The year 2019 was a bad one for the Arima Race Club (ARC), which is still struggling to turn around its flagging fortunes.
The ARC was faced with reduced betting, increased debt, over $7 million owed to horse owners, monies owed to foreign race tracks for “live” simulcast racing, late payments to its employees, a dwindling horse population and a lack of unity among some members of the management committee.
The racing industry also suffered one of its lowest Yearling Sales in November where only nine of 18 horses passed through the Sale ring. The others were bought back by their respective Stud Farms.
Some owners and trainers are scaling down their stables because of the increased cost of training and the long wait for stakes money.
There are reports that some jockeys had to borrow money to spend for Christmas because they are owed commissions from prize monies.
Last month the ARC had to borrow $1.5 million from FCB to pay owners for race Day 11 and Day 12 but the ARC still owes them for 27 more racing days as well as to settle other important debts.
For over two months the elevator has not been working despite more than $70,000 spent to repair it.
Members and their guests have to walk up three flights of stairs to get to the top floor which has forced many of them to stay away from the Boxing Day and New Year’s racing.
Punters invested just over $1.2 million in local and simulcast American races. Betting alone on the local eight-race card was just over $900,000.
Late last year the ARC appointed a new management committee headed by Robert Bernard.
Stakeholders in the industry have had several meetings with the line minister for horse racing, Paula Gopee-Scoon to see how the government can bail out the ARC out of its current financial crisis. They are hoping that the Government will pass this year the Gambling and Betting legislation which they argue can save the racing industry from collapse. The current betting cannot sustain the ARC.