thrill is not anymore there. While watching the people in the stadium, I did not feel the excitement and the enthusiasm of the kareristas while the horse ran. The trumpet sound should signal that energy, but that was not there. Pangangarera must not be a culture of these people, except for the old guys who were there.

Bettors reviewing and waiting for the race to be called

There are more males in the stadium, the jockeys were all males and they bring in their family to watch. Very few women are there. Yes, there were female bettors that I saw. One was an old lady who is probably at 60s, and she was so curious about how much I won and which I bet on.  She lost in the daily double, but I won. Most of the guys there come in groups, and are friends with each other. But there are also some people who are there alone.

Icons in the hall

We went there on a Sunday, a holy day of obligation, but there are the faithful of the Karera, in awe of how their betted on horses would take the stake for them. The New Sta Ana Park is not much iconic to mystify the community in its new location. It is like reborn that would need a longer time to mature again and be on back in its glory. It’s welcoming, cozy and modern façade may have the elegance of newness but it didn’t give me the impression of the ambiance of the karera that was.

 In some casual conversations with Jenny Ortuoste who hosts the Silip sa Karera program on TV, she shared to me some of her analysis on the income from bettors, that it has declined. The relocation of the two horse racing parks, Sta. Ana and San Lazaro to Cavite could be a factor. Kareristas live and breathe karera, it is a part of their life and their experiences. Taking it away from them, and putting on a hyperreal substitute is still a loss.  Communication with the community from within and outside the karera will be integral to put its life back on track.

Jenny and Atty. Willie live on Silip

Technical Crew of Silip sa Karera

History left for posterity in the pictures


Horesracing is a game, horsebetting is also a game of chances. The relocation of the race track is another game that the horse-owners and the Philipine Racing Club has taken the chance to play. In games, there are strategies, real winners should know the rules, the strategies and payoffs of the game. They should be analyze their actions, the behavior of the people in thier community, and the new community where they are.  If I’m not mistaken, from the movies I saw located in Cavite, that the province is just so fascinated with sabong and not the karera.


Carmicahel, F. (2005). A guide to game theory. Harlow, UK: Perason Education Ltd.

McCain, R.A. (2004). Game Theory: A non-Technical Introduction to the Analysis of Strategy. Mason, OH: South-Western.

  1. benjo opena says:

    It is ashamed that places such as the old Sta. Ana racing track has been forgotten by many. It serves as a landmark to us Filipinos since the old days and yet it has been neglected. It should have been preserved or to keep it operating as it caters to the people of Manila. Karera is not my cup of tea but I feel that I belong to a society that admires entertainment such as Karera. It does not only bring winners or losers of the game but it also brings out the excitement, thrill and the spirit that you only feel during the game. That has been taken away from the Manilenios. Instead, those who are enthusiasts will have to travel a very long and exhausting journey to the right very end of Cavite (Naic) to watch the sport. By the way, I have been to Naic before so I know what the journey is like.
    I am now residing in the U.K. and on this other side of the world they preserve even old structures of building, houses and monuments. If a house, for example, is classified as a listed building, it is never to be demolished. I am talking about just a house. This means that the house can be renovated inside but the outside part needs to be left as it is. The inside part of the house can look spanking new and modern but the outside part has to be left like how it was built before. Now what more to a landmark such as the Sta. Ana racing track. If that track was here, I am pretty sure that would have been preserved. The Queen of the United Kingdom is an avid fan of the horse race. She would have kept the original features of the Sta. Ana race track.
    Such structures are only to be remembered but not to be seen standing proud anymore. The Sta. Ana race track will be like the building of the Jai Alai. A forgotten Heritage. That is something I am no proud of.

  2. rodrigo2.0 says:

    Great thoughts benjo. That’s the hard reality in this country. Many of its nationals are not paying attention to what is valuable as a cultural heritage.

  3. nette says:

    hi! please help me… my husband is so addicted to horse racing even he’s working abroad. it is part of his daily routine to review the race program and he sometimes ask me to place his bet in the nearest otb here in our area. on the first week of august… he’s coming home for 2 wiks vacation. before, he felt that i dont support him with this.. but now, as my gift to his sacrifices to work away from us… i want to surprise him by bringing him live at sta ana race park in cavite. please help me on how can we get there! were living here in bacoor cavite but im not familiar with cavite areas yet. please help me… from sm bacoor how can we go to sta ana park. please.. please…

    • rod rivera says:

      Hi nette, sta ana park is now in naic cavite. One of the program host accompanied me there, i’ll try to post this link on her site so she could give you details of how to go there.
      thanks for reading and posting. I’m glad I was able to help.

  4. Hi, Nette! There are two racetracks in Cavite.

    San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP) in Carmona, Cavite, is nearer to Manila. Just take SLEX all the way to the Carmona Exit, then take a right at the exit, and straight along Governor’s Drive for about 5 -8 mins. You will see the entrance of SLLP on your left just after the road going to Southwoods on your right.

    Going to Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, go along Roxas Blvd to Coastal until you reach the new road that goes straight. Take that, then just keep taking the roads going to Naic until you hit Governor’s Drive again – this time, the other end. Straight along that until you reach Santa Ana Park on your left.

    You could also reach Santa Ana by going straight along Governor’s Drive from SLLP for another 40 minutes, pero mas mahabang biyahe un.

    Stakes sched for August – SLLP: Aug 7, Peridot Stakes; Aug 19, Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing Memorial Cup. // Santa Ana Park: Aug 13, 3rd leg Philracom Juvenile Stx (fillies); Aug 14, 3rd leg Philracom Juvenile Stx (colts); Aug 28, Lakambini Stx.

  5. nette says:

    ay! thank you so much for your very detailed answer… ill try to go there soon so i can familiarize myself sa route…:) thanks again for the help ms jenny and sir rod as well! 🙂

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