www.nationnews.com | By Lindon Yarde | Sun, August 21, 2011
Trinidad and Tobago is set to host the richest raceday in the history of horse racing in the Caribbean. Arima Racing Authority and Caribbean Racing Promotions Limited will stage the inaugural running of the Caribbean Nations Racing Challenge Raceday on Saturday, December 3.
The ten-race card will be held at that country’s lone racing facility Santa Rosa Park and carries a total purse of US$650 000. This information was revealed by advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Industry, Christopher Armond at a specially called meeting held Thursday at the offices of the Barbados Turf Club.
This US$2 million project is for Caribbean nations. Countries which were invited to participate are Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique, St Kitts and Trinidad and Tobago.
In reference to St Kitts’ participation Armond said that that country was expected to ascertain recognition from the International Turf Authority by August 29, failing which it would not be allowed to compete.
Armond was accompanied by chief government veterinarian Dr David Kangaloo who spoke about quarantine requirements for horses to enter Trinidad and Tobago. Up to press time the committee was still awaiting the approval of the cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago for the raceday but Armond assured racing enthusiasts that the event would go ahead.
“We have earmarked US$200 000 to transport the horses from and back to the respective territories. The race card features seven races on the main track and three on the turf track.
“Our main track accommodates 16 runners and our turf 12 runners. Half of each field will be reserved for Trinidad and Tobago horses and a minimum of one horse from each invited country.”
In order to qualify for entry in these races all horses must be domiciled in Trinidad and the invited country by October 1.
A horse can be nominated for a maximum of two races and there are three nomination stages those being stage one – October 5, stage two – November 2 and the final stage – November 23.
The performance of each horse will be reassessed after each nomination by a handicapping panel.
This undertaking is expected to generate further revenue for Trinidad whose major foreign exchange comes from natural gas and oil and is now seeking to build its sports tourism industry.
“This is Trinidad’s way of giving back and rewarding those investors in the Caribbean who each year invest so heavily in horse racing to keep this industry going,” Armond noted.
The facility at Santa Rosa Park can accommodate 7 000 people while air conditioned tents will be erected on the infield to house a further 800 or 900 people.