THE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO horseracing fraternity is looking forward to a resumption of action, at the Santa Rosa Park, Arima from October 16.
Earlier this month, Arima Race Club (ARC) president Robert Bernard hinted that the 2021 season would likely resume on October 9, after it was put on hold since mid-April due to the Government’s covid19 restrictions and subsequent lockdown.
However, Bernard said on Monday that the season will be looking at an October 16 restart, due to the government’s implementation of safe zones.
The safe zones will allow fully vaccinated people (ages 12 and over) to access cinemas, theatres, casinos, betting shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and fitness studios. According to Bernard, “We’re just waiting to see what protocols the Ministry of Health is going to come out with, for the safe zone environment. We have all intentions of following what they recommend.
“We’re hoping that, with all things being equal, we’re hoping to have our first day by the 16th of October.”
Asked about the change of the proposed resumption date from October 9th to 16th, Bernard replied, “People wouldn’t have any insight of (the safe zones) until the 11th, so that’s why we’re shooting for the 16th.”
Has he gotten any word from the Betting Levy Board about their readiness to resume, especially after the lengthy closure of betting shops? Bernard responded, “As far as I’m aware, they should all be opening. We would certainly be opening our betting shops on the 11th. So, I imagine all our pools would certainly be opened.”
Does he anticipate a positive or a negative response to the Safe Zone plans from the Government, at betting shops?
“We can’t please everybody and I’m sure the people who are not vaccinated would be disappointed they can’t enter the safe zones, but we have to follow what the government’s stipulations are,” Bernard replied. “Hopefully, that might give some people the impetus to go and get vaccinated.”
With local horseracing inactive for five months, Bernard understands the fact that some members of the fraternity may be disgruntled due to the lockdown, and their lack of income.
“Like everybody else, they were hoping we could’ve gotten started sooner than this,” Bernard said. “This is the hand we’ve been dealt. Everybody is looking forward for the restart. We’ll see how well things go from the 16th of October.”