Wed | Jul 8, 2020

Horse-care concerns - Owner highlights struggles as Caymanas Park shutdown continues

Published:Thursday | June 4, 2020 | 12:29 AM
Gary Richards aboard the Carlton Watson-owned Mr Universe.
Gary Richards aboard the Carlton Watson-owned Mr Universe.

Prominent racehorse owner, Carlton Watson, says he is hoping that racing will return soon to Caymanas Park, citing that a lot of owners are finding it very difficult to care for their horses.

Racing has been suspended for more than two months due to the coronavirus outbreak in Jamaica, with Ryan Darby, president of the United Racehorse Trainers Association, stating recently that his organisation has proposed a June 13 resumption date.

A memorandum of understanding has also been presented but despite these developments, Watson shared that owners are becoming restless and concerned about their future in the sport, given the mounting cost to care for the equine athletes without any opportunity to earn.

“This has been on the lips of everybody, but to date Supreme Ventures has not announced the date because it is all just speculation all over the place, and so people continue to speculate and hope that it is the 13th of this month,” said Watson.

“The industry is not like one time when you have a lot of rich and famous persons in it. It is mostly small men in the game now, and that is the reality of it, and so a lot of trainers and owners are struggling to survive now during the lockdown,” Watson added. “When race is running people can’t maintain their horses much less when racing is not running, and so everybody is struggling to keep going during this shutdown of racing.”

COSTLY

Watson, who finished second twice in the last two years in the Owners Championships, is the owner of 26 horses at Caymanas Park. He underlined that it is costing him $2 million per month to care for his horses.

“The longer racing is out, the horses can’t get to earn and so it is always going to be an expense to us and it is always going to be pressuring on your pocket,” said Watson. “It is burdensome financially because when you have 26 horses and they are not earning anything, you still have to be paying to care for them.

“I may can pay for it, but it is not an ordinary task for anybody, not even for me. If the horses are not racing to earn and then you have to be paying money, it is always going to be an issue financially,” Watson added.

KING ARTHUR, MR UNIVERSE, SARGENT RESTLESS, FEARLESS CHAMPION, AMERICAN INVADER and MY TIME NOW are some of the horses owned by Watson.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com