Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2015 Contents A48
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The administrators of horse racing
in Trinidad continue to be the biggest
albatross around the necks of the indus-
try.Last week the sector was rocked by
the apparent suspension and almost
immediate certain resignation of the CEO
of the Arima Race Club (ARC), Christo-
pher Armond. While it seems that this
incident was a direct consequence of a
furor that arose over the adjustment of
the handicap rating of the racehorse Sour-
sop, that adjustment is not an isolated
Almost simultaneously, the industry
was advised of similar strange circum-
stances surrounding the rating assigned
to the racehorse Diamond Flirt. What is
most peculiar about that one is the con-
fusion seemed to surround the sex of the
racehorse. There is a very formal and
official process for verifying the identity
of a horse which includes the insertion
of a chip. One can understand a mixup
between colt and gelding maybe, because
that hardly matters except for breeding
purposes but between a colt and a filly?
Go figure! There are absolutely no clean
hands in so far as that one is concerned
and it remains to be seen if there will be
any fallout. Especially as two of the main
players in this situation owner Gerry
Harding and trainer John O Brien are
members of the ARC s management
committee. The horse s rating has been
revised but then, so has the rating of
With the amount of negatives taking
place, it is easy to overlook the positive
aspects of the industry. One must
acknowledge the many entities who
pooled their resources to sponsor racing
on June 20. The combined efforts of PKF
(Pannell Kerr Forster), CCN TV6, the
Winners Circle, Island Roofing, Newsday,
Command Performance, National Quar-
ries and RIK Services Ltd must be recog-
nised and applauded, in particular Tony
Harford who used his wily influence to
sort such.m Tony is a professional.
The work done to engage these spon-
sors could not have been easy and one
is left to wonder why some, who get
much more out of the industry do not
follow the example set by Harford and
his team. Many Stud Farms earn quite
a substantial return through the breeders
premiums that they earn and the more
successful the animals that they breed,
sell and race, the more revenue is gen-
erated. While the Stud Farm Association
sponsors one or maybe two days of racing,
surely there is room for individual stud
farms to step up to the plate and sponsor
if not an entire day, certain major
Most of the major races for Native
Bred horses only should be spon-
sored by Ocala Stud Farms, as they
gain the most in these promotions.
The season has been very com-
petitive among jockeys. Last year,
at this time, Brian Boodramsingh
was a runaway leader. That is not
the situation in 2015. And it is not
that he is riding any worse. It is
more a case of other riders having
stepped up to the plate. As we write,
there is a tie at the top between
Boodramsingh and Prayven Badrie
with 23 wins each. They are closely
pursued by Wilmer Galviz, Jovika
Boodramsingh and Ronald Ali with
20, 16 and 15 wins respectively. This
represents outstanding achievements
by these five riders after just 22 race
days. Once each of these riders con-
tinue to apply themselves as much
off the track -- in terms of their dili-
gence in riding out animals at gallops
every day and interacting with train-
ers to provide valuable feedback on
the development of their horses --
and conducting themselves during
the course of a race with integrity
and sound judgement, there is no
reason why they cannot continue
to be successful.
The trainers leaderboard is never
as competitive from a prize money
won perspective but this year, once
again, is being quite competitive.
Last year, it was Harold Chadee
who was giving O Brien all that he
could handle before his suspension
towards the end of the season. That
put paid to his challenge. This year
it is Glenn Mendez and Harriram
Gobin who are posing the most
threat. The leaderboard reads 30,
24 and 22 respectively. And while
O Brien has a healthy advantage in
the prize money category, Gobin
does have the best horse in the
country, Bigman In Town, back in
his stables and there are many high
quality stakes races still to come
which lie at the mercy of the Big-
man, once he remains sound.
O Brien doesn t have the same
strength in depth among his
imported racehorses but has great
depth in the creole category, par-
ticularly among the three year olds.
This should be enough to see him
hold on to his prize money crown
but Gobin, Mendez and Shaffique
Khan (in particular) have some
promising types who, if they
improve sufficiently and remain
sound, could be dangerous. There
is a nice battle looming here, pri-
marily for the wins title but possibly
for the prize money title as well.
For people who love the sport, it
is sometimes painful to witness
what is taking place with respect
to its administration. Hopefully one
day soon, the distractions and self
interests could be minimized and
people will administer the sport in
the best interest of the sport. There
is so much that can be achieved
and so many owners waiting for a
positive sign for them to re-engage
that it is already a travesty that we
have allowed the sport to meander
along for so long.
Administration --- racing's biggest albatross
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