Wed | Sep 26, 2018

Strong wind, dust force abandonment of race meet

Published:Sunday | May 10, 2015 | 12:00 AMOrville Clarke
A tractor driver performing his duties with a dust mask at Caymanas Park yesterday. The scheduled nine-race meet was abandoned after five races due to strong wind and a dust nuisance
Punters leaving Caymanas Park yesterday following the announcement that races were abandoned due to a dust nuisance.

Yesterday's race meet at Caymanas Park was abandoned after the first five races due to strong winds and the prevailing dust nuisance which adversely affected the jockeys.

According to David 'Scorcher' McKenzie, acting president of the Jamaica Jockeys' Guild in the absence of Andre Martin, who is living and riding in Trinidad and Tobago, the track was in no condition for races.

"It was a danger to the horses and the jockeys due to the high wind, dust, and lack of preparation.

"These conditions were evident from a week ago, but it got worse today and the jockeys could take no more. After the running of the fifth race, we requested a meeting with the stewards to voice our concerns," said McKenzie, a past president of the guild.

"Because of the high wind and dust, some jockeys complained of minor respiratory problems, with dirt clogging up their nostrils, with at least two suffering from nosebleeds," added the veteran jockey.

After hearing complaints from the jockeys' representatives, the stewards complied with their request to abandon the remainder of the meet comprising the last four races at 3:20 p.m.

Denzil Miller Jr, CTL's racing secretary-manager, said the whole episode was unfortunate, but the steps taken were necessary under the circumstances. He explained: "Contrary to other reports, all three water trucks were operational, but owing to the low water content of the Caymanas Park well at this time, this hampered the overall preparation of the track.

"It usually takes eight minutes to fill one truck, but because of the low output from the well, it is now taking us 40 minutes to fill one truck. This set us back significantly.

"We closed the track one hour earlier than usual this morning at 8 and extended post time to 1:05 p.m. in order to give the maintenance crew more time to prepare, but the wind was always going to be a factor, and looking ahead, we will have to find new and innovative ways to quickly address the issues," he explained.

As far as the Pick-9 and Super-6s bets are concerned, Miller disclosed that the mushrooming Pick-9 was paid on five of nine with a carryover of $5.8 million, the same amount at which it started going into the meet. The early Super-6 was paid on four of six winners and refunds for the late Super-6 and Pick-4.

Four of the five races run stumped most form players. The 1-2 favourite BRAWN gave Pick-9 backers a perfect start, but among the other winners was 7-1 chance PROVIDER in the fourth race over 1100 metres.

The five-year-old horse from the stables of Donovan 'Burru' Thompson made all to give the sparingly-used jockey Philip Parchment his first winner since GLITTERMAN in 2009.