PRESIDENT OF the Arima Race Club (ARC) Robert Bernard is still keen on a resumption of the 2020 local season on June 19, even though the Prime Minister is yet to give any clearance for races to get going at the Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
Races have been on hold at the Arima venue since March 14 due to the global covid19 pandemic.
Dr Rowley, in a media conference on Saturday, said, “We have not given clearance for horse racing to recommence. I know that the Minister of Trade (Paula Gopee-Scoon) is looking at the possibility of giving notice, now that we are getting to this point in this cycle with respect to the health condition because we are close to being able to point to a period when horse racing can resume.”
The Prime Minister added, “There are two aspects to (a resumption), one is the congregation and the other is the animal health component.”
Bernard said on Sunday, “If (we) definitely cannot get the approval to start on the 19th, we don’t have a choice. We’ll have to probably try for the following weekend or the first weekend in July.
“We have to prepare the horses for the races. We just can’t not do anything with them. So we have gone on a regime to be fit to race on the 19th, if we get the approval. It’s still going to be spectator-less so there’s no additional risk on having races on June 19th versus going up to the paddocks on a Sunday. It’s the same amount of people.
Bernard noted that the only additional people who will be at Santa Rosa for race days are time-keepers and the race announcer.
“They are not going to be in the same room or in the vicinity of everybody else,” he said. “We’re optimistic that things will come off by the 19th but, if we don’t, then we’ll be ready for a resumption on the week thereafter.”
The National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) has a booth at Santa Rosa Park. As NLCB operations are set to resume on Monday, Bernard said, “We have plans to start (on Monday) to put things in place like the washing areas, sanitisers and all that. If we can get that done by the middle of the week, I think we can be in a better position to have the NLCB booth open at the track.”
With regards to the mbet system, Bernard mentioned, “We’re just doing American racing and, once the local racing starts running, the betting would improve. Some of our punters are not too familiar with the American horses.”
Bernard hinted that the local jockeys may have to ride with masks, similar to those in the United States and Britain (which is set to restart proceedings on Monday).
“I would like to see them race with masks, if we are to be following protocols,” said Bernard.
Acknowledging that it may be difficult for the riders, in terms of their breathing, Bernard said, “It is a bit difficult. I see the jockeys in the States race with masks so I’m hoping we can see the same result.”