Thu | Nov 26, 2020

JRC will push for racing to resume after lockdown ends

Published:Sunday | April 26, 2020 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer
HARRY’S TRAIN (right), with Dane Dawkins aboard, wins the ninth race at Caymanas Park on Saturday, March 21.
Metcalfe
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CHAIRMAN OF the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), Clovis Metcalfe, says his organisation will be moving very swiftly for the resumption of horse racing at Caymanas Park once the lockdown in St Catherine is lifted by the Government.

The parish, which has become the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Jamaica, has been under a lockdown since April 15, as the authorities move to contain the spread of the deadly virus. The Government first placed the parish on lockdown for seven days and this was extended for another week starting on April 22. Caymanas Park is located in Gregory Park, St Catherine.

Of the 288 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Jamaica as of last Friday, 162 are linked to the St Catherine-based call centre operation Alorica in Portmore. There has been no horse racing at Caymanas Park since the island’s only racetrack was shut down by the promoters on March 21.

Metcalfe told The Sunday Gleaner that the JRC will be working assiduously with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that thoroughbred racing returns to Caymanas Park once the restrictions in St Catherine are removed.

“St Catherine is on lockdown and once the lockdown is lifted then the regulators will get together with the promoters to see how best we can resume racing because all of us want racing to resume at the earliest,” said Metcalfe.

EARLY RESUMPTION

“I more than anybody else is anxious to see racing resumed and so speaking for the commission, we would do whatever is necessary, work with anybody to ensure the early resumption of racing,” he said.

The last two race meets were both held behind closed doors at Caymanas Park on March 17 and 21. Metcalfe underlined that the JRC will be revisiting this option whenever they meet with the stakeholders.

According to the JRC chairman closed-door racing would be an option because the Government may decide to increase the number of persons who can gather in one area from the current 10.

“I think the promoters, the commission and the OTBs would be anxious to do whatever it takes, even behind closed doors, to have racing,” Metcalfe said.