By Neto Baptiste
Horse owners who are members of the Antigua Turf Club (ATC), may soon have to pay a fee for the housing of their animals at the club’s stables located at the Cassada Gardens Race Track.
This is according to President of the Turf Club, Neil Cochrane, who said that as it stands, no fees are charged for the housing of horses and the general upkeep of the stables, a situation he is adamant must change if the body is to place itself in a better position financially.
“There are no sorts of fees being paid, no maintenance fees whatsoever and 90 percent of the stable stock belongs to the Antigua Turf Club, but it is being used and there are no fees associated with it. The little coffers from sponsorship or from gate receipts have to be able to pay prize monies and all maintenance fees and it is just not a tenable and viable situation as it is. The executive members, for the most part, end up putting monies from their personal pockets to help to do some form of maintenance,” he said.
Cochrane argued that in other islands, horse owners are charged up to EC $1,100 to house their animals at the stables, adding that even then, most of the funds would go back into the maintenance and upkeep of the facility. The turf boss hinted at a similar set-up for Antigua.
“The new model that is being proposed going forward is one that is a business model and is one where you have to pay your respective fees in order to have a horse at the facility and for us to be able to properly maintain the facility,” he said.
“There are complains sometimes about the amount of dung that is generated and it is staying too long to be removed from the property, but we [executive members] are the ones who have to find the funds since all of the owners up there are not paying any fees, and it is just not tenable and viable,” he added.
There have been no races at the Cassada Gardens Race Track since June owing to persistent rains that have prevented trainers from adequately exercising their horses. The final leg of the Triple Crown Series, the Governor General’s Cup, was the last meet held at the facility. Cochrane said he is still not certain whether he will contest next year’s election scheduled for some time between January and March.