Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 18th 2013 Contents A56
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, September 18, 2013
MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND THE ECONOMY
Inland Revenue Division
The Board of Inland Revenue wishes to advise the public that the Cashiers'
Units at the following offices will be closed on September 30, 2013 at the
LA BREA, MAYARO, PT. FORTIN, RIO CLARO & SIPARIA - 9:00 A.M.
ST. GEORGE WEST DISTRICT REVENUE OFFICE ONLY - 11:00 A.M.
ALL OTHER DISTRICT REVENUE OFFICES
- 10:00 A.M.
SAN F/DO & ARIMA REGIONAL OFFICES
- 10:00 A.M.
TOBAGO REGIONAL OFFICE
- 10:00 A.M.
TRINIDAD HOUSE, PORT OF SPAIN
- 12:00 P.M.
(Including Stamp Duty and International Tax Units)
This has become necessary to facilitate the closing of Government Accounts
for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013.
Taxpayers are therefore encouraged to pay all taxes/levies due
NOT LATER than SEPTEMBER 30, 2013
The Board apologises for any inconvenience caused.
Taxpayer Relations Section
'Be reliably informed'
Visit us at www.ird.gov.tt
Andre E Baptiste
The controversy over races scheduled on the turf
re-surfaced once again following the late decision
of the stewards to re-route the running of the Inde-
pendence Cup from the turf, after earlier cancelling
all turf races on August 31. A quick perusal of the
records reveal that all turf racing were cancelled
on September 14, 7, August 10 and July 20. This
means that out of the last seven race days, turf
racing was cancelled on five.
There are a number of issues that arise out of the
above development: the maintenance of the turf
track; the scheduling of turf races during the rainy
season; the size of the fields for turf races; the dec-
laration system for turf races and the decision making
over whether turf racing should occur.
T&T lies in the tropics and we have two main sea-
sons---dry and the rainy season. This has never
changed. The rainy season commences in June and
is done by November or December in an ordinary
year. Notwithstanding these "known facts", there does
not appear to be any different preparation that is
undertaken for the Arima Race Club (ARC) to be able
to conduct uninterrupted turf racing when it rain.
And let us be clear what we mean by when it rains.
We are not just talking about when it rains on the
race day itself and waterlogs the track, we are talking
about when it rains on virtually any day leading up
to a raceday and waterlogs the track.
It seems now that once it rains at any point during
the week, the turf track at Arima becomes un-race-
able. Various reasons have been put forward over the
years ranging from the quality of the soil: the design
of the drainage system; the malfunctioning of the
track maintenance equipment. You name it, the bet-
ting public has heard it.
One common theme underlying each of the reasons
however is inadequate track management. While we
obviously don t have geniuses involved in the main-
tenance of our racing surfaces, it really doesn t require
a genius to try and make some impression on this
Can we do like the UK tracks do during the winter
and identify the most dangerous parts of the track
when it rains (usually around the bends) and apply
some additional protective measures? Can we use
weather forecasts (albeit usually vague) to plan our
maintenance works? This is not rocket science and
we have been experiencing these situations for far
too long for us to just continue to leave ourselves to
chance or the mercy of the rain gods. We are in the
21st century after all!
Then we have the scheduling of turf races. We
have nomination races scheduled for the turf and
we "plan" one or two months in advance. It seems
as though we schedule these races in the hope, rather
than the expectation, that they will be run off during
the rainy season. Why schedule important turf races
for that period?
While there are policies in place with respect to
horses being balloted out, when turf racing is so
infrequent during the rainy season, just being balloted
out of one race could result in the animal not racing
for months. At one time, the handicappers allocated
two sets of weights to horses in turf racing to acknowl-
edge differences in levels of performance.
It begs the question whether the handicappers
should not officially acknowledge a turf and main
track rating for each horse. Decisions with respect to
balloting of horses in big field turf races should be
based on the turf rating of the animal and not the
main track rating. This is again not rocket science.
This brings us to the declaration system for turf
races. The ARC, faced with the knowledge of the
susceptibility of the turf track to the slightest amount
of rain, seem unable to adjust their declaration system
for turf races. Under no circumstances however,
should the stewards do anything to prohibit the horse
from racing (such as denying access to Lasix because
it believes the race will be run on one surface or the
other, or scratching the animal long before the race
is to run off for the same belief).
The case of Golden Dixieland in the Independence
Cup is particularly egregious. This horse was entered
in main track only for a turf race. All other turf
races on the card was cancelled by the stewards
in the vain hope (track was extremely soft) that
they might run the ONE turf race if good weath-
er prevailed. Rain fell during the afternoon and
the race was inevitably taken off the turf.
The final issue revolves around the decision
making process. How does one group of people
decide to take some races off the turf and leave
some/one race on the turf? How is this possible?
This, I know, is a practice that is also seen in
the US but in their case, the issue of the safety
of the track is not in question, it is more a
question of their desire to preserve the racing
surface for a few races. Is that the reason advo-
cated at Arima?
For the last race day (September 7), when
the decision was taken to come off the turf,
many residents in the surrounding vicinity
were surprised since although substantial rain
had fallen during the week, by the Saturday
most people s lawns and other grassy surfaces
had dried out substantially and Saturday in
particular was a blisteringly hot day.
In fact, the conditions were so hot, the ARC
decided and announced that there would be
shortened post parades because of the heat.
The real question though is does the ARC care
whether there is turf racing during the rainy
season. It is really anyone s guess.
What is the ARC's turf racing policy?
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