Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Sunday racing made a successful return to Caymanas Park yesterday, the nine-race programme realising a profit for the first time since its introduction in November, 2009.
This was due to the participation of the CTL off-tracks (OTBs) islandwide for the first time on a Sunday meet.
According to Cedric Stewart, CEO of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), 61 of the 64 off-tracks across the island were opened for business and this ensured a profit for the company.
"We did $24.6 million on the nine races and up to the eighth race, we had surpassed the handle (turnover) for the average 10-race programme on a Wednesday. "Given the input of the OTBs, it can only get better," said Stewart. "Some would say that with back-to-school activities at fever pitch, the timing was wrong. But I am encouraged by the figures which did not include betting on simulcast racing from North America.
"This was the first Sunday meet in 19 months and judging from the response of racing fans, they won't have to wait another 19 months for the next Sunday meet", assured Stewart.
CTL and L.P. Azar Limited hosted 300 youths in a fair on the infield, 200 drawn from Father Richard HoLung's Missionaries of the Poor and another 100 from inner-city communities in the Corporate Area.
Meanwhile, LIAR LIAR scored a 16-1 upset in winning the Rhoel Rhoden Memorial Trophy feature over 1100 metres for maiden two-year-olds in a driving finish. Ridden by the sparingly-used jockey Vishay Ashley for owner/trainer Rudolph Hardial, LIAR LIAR was outpaced in fourth as NELSON'S CANDY made most ahead of the 4-5 favourite CIGARETTEINTHERAIN. However, she produced a tremendous last-furlong run to catch CIGARETTEINTHERAIN in the last stride, winning by a head. Ante-post favourite FRANGIPANI was declared a late non starter, reducing the field to eight.
Leading jockey Omar Walker (El Cliente, Jagsover) and the apprentice Shamaree Muir (Audre's Blessing, Pete'swildone at 11-1) rode two winners each, Muir making every post a winning one aboard 4-5 favourite SWEET TRAIL for a fast-time win in the overnight allowance race.