Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 1st 2017 Contents sports A41
Monday, May 1, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Immigrant workers at Churchill
Downs fear deportation
LOUISVILLE---The backside of Churchill
Downs hums with activity as workers clean
stalls, bathe horses and lead the muscular
animals on strolls to cool them down after
workouts. The quiet is broken when they
speak to each other and the horses --- in
Though they do their work a world away
from the grandstand and Millionaire's Row,
where fans will sip mint juleps, don fancy
hats and cheer for their Kentucky Derby
favourites on the first Saturday in May,
immigrants have become indispensable at
Churchill Downs and other tracks, people
in the industry say. Now, fear is spreading
that a Trump administration crackdown
on immigration will be a calamity both for
the tracks and for many of their workers.
While there's widespread acknowledge-
ment that some jobs go to undocumented
workers, many trainers rely on the H-2B
visa program to supply immigrant workers
legally, and the tightening of that program
has contributed to a worker shortage.
Some argue that the presence of foreign
workers has a downward drag on every-
body else's income. But Dale Romans, the
second-winningest trainer in Churchill's
history, says he can't find American workers
to do the jobs.
"This is definitely a business that sur-
vives on an immigrant workforce," Romans
said. "Without it, I don't know what we
The apprehension on the backside has
been stoked by the election of Donald
Trump, who staked out a role as an im-
migration hard-liner during the campaign
and referred to some Mexican immigrants
as rapists and murderers.
"I wouldn't say it's an extreme fear, but
there is nervousness" among Churchill's
immigrant workers, track chaplain Joseph
del Rosario said. "There's fear they're going
to get kicked out just because they're not
Said one 53-year-old backside hand
who has worked at racetracks across the
country: "I'm scared. Because one day, I
don't know, they catch me and send me
The man, who agreed to an interview only
on the condition his name not be used be-
cause he fears being exposed to immigration
authorities, said his visa expired a couple of
years ago but he has kept working, moving
up the ranks in the barns where he works.
His family has made a life in the United
States; if he had to return to Mexico, he said,
he'd probably toil in the avocado fields.
Even workers here legally on visas wor-
ry about the threat of immigration crack-
"A lot of people here, they're scared," said
Cesar Abrego, a 46-year-old groom who
came from Guatemala on an H-2B visa.
"With the president coming, everybody
says, 'Be careful.'"
Like many of the immigrant workers,
Abrego dutifully sends money back home.
He has three children to support, and wor-
ries the visa programme that sustains his
family will be cut. He could find construc-
tion or roofing work in Guatemala, but be-
lieves his approximately $450-per-week
take-home pay as a groom would be cut
more than half.
It's a complicated, time-consuming pro-
cess for horsemen to get visa workers to
their barns. Trainers typically hire immi-
gration attorneys to handle the paperwork.
A 'Team' worth
Cool Team is selected to beat thirteen rivals in an
'aged' Maiden Stakes over an extended mile of 'good
to firm' Windsor today, when 'showers' are forecast
for the Berkshire area.
Seven months have elapsed since Cool Team made
a promising debut over a similar distance on New-
castle tapeta, finishing second and posting a useful
time-handicap mark caught my attention.
There is no doubt Newmarket-based Hugo Palm-
er is now among a 'fashionable' set of trainers; a
powerful string is well managed and colossal wealth
supports his everyday objective, winners.
By all accounts Palmer isn't a 'soft ride' and is, ap-
parently, quite feisty but there is a fine line between
unpleasantness and authoritativeness; so many at
the helm know the buck stops at them and ships
will go under without a strong, disciplined approach.
Legendary boss, Barry Hills, who trained more than
3000 winners, springs to mind.
James Doyle landed our nap, Firefright, at Doncast-
er last Saturday and he's booked for another, Cool
Team, strongly-fancied to score and go one better.
It's a 'Bank Holiday' (another!) and so just the six
meetings to analyse; among them is an intriguing
eight-runner Classified Stakes over a mile of 'firm'
Bath where that description could well be 'like a road!'
Bath is the highest racecourse in England, no
watering system and so its ground staff has be-
come experienced in turf husbandry; heavy dews
and long(er) grass are the key combination and I've
never been averse to punting on this unique, cen-
Watering is the bane of my life, as explained after
the devastation wrought by the Sandown 'clerk' three
days ago; last week both Pontefract and Beverley
were watered, they are are situated on steep climbs
up to the winning line. Work that out!
Paul Cole-trained Pacofilha should occupy one
of three places in the 'classified' race and William
Haggas-trained Coconut Creme looks a tasty prop-
osition for a six-runner Maiden Stakes over a mile
and a quarter of the 'good' Humberside venue; rain
is forecast, no watering mentioned!
Johnson wins British
jump jockeys' title
LONDON---Richard Johnson is celebrating winning
a second successive British jump jockeys' champi-
The 39-year-old Johnson was given a guard of
honor by his colleagues before racing at Sandown
Park on Saturday after topping the table again.
Johnson's final figure was down on last year's
total of 235 but the Gold Cup-winning jockey still
finished with more than 40 winners than runner-up
Johnson has emerged from the shadow of AP
McCoy who won the jockeys' championship for 20
straight years before retiring in 2015.
"It is the one thing I was trying to do for 20 years,
and last year was amazing to finally get there, and
to follow it up is a dream come true," Johnson said.
"The most important thing for me is the cham-
pionship. Obviously we all want to win Gold Cups
and Grand Nationals. The best thing I think I can do
though is be champion jockey, so to manage to do
it twice is fantastic."
Ali up easy up
on his charge
and waves his
hand as he
run away all by
himself to win
Race 7, the
Handicap 3 Y.0
& Over Horses
Rated 70 and
Over race going
1350 metres at
Park Arima on
Windsor, 12.10 Cool Team (nap)
Beverley, 2.25 Coconut Theme
Bath, 2.40 Pacofilha (e.w).
Under: (Last Saturday)
1 pm ...................................6-35
4 pm ..................... ..............4-16
6.30 pm............ ................. 5-19
PICK TWO SELECTIONS
3-9-15-16-17 Mx: 2
13 (Crapaud) 10.30 am
5 (Parson Man) 4 pm
TODAY'S STAR BETS
15 (Sick Woman)
34 (Blind Man)
LAST DRAW: SATURDAY
WHEN DE MARK BUSS MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017
26 (Fowl) 6.30 pm
18 (Water Boat) 1 pm
Times played this year
10.30am 1pm 4pm 6.30pmTotal
02 OLD LADY
04 DEAD MAN
05PARSONMAN 2 5 7 3 17
15SICKWOMAN3 4 1 1
18WATERBOAT 4 3 3 3 13
Times played this year
10.30am 1pm 4pm 6.30pmTotal
27 LITTLESNAKE 3 5 0 2 10
28 RED FISH
29OPIUMMAN 4 2 0 3
30 HOUSE CAT
31PARSONWIFE2 4 3 5 14
34 BLIND MAN
35 BIG SNAKE
30 (House Cat)
EASY EASY VICTORY
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