Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 13th 2013 Contents A58
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"It was the best of times, it was
the worst of times, it was the age of
wisdom, it was the age of foolish-
ness, it was the epoch of belief, it
was the epoch of incredulity, it was
the season of light, it was the season
of darkness, it was the spring of
hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had
nothing before us, we were all going
direct to heaven, we were all going
direct the other way."
These famous lines which open
Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
seem to adequately reflect the current
state of the horse racing industry in
T&T. Juxtaposed against the backdrop
of a few top class horses and one
potential superstar in Bigman in
Town, we find ourselves perched on
the precipice, fearful of the breeze
because a strong gust can carry us
over the edge and into a bottomless
pit.There are two issues which have
confronted the industry over the last
few weeks and the treatment of both
issues by the T&T Racing Authority
(TTRA) threaten to rip the industry
apart. When those two issues are
compounded by the unfortunate and
somewhat harsh treatment being
handed out to one ex-trainer, the
impartial observer is left to wonder,
what s next.
On one side, we have the now never
ending saga of the Boogie Blues issue.
I have written before on the merits
of the intervention by the Minister
of Industry and Trade (at least that
was the name of that Ministry at one
time, but in this day of evolving Min-
istry names, who knows what it cur-
The TTRA has laid down its clear
intent to fight this battle to the very
end. They have clearly adopted the
approach that the principle is greater
than policy and that they will not
allow the rules of the sport to be
breached in what they clearly believe
is a flagrant manner.
There is little doubt that the Min-
ister has over-stepped his boundary
on what had hitherto been a non-
national matter. Their righteousness
on this issue would be laudable if it
was not superceded by the apparently
alternative approach of the very same
TTRA in the recent case of the "mis-
taken identity horse".
In that issue, the TTRA has appar-
ently concluded that the individuals
who should have most known better
(particularly the trainer) are not liable
for any wrong doing instead inferring
that it might instead be the race day
veterinarian, who failed to perform
her duties in a judicious manner.
The irony of the situation is that
it appears, that no one will ultimately
be held responsible for what, in
almost every other racing jurisdiction,
is the greatest injustice that can be
perpetrated against the betting public.
The approach of the TTRA is also in
direct contradiction to their approach
in every other matter involving the
well being of the horse.
In almost every other matter, the
trainer is held ultimately responsible
for what happens in his racing stables.
The trainer is responsible for every
A tale of two issues
Andre E Baptiste
horse and for every individual
that he employs. That maxim
however, seems to have been
thrown out the window on this
occasion. The TTRA has unwit-
tingly set a new standard for
responsibility and it is left to be
seen how that will play itself out
over the coming months/years.
If the above is true and no one
seems to be denying it, some-
thing is wrong.
While the TTRA exonerated
one trainer in that matter, they
have imposed the harshest pos-
sible penalty on another trainer
who choose to fight them over
the years on another matter.
Earlier this week, it was
announced that trainer Christo-
pher Prime had, had his license
revoked for failing to pay the
court awarded damages following
the outcome of a prior enquiry
involving Storm Street. Prime
undeniably owes the TTRA a sig-
nificant sum following court pro-
ceedings many, many years ago.
Given the usual means of most
trainer, there was always little
doubt that Prime would struggle
to make good on that court order.
However, to take away someone s
livelihood over a court awarded
payment can be considered the
most harsh and unfair punish-
ment under any standard. You
simply do not take away some-
one s livelihood so easily.
Storm Street and Boogie Blues
share the same owner and trainer
and it is to be sincerely hoped
that this remains the only con-
nection between the two issues.
It would be an act of the most
distasteful manner, if the action
against Prime was also in part
retaliation for the Boogie Blues
imbroglio that the TTRA has
found itself involved in.
Prime has signalled his inten-
tion to ask for assistance on this
matter from the Racehorse Train-
ers Association. I am not sure
what assistance he is hoping to
get but I do hope that he is able
to secure appropriate redress and
have his license restored sooner
or later. The TTRA can garnish
a per cent of his winnings so that
over time their debt is repaid.
This was the obvious approach
to be taken rather than expecting
some sort of voluntary payment.
The TTRA must get its act
together and begin to show the
sort of leadership expected of it.
There is absolutely no justifica-
tion for the TTRA applying two
different standards in its treat-
ment of issues brought before it.
The TTRA must ensure impar-
tiality and that the interest of
the racing public are foremost in
Owners, trainers and jockeys
must be held responsible for their
actions. We have so many exam-
ples from sports administrators
all over the world but sadly none
from T&T (or dare I say the
A recent example is the case
of the two tennis players who
have been suspended by the
International Tennis Federation.
In one case, the young player
accidently consumed a banned
substance following a mother
giving an over the counter treat-
ment for a minor ailment.
In the second case, the young
player was unwell and was
advised by one of the ITF s own
drug testers that it was okay to
not take the drug test on the pre-
scribed date. That latter fact,
may have proven to have a mit-
igating effect but the young play-
er was still suspended for one
year. The bottom line is respon-
sibility, and in sport, you cannot
delegate or abdicate your indi-
The good and just people in
racing need to stand up and be
counted. They need to signal that
enough is enough. We cannot
have a partial judicial manager.
In the final analysis, the good
and just will have to decide how
far they are prepared to go to
defend the sport. Hopefully,
when their final epitaph is being
written, it will be able to boast,
in much the same way that Dick-
ens closed his epic Tale.
"It is a far, far better thing that
I do, than I have ever done; it is
a far, far better rest I go to than
I have ever known".
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