All eyes on Elsa
SVREL to make decision on tomorrow’s race day after assessment
With Tropical Storm Elsa expected to dump over eight inches of rainfall on the island over the next few days, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) said they will do an assessment of the Caymanas Park facility before they decide on whether or not to cancel tomorrow’s race meet.
The Meteorological Service of Jamaica says tropical storm conditions are expected to affect Jamaica over the next few days, as Elsa passes through the Eastern Caribbean.
Lorna Gooden, general manager of SVREL, told The Gleaner that the safety of all their stakeholders is the priority of the organisation, and noted that once the conditions are not suitable for racing, the race meet will be put off.
“Any decision on the race day would be made closer to the day, giving consideration to the weather and safety of the horses, the horsemen, particularly the jockeys and our dedicated employees,” said Gooden. “The race day will not be staged under any unsafe conditions.”
Gooden underscored that in the event that tomorrow’s race meet is in fact called off, SVREL will look to secure another date from the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) as soon as possible.
“We would have to seek the approval of the JRC, having looked at the best calendar date. We would not be able to propose a date at this time,” she added.
Meanwhile, Lynford Marshall, who has been a groom for almost 50 years, said he will be staying at Caymanas Park during the storm to look after his horses.
“I am staying here because this is the only thing that I know, because I am not going to leave my horses alone here,” said Marshall. “This is what I used to help my children and so I have to stick to my work storm or no storm.
“I have been here through a lot of storms and also floods, and I still stay with my horses. I have been in racing for close to 50 years and so I am not afraid of any storm,” Marshall added.
Another groom, 58-year-old Ian Winter, also made it clear that he will be riding out the storm at the stables with the horses.
“We have to be here both night and day because you know the horses cannot help themselves and so someone has to be here to assist them at all times. I enjoy what I am doing, so no storm or hurricane is going to make me leave this place to go anywhere,” Winter said.
“I will be here to assist my horses if the place is flooded out and in case the roof blows off because that is my job and I am not going to leave it,” Winter added.
Elsa was downgraded from a Category One hurricane to a tropical storm yesterday, after weakening over the past few hours.