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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Putting T&T on the global racing stage
The biggest day in horse racing in Trinidad and Tobago is just five weeks away. On December 3, this country will be put on the global stage, a place where our racing should have been for some time. The new faces of the horse racing administration are beginning to take shape and there can be little doubt that expectations from the new leaders are high. The triumvirate of the T&T Racing Authority, (TTRA) chairman, Derek Chin, the Arima Race Club (ARC) president, Wendell Kangaloo and the chairman of the Betting Levy Board Kama Maharaj, look likely to put this country in the limelight come December. Expectations are high, with the industry probably at its most critical juncture and the Caribbean Nations Racing Challenge is the injection which is needed by the racing industry.
These three gentlemen, and their support structures, which include Christopher Armond, probably the most knowledgeable racing administrator in the region, now hold the fate of the industry in their hands. They will showcase our country and our racing to the world and let all and sundry know there is good racing in our twin-island state. Those of us who were around for the Clasico del Caribe in 1998, will remember what a great day at the races it was, but on this occasion the stakes are even higher. The marketing strategies are different and we now have two companies involved in projecting our country’s image to the global community. The companies committed to this cause are TVG and SIS.
Between these two top companies, our country and racing will be seen by some 400 million viewer in the Caribbean, North American, South America and Europe. One cannot ask for more. Such is the strength of management, advertising, and Sports Tourism. It is expected that with the valuable purses on offer and with many races carrying purses in excess over US$100,000, trainers and owners will bring in top overseas based riders, the likes of Julien Leparoux, Richard Hughes and United States-based Jamaicans Allen Maragh and his nephew, Rajiv, John Valasquez, our own Emile Ramsammy, along with Patrick Husbands, to entertain the large crowd which is expected to throng to the centralised facility. In addition, Hall of Famer Gary Stevens is the latest star to join the acceptance list for the Caribbean Nations Racing Challenge at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
In the sport of horse racing, Stevens is as big a star as there is, and the American has agreed to deliver the feature address during the banquet the night before what is being hailed as the greatest day in the history of sport in the Caribbean. Once you have top class racing, leading riders from the world over will come to our country. With top jockeys will come the international press and this augurs well for our tourism industry. Top trainers in the United States and England are expected to come to our shores as will the top owners from Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique and St Kitts. At present there are some 70 Caribbean horses are being pointed by their trainers to Santa Rosa Park, Arima, where they will meet the best of our racing stock. The racing fraternity is looking for results with baited breath and if there ever was a team who could turn racing around and put us on the map internationally, it is this ‘triumvirate.’They will succeed in making T&T proud on December 3, as we need sustainable results.