Racing set for return to Cassada Gardens

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Following a near six months delay, horse racing is set for a return to the Cassada Gardens Race Track in February. This was confirmed by President of the Antigua Turf Club (ATC), Neil Cochrane, who said February 25 has been earmarked for the sport’s return after no races since July of 2017. “We know that the fans are looking forward to racing, we know that they have been stressed that we have been unable to race, and so have we, because it is not easy to just be feeding a horse and you can’t enjoy a little bit of racing,” Cochrane said.
“We are all energised, we are all eager and the owners and trainers are ready to go and the jockeys as well. We want to put on a show for the race fans. We apologise for the long delay but it was certainly beyond our control,” he added. Races were suspended after a damaged culvert, which runs under the facility, had resulted in a huge hole appearing in the track. The turf club was forced to source a replacement culvert before refilling the area.
The delay, Cochrane said, may have done some good as over 10 new horses could debut next month. “We’ve had a fleet of seven horses that came in from the Virgin Islands, between the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and I understand there may be another fleet of about seven or eight from that same area,” Cochrane said.
“The fact that their facilities have been devastated [by hurricane] the horses were there not doing anything. There were no immediate projections, so thank you to Dr. Dwayne ‘Baba’Thwaites who is the person that spearheaded that initiative,” the president added.
As for the surface, Cochrane believes it’s in perfect condition. “We also re-layed the surface this week, so I say thank you to the guys who have been doing their best to support the executive in the efforts to bring everything back to a state of normalcy, so we have re-layed the surface area above the culvert. When we did lay it down first it was not as consistent in terms of the feel under the feet of the horses as the other areas of the track. We had to re-lay it and that was done and that, I would say, just about completes what we need to get done,” he said. A culvert running under the track had collapsed in late October resulting in a section of the track caving in. This halted all activities at the facility, forcing the turf club to cancel scheduled meets.

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