Amid rise of casinos, Sta. Ana race track operator mulls future of horseracing

Photo from means BUSINESS

MANILA - Philippine Racing Club Inc said its horseracing business is "stabilizing," as the company looks to develop its large property in Cavite.

Simeon Cua, PhilRacing president and chief executive officer, told reporters that horseracing “has not grown as much as we wanted," citing "a lot" of competition in the gaming business.

The government is putting up the Entertainment City, Asia's newest gaming hub that is poised to beat those in Las Vegas and Singapore. By 2016, the 120-hectare reclaimed Manila Bay area will play host to four world class integrated entertainment resorts, which will host casinos drawing high rollers from mainland China and other parts of the globe.

"If you remember the horseracing business started when there was no other gaming business. Obviously, we will be affected [by the casinos]. By how much? It depends. Horse racing is a very peculiar gaming industry," said Cua.

But PhilRacing remains optimistic about its prospects.

"I think there is always an opportunity because there are many other things that we can improve," said Cua.

Since 2009, PhilRacing has been operating in a new racetrack in Naic, Cavite, occupying a portion of its 65-hectare property. The horseracing operator is turning its old Sta Ana Race Track in Makati into an entertainment district through a partnership with Ayala Land Inc.

PhilRacing is open to partnering with other real estate developers to unlock the value of the remaining 50-hectare portion of the land, adding that another partnership with Ayala Land is "always possible.”

The property is fit for residential, commercial and industrial uses since “the city is starting to move over to that location,” Cua said.

Antonino Aquino, Ayala Land president, said the real estate giant will "take a look" at the property, calling its relationship with PhilRacing a "perfect partnership."

"The feeling is very complementary. We see there is a shared value system between the two groups. We're both interested in the long-term development of Makati in particular. That's where we started, that's where Ayala started," said Aquino.

Formed in 1937, PhilRacing holds the franchise to construct, operate and maintain one racetrack in Makati City or anywhere within the provinces of Rizal, Laguna and Cavite, and conduct horse races in the area. PhilRacing may also take or arrange bets for races conducted in or outside the Philippines. 

In 1995, its franchise was renewed for another 25 years starting October 1997 up to year 2022.