Tue | Jul 14, 2020

Tote board fix coming for Caymanas Park

Published:Friday | May 29, 2020 | 12:26 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
The tote board at Caymanas Park as seen on February 22, 2020.
The tote board at Caymanas Park as seen on February 22, 2020.

Gary Peart, executive chairman of Supreme Ventures Limited, says the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the process of installing a new tote board at Caymanas Park, almost a year after the equipment stopped functioning.

The tote board, which is situated on the infield at the track, provides race day information on odds and dividends to punters at the track. The current tote board has been at the track for more than 30 years and has been out of service since August 2019.

Peart, whose company is the parent body of Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited, the local promoter of horse racing, told The Gleaner that the organisation was making plans to have the issue resolved but was forced to stall on those efforts due to the COVID-19 setback. He also questioned the impact of the board’s unavailability, pointing to alternatives that are already in place at the park.

“There were plans pre-COVID to deal with that, and I think because of the additional capital that is being spent to get us out of COVID, we would have to re-look on it,” said Peart.

“Fundamentally, in mind, it is nice to have, [but] it (the tote board being unavailable) doesn’t affect the setting of odds, but we have put a plan in place to deal with it, and it will be dealt with,” he said.

Peart said that the unavailability of the tote board had not significantly affected the racing product at Caymanas Park because a lot of additional television screens had been installed to assist and inform the punters at the track.

OUTDATED

“The tote board was outdated, and it is unfortunate that it has broken down, but the reality is that the totaliser hasn’t broken,” he said.

“It is just one of several components that would show odds, and what you find is that we have significantly more televisions which you can see your odds on. It (the lack of a tote board) doesn’t fundamentally affect the basics of the racing,” Peart stated.

Meanwhile, long-time punter Kevin Wilson welcomed news that the tote board issue will be addressed but argued that there are not enough television screens at the park to satisfy the number of punters at the venue on a normal race day.

“The tote board is long overdue because every time I go to the track, all 50 man gather under one TV to look on the odds,” said Wilson.

“It is almost a year now, and I really want it to get fixed. I am glad to know that they are planning to work on it because everywhere in the world at these racetracks, you have tote boards, and it makes you feel relaxed to know you don’t have to bundle up with any man to see odds,” Wilson added.

Racing was suspended indefinitely on March 21 due to the spread of the coronavirus disease in Jamaica but is expected to resume shortly.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com