The PBMM Race Day takes up the stakes on all fronts - By Vivek Jain
Posted on - 25 Feb 2017
The PBMM Race Day takes up the stakes on all fronts
By Vivek Jain
The Poonawalla Breeders' Multi Million, or the PBMM, as it is popularly known, is the day that once crept up on the Indian Derby, both in attendance, prize money and visibility.
With the Derby having catapulted into a different league, the PBMM still holds its own as a day of style and fashion, and is reckoned as the juvenile derby of the winter, being the only three year old Grade 1 race before the seasons close for the summer. The total stakes of 1.5 crore is impressive enough to attract the leading names of the new crop to take a shot as "the" potential champion in the making. An all trophy seven race card makes for a superb day of racing, and for the first time, under lights though the PBMM will be at 6pm.
The race was conceptualized in 1990 by the Poonawalla brothers, Cyrus and Zavaray, when a million race was unheard of. It not only spawned a plethora of millions across all centres, but also focused on big ticket promotion and glamour and was the first event to give a car in a free contest of skill, and which remains in force till now. It was a day when ladies wore hats and gowns and fashion swept the turf, defying the Mumbai late February heat. Prizes for the best dressed, including for the best turned out horse draws the paparazzi in hordes chasing the glamour girls all over the course.
This year an added impetus has been given by the association of Radio Mirchi, and the Mirchi Binge Fest, which will see over a 100 food stalls, 80 fashion stalls , live music, a kid zone and even an organic market. And the added inclusion of another Times of India brand in Hello! With the Hello! Classic 2017, and a high tea of the social who's who, has all the trappings of a Super Sunday, and the last really big day of the Season. Two big brands on the same day as the PBMM is a big add on bonus, and should fill the stands to the brim.
The 28th running of the race, has a record of several champions who went on to win Indian classics such as Winning Pretty, Forest Fantasy, Her Excellency, Six Speed, Bourbon King, Autonomy, to name a few, though no past winner of this race has won the Indian Derby. Trainer Pesi Shroff and jockey Trevor Patel have won the last two editions and are on a hat trick. The late Dr M A M Ramaswamy has won this race a record seven times and the same stable has a prime contendor in Perfect Star this year. The only horses to win the PBMM and the Invitation Cup are Forest Fantasy and Autonomy, though eight of the 27 winners won either the Indian 1000 or 2000 Guineas.
The race looks a real humdinger with at least half of the seven in with a big chance. It is one day when the stakes are high as much off the track, with all the action and style which will run the thoroughbreds close as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea.