Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
A lightning strike shortly after the running of the fourth race forced the postponement of yesterday's well-supported race meet at Caymanas Park.
A decision was taken by the management of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) to run the five remaining races on Wednesday, starting at 2 p.m.
In bleak and overcast conditions, lightning struck the totalisator system at approximately 2:50 p.m., minutes after SOVEREIGN OVER ALL (5-1) had romped the fourth race over 1100 metres with Dick Cardenas aboard. This had a scary effect on impact, sending some spectators scurrying in the stands.
The lightening strike immediately shut down the entire tote system and for the next hour, CTL technicians worked feverishly to restore power to the tote machines.
With the problem adequately addressed, the horses down to run in the fifth race for open allowance horses made their way to the starting gate for a revised post time of 4 p.m.
But there was another lengthy delay while the horses paraded, behind the starting gate for the 1400-metre race for which WILLIE GOLDSMITH was installed a 4-5 favourite over TRADITIONAL PRINCE and NOON IT IS, both at 2-1.
Then, at approximately 4:30 p.m., to the surprise of everyone, the horses and their riders were ordered back to the paddock.
Cedric Stewart, CEO of CTL, disclosed that the lightning strike also affected the patrol cameras, as only one of the four cameras placed at strategic points around the track was operational.
"The stewards, who are the officials in charge of the meet, said in accordance with the rules and regulations, the meet could not proceed with only camera available to them.
"So we had no alternative but to postpone the last five races until Wednesday, which was unfortunate in view of the large turnout," said Stewart who described it as an act of God.
CTL's newly appointed deputy chairman, Andrew Azar, said: "The meet attracted a large crowd and punters were entertained by Digicel Rising Star winner Verlando Small and Jerry D before the unexpected happened.
"The technical staff did their best, but their best wasn't good enough," he said.
Meanwhile, champion jockey Dane Nelson, who notched his 700th career win on Saturday, booted home 5-2 chance TOP RANKING in the second race to cut Omar Walker's lead to three, with two months of the season remaining.