Years ago, when I heard that SM was to put up SM City San Lazaro where the San Lazaro Hippodrome was, I wondered what happened to the racetrack. I guess it shows my ignorance that I only learned recently that the Manila Jockey Club, which manages the Manila property, had moved its racing operations to Carmona, Cavite, establishing the 77-hectare recreational and residential San Lazaro Leisure Park with the new racetrack as its centerpiece. Among the residential properties in the Park is the Canyon Ranch development.
The Leisure Park was inaugurated a little over 5 years ago on May 28, 2002, coinciding with the 135th anniversary of the Manila Jockey Club. Races are held at the racetrack every week, and race bettors do not have to troop to Cavite to place their bets since the Club operates more than 200 off-track betting stations (OTBs) in the Greater Manila Area.
Checking the racetrack in Google Earth, it’s simple to learn, via the measure tool, that the inner racetrack is 1.29 kilometers long. The grandstand, where on-site bettors and race enthusiasts can watch the horse races, is easily seen just to the west of the track. And if you check out the satellite imagery in Google Maps you can spot the stables to the southeast of the track. The stables house more than a thousand horses and there’s even an equine pool in the middle of the complex (the long oblong structure), used to exercise the horses.