Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Work to be done on Caymanas track

Published:Sunday | August 2, 2020 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer
A water truck services the race track at Caymanas Park on Saturday, March 14, 2020. The track is expected to be regraded at the end of August to improve the evenness of the surface.

Following mounting pressure from racehorse trainers and jockeys, who complained about the poor condition of the racetrack at Caymanas Park, chairman of Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), Solomon Sharpe, said upgrading work on the surface is scheduled to begin at the end of this month.

The surface, which was last regraded in December 2019, is badly in need of repair work and has been a major concern for some trainers, who blame the uneven track for injuries to their horses.

Sharpe told The Sunday Gleaner that the track is usually regraded every six months but that the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the unavailability of the equipment, has forced his organisation to delay the process.

“Ideally, you would want to grade a racetrack every three months and you try not to pass six months, but our racetrack can even go up to one year,” Sharpe said.

“The last time we graded it (track) was in mid-December and we are slated to grade it again at the end of August,” Sharpe said. “Ideally, we would have done it during the COVID-19 break but for a number of reasons, like the unavailability of equipment (we could not), because it was scheduled to be in April but everything just didn’t work out the way we wanted them to.”


Sharpe underscored that the regrading work will be done during the off-days and will cost SVREL over $500,000. He also noted that the work involves the redistribution of the top layer of the sand for a more even surface.

“You always want to have an even race course just like how you want an even surface to drive your car on ... ,” Sharpe said. “Horse racing trainers are never happy because there are a lot of factors that go into horse racing, and sometimes the easiest thing to do is blame the race course, and so no matter what we do, we are always going to come under criticism.”

Meanwhile, champion trainer Anthony ‘Baba’ Nunes is delighted that the work on the surface will begin soon.

“They (SVREL) are actually supposed to regrade the surface pretty often,” said Nunes. “I think when it comes to grading a track, ideally it is supposed to be graded almost every two to three weeks, but obviously, in Jamaica it is a little more expensive and so I don’t think they do as often.

“When you grade it, it makes for a more even surface, and so it is better for the horses because a dangerous racetrack is when you have hard and soft, and so if you can’t get it perfect, it is better you either have it all soft or all hard, and so that way it is even,” Nunes explained.