DURING his recent visit to Jamaica, Peter Aeillo, the famous Gulfstream Park commentator, in a radio interview on Power 106 FM bemoaned the precipitous decline of live spectator support at racetracks in the United States. The affable race-caller blamed this irreversible development on the availability of a plethora of digital platforms facilitating betting.
Locally, over the last five years Caymanas Park attendance has suffered the same fate with the doubling of CCTV-equipped off-track-betting points of sale and the convenience of betting through smartphone accounts.
Newly minted Opposition PNP spokesperson assigned to commerce, technology and innovation Dr Andre Haughton's unwise and unresearched position that removal of GCT on importation horses for breeding and racing has elicited a scathing response from key industry players. Haughton posited that ownership of such horses is in the category of "luxury items" and therefore no exemption should have been approved.
In his response to stakeholders it is incumbent on the spokesman to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the contribution of revenue to the Consolidated Fund and the impact of direct and indirect employment the industry has on the economy. My advice to Dr Haughton is that, going forward, he should ensure that all pronouncements on matters under his portfolio be informed by objective, data-based analyses.
In the opening event of ten — an 800-metre dash on the straight course — 5-2 bet Undecided, owned by top ten trainer Patrick Lynch, conditioned by associate David Powell, and ridden by four-kilo claimer Marshall Porter, scored by two lengths. In race two, contested over 1300 metres, there was a three-length success over four rivals for Genealogy (USA) ridden by three-kilo claimer Shavon Townsend for owner/trainer Keffin Murray.
Trained by Joseph Thomas and ridden by Jerome Innis, Golden Emperor's late stretch run in the 1200-metre third was good enough for an 11-1 upset victory whilst in race four, run at 1400 metres, 1-5 favourite Snowflakes, declared by Colin Ferguson, won by over 14 lengths — with two-kilo claimer Samantha Fletcher the adjusted rider declaration instead of Reyan Lewis.
In an eventful race five over the 1000-metre straight course where Queen Zan and favourite Sir Kel fell, Phillip Parchment rode Sudden Flight (3-1) to win for trainer Anthony Dixon. Predictably, 1-5-backed James (Raddesh Roman) declared by Spencer Chung and won race six (restricted to three-year-olds) by just over eight lengths, beating 11 rivals in this 1000-metre straight sprint.
Of the six starters declared for race seven — the featured, traditional 1400-metre Two-Year-Old Abbie Grannum Memorial Cup — Richard Azan declared Matuso (1-1) and Buttercup (27-1). Racing with significant arrears from off the pace, Buttercup was smartly ridden by infrequently engaged Oniel Scott to lead through an opening on the far rails 50 metres out, eventually outstaying rivals by two lengths and a quarter. Azan also saddled 8-5 bet Rainsville (Tevin Foster) to beat its nearest rival by six lengths in the 1400-metre tenth event which was staged for non-winners at the Overnight Allowance level.
After being winless on the opening day of the weekend's meet, 2022 champion reinsman Dane Dawkins was in double riding form. It was 15/1 against Airstream, conditioned by Robert Pearson for breeder/owner Christopher Wellington in race eight over 1200 metres, but Dawkins steered her to a four-length triumph. In race nine over 1400 metres All For Love (3-5), trained by Gary Subratie, was over 11 lengths the best to confirm Dawkins' two-timer ans move to 12 wins adrift of leader Reyan Lewis on 95. The Training Feat Award is presented to Richard Azan for the improvement of Buttercup running for the third time to deliver the Best Winning Gallop. Oneil Scott's performance aboard the filly is deserving of the Jockeyship Award.