RACING at Caymanas Park is under threat as trainers yesterday took a unanimous decision to reject the demand of the Board of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) for them to pay $20 per day for the use of stalls to house horses for thoroughbred racing.
The trainers also called for the immediate resignation of Board chairman Joseph Matalon on the basis of not being prepared to work with him in such a sensitive position.
Members of both horseracing organisation representing trainers — the Jamaica Racehorse Trainers' Association (JRTA) and the United Racehorse Trainers' Association of Jamaica Limited (URTA) — were united in their condemnation of the $20 per day charge, and Matalon's presence, at a meeting at the Trainers' Room at Caymanas Park yesterday.
In the aftermath of the meeting, a joint letter will be sent to the CTL Board informing it of the decision taken by its members in respect of the new charges.
URTA executive Bernard Vincent explained that: "Correspondence would be sent to the Board asking it to withdraw the concept that it has to charge trainers for stalls, as it is not workable."
Asked what would be the next step if the decision to charge for stalls was not withdrawn, Vincent said: "Well, this will be entirely up to the Board to withdraw the $20 per day per stall. It will be entirely up to them. As I mentioned before, failure to do so, the consequence could be far-reaching."
Vincent also suggested that there might not be any racing on Saturday if the measure is still in place. "That is a possibility," he stated.
Meanwhile, JRTA president Vincent Edwards said: "The joint meeting between the associations was called to send a strong message to those people who come here and try to dictate to people who have been in racing in this country for 40-odd years and over, what works and what does not.
"And this morning (yesterday) was a clear indication that we at the race track who are earning from only $425 million approximately in purse money while owners are spending $1.3 billion for the upkeep of horses cannot endure anymore expenses."
With members of the two associations united in their call for action from CTL, URTA president Richard Todd said: "We always find common ground when the issues are quite serious and affect us. We have different views, but when it really matters we are able to sit together and sort them out."