Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 20th 2016 Contents A57
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Racing continues in the doldrums as the
management committee continue to be bereft
of new ideas or any ideas as to how to propel
the sport forward.
The news during the last two weeks that a
board of the Trinidad and Tobago Racing
Authority (TTRA) had been identified promised
to at least improve the independent oversight
of the sport but since that initial rumour and
advice of names, there has been no outward
sign of such a development.
At the same time, the sport continues to wait
for the composition of the Betting Levy Board
to be finalised/announced. Both Boards are
integral to the operating of the sport.
The Arima Race Club (ARC) itself held an
Extraordinary General Meeting on the July 17,
but that was really to deal with overdue admin-
istrative and financial issues. None expected
much to come out of that meeting so none
With the rainy season upon us, it is hardly
surprising that all of the races scheduled for
the turf over the last two weeks have had to
be rerouted to the main track. Maybe the only
surprising thing is that so many turf races con-
Time for racing to step out crease
tinued to be scheduled by the relevant officials.
Hope no doubt springs eternal but so does the
rainfall, it seems.
While the club cannot be faulted for its optimism,
of more concern is the lack of imagination in trying
to stimulate the sport and the public s interest.
We continue to see the ARC going through the
regular routine and doing exactly the same thing
day in day out and as a result, we continue to see
exactly the same results.
What can be done differently? The club has to
start with its marketing efforts. August 1 is a public
holiday and also a raceday in which two of the
island s main races for the year will be contest-
ed---the Breeders Classic (for Trinidad bred horses)
and the President s Cup.
The club should begin to promote both races
almost immediately. There is only one race day
before August 1 and the club needs to start to build
excitement towards these events.
This has to be done through use of the local
media and if an advertising budget is a concern
then a combination of social media promotion (via
Facebook and Twitter) and the use of the racing
journalists employed by all of the media houses
can be employed. Traditionally, nothing happens
before the draw for the races during the week lead-
ing up to the event. This is old thinking and should
be replaced by more aggressive early promotion.
A second innovative approach could be the intro-
duction of a championship series. This could also
be launched on August 1. In much the same way
that a point system is employed for horses seeking
to get into the classic races (no longer really needed
because of the struggle to even fill a field on that
actual raceday), the club can consider establishing
end of year championship races for animals in dif-
ferent categories with points allotted along the
way. The points could vary depending on the class
within which the animal performs but the intention
is to have everything culminate in December 2016.
Along the way, the club could keep its promo-
tional activities alive to keep the interest of the
wider public in the performance of horses seeking
to compete in those end of season events. There
doesn t have to be many events and the prize
money need not be exorbitant, championship tro-
phies would go a long way for many owners in
Next the club needs to consider introducing
Open Days for Families at the Paddock. Times can
designated for families to visit the paddock and
take a tour of the various stables.
This can take place on some Sunday afternoons
where families can come to the traffic just to have
their kids walk around and visit with the horses.
It could almost be akin to a Sunday afternoon visit
to the Zoo. Concessionaires will be on hand to
offer refreshments for sale and the interaction with
the horses will help build increased interest in the
animal and hopefully, by extension, in the sport.
There also needs to be a reinvention of the
betting options for patrons. No new betting options
have been introduced for many years. People love
exotics. Have we exhausted all of the options in
this regard? Is it possible for us to bury the hatchet
with the betting pools?
Can we rationalise the amount of race tracks
that we feature on Saturdays? The old adage of
more being better does not necessarily apply if
punters believe that they do not have enough
chance to study their form or even enjoy one race
before another one is upon them. Some analysis
of betting patterns might be helpful in this regard.
New ideas are needed. Even if some of them
prove to be futile, at least no one will blame the
management committee for trying new things.
When was the last time that they tried to step out
of the crease? No time like the present if we are
to take the sport out of its current doldrums. Of
course this is all supposing people are interested
in racing more than personal agendas.
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