Horse Racing

Groom Arthur Spencer says he was looking out for recognition

…among eight grooms honoured on Burger King Super Day

Observer writer

Friday, November 16, 2018

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There is no doubt that the grooming of thoroughbreds for racing is a very difficult job and one which takes a lot of time and dedication if success is to be gained.

Grooms are the key factors in the conditioning of horses for racing, but more often than not grooms are not given the recognition they truly deserve.

Not so, on the Burger King-sponsored day of racing last Saturday (November 10, 2018) at Caymanas Park, as the company honoured eight oustanding grooms for their contributions to the sport of horse racing.

Arthur Spencer, is one of those individuals who has been the driving force behind the well-being of horses over the years.

Spencer's hard work and long hours spent on preparing horses for racing paid off when he was among eight grooms honoured for distinguished services.

Spencer was awarded for his outstanding grooming of the 2008 Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winning filly, Alsafra.

“To be honest with you, I was looking out for this recognition from a long time now but I didn't know which day it would come. All this while, I was telling my daughter that one day, I would be honoured for my hard work in the racing industry.

“Now that the day (saturday) has come, I feel very honoured. I feel good knowing that I have worked hard, and now I am being honoured for it,” Spencer said.

Looking back, Spencer remembers that not only was Alsafra a very nice and quiet horse, but was the best horse he has groomed since he started of his career in 1987.

Alsafra was a very nice horse. I didn't find any fault with her when she was young. She had a nice attitude as well. We had a very good relationship and, to tell you the truth, I miss her as well.

“Winning the Jamaica Derby with Alsafra that year (2008) was a great achievement as it is everybody's dream to win a Derby and I was grateful. But to go on and win the Triple Crown was even more joyful. I was on top of the world that day. It felt really nice and I believed in her as well.

Alsafra, up to now, is the best horse I have groomed in my career. From she was young, I saw the ability in her. I knew that she could do anything,” Spencer revealed.

Spencer then shared his story of how he ventured into the racing industry.

“When I was 15 years-old, I came into the sport. I was an apprentice with trainer Bruce Morgan before he turned me over to trainer Jose Pinchin where I acquired my licence.

“It was my uncle who got me involved in the game. I was in the country and nothing was going on there for, me, and he told me that he was going to carry me somewhere and I asked him where exactly he wanted to take me and he said Caymanas Park and the rest is history.

“I remember the first horse, I had under my care was named Security. I don't know if anybody is going to remember that horse which Morgan trained. My first winner was with Bella The Ball,” recalled Spencer, who further stated that he had no regrets of being a groom.

The other grooms honoured on the day were Lewisito DaCosta ( She's A Maneater); Linval McFarlane ( Seeking My Dream and War Zone); Clive Lawrence ( Typewriter); Byron Murray ( Princess Popstar); Samuel Carty ( St Cecelia); Donville Smith ( Mark My Word); and Keith Cornwall ( Ahwhofah).

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