Horse racing minister expresses concerns over…… POOR CROWD AT THE RACES!


Trade and Indus­try Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, un­der whose portfolio horse racing falls, has always been expressing concern over the poor crowd in the Members’ Stand at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, when­ever she comes to the races.

And on the Trinre-spon­sored Caribbean Champion­ship day’s racing a week ago when the Minister arrived in the Members Stand, she looked around and asked, “Where is the crowd.”
This is not the first time that Gopee-Scoon has ex­pressed dissatisfaction over the small attendance in the Members Stand.
The ARC has put forward a short, medium and long-term proposal to the Minis­ter recently to show how the flagging fortunes of the rac­ing industry can be turned around but she has to take the proposal to Cabinet for approval. The ARC is hop­ing the government would pass the Gaming legislation within six months as prom­ised by Finance Minister Colm Imbert to save the in­dustry from collapse.
Over the years the crowd at races has been dwindling and it is just a handful of die­hard members and race fans who come to support the Sport of Kings every week.
However, despite the small crowd on the Caribbe­an Championship Day punt­ers invested a total of $1.2 million – of which $135,000 was on the simulcast racing from the USA and Canada.
Arima Race Club (ARC) President Robert Bernard was quoted in a daily news­paper last week as saying a silver lining is on the ho­rizon for the turnaround of local horse racing, reminis­cent, no doubt of Imbert’s “we can see clearly now”
Bernard said, “although we are operating in a most challenging environment, we are beginning to see some light ahead”
But some officials are asking how long this ARC dream plan will take before the dark clouds move away and Bernard can see the sil­ver lining.
Currently, the ARC owes owners more than $6 mil­lion in prize monies and by the end of the year, this fig­ure can jump close to $10 million because of the prize money in the upcoming stakes races for the Christ­mas, including the Boxing Day Gold Cup.
Owners can’t keep their horses in the stable and have to race them even if it is twice a month.
Some officials have been asking the ARC to reduce the race days to about two races a month, to keep down the cost of staging seven or eight races a week.