Anna Velas-Suarin


Those who have ever placed a bet or watched a horserace would know what Dividendazo means. For those who think this is a designer labelor a stock market lingo (e.g., from “dividends”) (wink!), this is the published schedules of horse races at the San Lazaro Race Tracks in Makati and Carmona. Sold at 7 pesos (or sometimes 10 pesos) per piece, this is considered the main “review document” for “karera” aficionados.

Horse racing aficionados rely on this to predict their winners.

I grew up in Paco, Manila and “karera” is a favorite past time of the men in my neighborhood. My Dad, for one, was a regular customer. He was not what others would consider a professional gambler but he enjoyed this Sunday pastime when others would down bottles of cerveza or quarto cantos in corner stores. I grew up enjoying how my Dad would shout and laugh in triumph whenever his horses and favorite “hinetes” (jockeys) won. He has this unique laughter that most people would describe us contagious. Contagious it was because I cannot remember a moment when his laughter didn’t also make me laugh. I think my laughter even has a resemblance in the way he laughs (to some of you who may find my laughter ‘crazy’, well, you have my Dad to blame…wink…wink).

Anyway, not to digress…this part of my childhood was somehow revisited last weekend when my sister (Rowena), and brother (Dennis), and I went to the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. (But before that, I must mention that we also went to the Canyon Ranch, a housing development by Century Properties. I like to mention this because Canyon Ranch is impressive. The house designs were simple yet pleasing and the place offers a breathtaking view of the valley and horse track below.

Anyway, the moment we entered the horserace track, I was already bitten by excitement. I then bought my first ever Dividendazo! I looked around and didn’t care that the people there were about 95% male. 🙂 The place smells of testosterone but I was too happy and excited to even care. My sister, brother, Ate’s hubby, my cute pamangkin, and F (my sister’s staff) got a table with a good view of the track and almost across the finish line of the oval track. We ordered food and drinks (and the usual beers for the men) and by the time we took our first bites and gulps, we were already thinking of what horses to bet for.

It was so enjoyable! I am not a gambler but this was so exciting for me. I didn’t win on the first game though. But hear this – my bets won in the next two games! Of course, my “consultants,” my brother and niece, should share the credits as they also helped me in deciding which horses to bet for. We only watched 4 games and winning 2 games out of the 4 is a good batting average, right?

But before you even think that I must be a millionaire now (wink!), I was only betting 10 pesos each horse so that only meant winning about 50 to 200 pesos each time my bets won. In horse racing, you must guess the first two horses who will reach the finish line. So that means, I paid 10 pesos each for the 1st and 2nd lead horses. One unit of bet is worth 5 pesos so if you bet 10 pesos, you have 2 units of bets. That means, if your horses win, you get double of the winnings assigned to the winning horse. For example, if you win a particular race and the amount of win is 70 pesos for that horse, your total winnings is 140 pesos.

Usually, those horses that have good standings would have lower “prize” amount because more people would naturally bet on them. They are what aficionados would call dehado bets. One has higher chances of winning on them but the prize would be lower. The opposite of this is called llamado – they are bets that a lesser number of people would vote for because the probability of their winning is lower. But when they do win, the prize is so much higher. The winnings I had from the two games were both dehado bets, ergo, lower prizes.

However, win or no win, I surely felt a winner after that day because not only did I had a natural high experiencing the excitement of betting for horses, I also had a super wonderful time with my loving siblings–my brother, who just came from abroad (he is a seafarer) and my beautiful sister. What more can I ask for? It was a day of excitement, laughter, wonderment, love and funny moments.

One thing I learned, too? Well, I must review the Dividendazo one week before I even go to a horserace again! 🙂

(Special thanks goes to “F” who helped us by placing our bets with the Leisure Park betting counter whenever we were done writing them on a piece of paper!)

 [Repost of a blog dated November 17, 2006 (from my previous site).]


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