Arima Race Club pushes back resumption date by a week

In this March 27 file photo, Bella Riva (left), ridden by Brian 
Boodramsinghh, overtakes favourite General JN, ridden by Dillon Khelawan, to win the NFM Champagne Stakes at the Santa Rosa Park, Arima. - ROGER JACOB
In this March 27 file photo, Bella Riva (left), ridden by Brian Boodramsinghh, overtakes favourite General JN, ridden by Dillon Khelawan, to win the NFM Champagne Stakes at the Santa Rosa Park, Arima. - ROGER JACOB

THE ARIMA Race Club (ARC) has pushed back its 2021 season’s resumption date by a week, to cater for unvaccinated members of the horse racing fraternity, according to its president Robert Bernard.

The season, which was put on hold in April due to government’s covid19 lockdown restrictions, was due to resume on October 16, but action at the Santa Rosa Park in Arima should get going, once again, on October 23.

Bernard said on Thursday, “The (ARC) had a meeting (on Wednesday) and they decided, to comply with the safe zone operative (and) that a couple of our people are not fully vaccinated, to defer it by one week.”

Referring to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, Bernard continued, “If anybody wants to get the one-shot, they have until Saturday to do it and then they’ll be fully vaccinated by the 23rd.”

With regards to the feedback the ARC has received for the latest move, Bernard said, “Everybody understands. Up until recently, some of the trainers were not vaccinated. They are on board now.

It is understood that an Arima-based company plans to purchase a portion of land from the ARC, on the north-eastern end of the racing facility.

Bernard pointed out, “We have an interested party, and we’re trying to close the deal with them. It’s 3.5 acres of land.”

He continued, “It’s not always the best approach, to sell assets to pay debts, but the cash flow is not there right now under this pandemic, so we have to look for other ways to try to reduce some of our debt and satisfy some of our creditors. It’s normal business strategy, it’s not everything out of the ordinary.”

Concerning safe zones, local betting shops will be reopening from October 11. “Clubs could open on Monday under safe zone protocols,” said Bernard. “We’ll be opening our betting shops on Thursday, the couple that we do have.”

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