By Neto Baptiste
Canadian-based Antiguan horse trainer, Lionel “Guy” Joseph, is urging young, and or, experienced horsemen to grab opportunities to ply their trade outside of Antigua with both hands.
Joseph, who created history last Sunday when he became the first black trainer to field a horse in the prestigious Canadian Derby, supported his call by revealing that many attempts over the past three years to encourage Antiguan riders and trainers to travel into Canada and work alongside him have seemingly fallen on deaf ears.
“I am trying hard to get somebody out here because I want to big-up Antiguans. I want Antigua grooms, and I would like to get other Antiguan trainers alongside me, because this thing is not for myself, it is a road which I would like other Antiguans to be out there. I am the only Antiguan here [Canada] doing horse racing, but when you go over to the Bajans you have a lot, the Jamaicans have a lot and even the Mexicans have a lot. I am trying to get other trainers from Antigua to come here and make Antigua be more proud,” he said.
Joseph had two thoroughbreds, Buck Wild and Papa Chulo, compete in Canada’s premier horse racing event held at the Century Mile Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.
The Antiguan said that the riders that piloted his thoroughbreds in the race hailed from Barbados and Jamaica, but reinforced that he would also want to have Antiguan jockeys on his horses.
“I don’t know if they don’t want to discipline themselves or try to get their Canadian visa or what, but I am trying. I brought a rider from Guyana and I paid his passage, he lived with me and I do everything, and if I can bring a rider from Guyana and get him here, then why can’t I try to help Antiguans?” the trainer asked.
Joseph, who said his aim is to one day have a horse run in the Kentucky Derby, reminded that he flies the Antigua and Barbuda flag everywhere he goes.
“I love my country, and everything I am doing I try to involve my country in it because I don’t care about anybody else, but I am proud of Antigua, and in everything going on here I have to make sure Antigua is involved in it. I get support from people in Antigua which is very good,, so I have to fly Antigua big and big-up Antigua anywhere I go,” he said.
Buck Wild was Joseph’s best finisher at the Canadian Derby, ending the race in the seventh position while Papa Chulo finished 10th from amongst 11 competitors after being held back in the gates.