Thwaites: Equestrian, Horse Racing To Co-exist At Cassada Gardens Race Track

Horse owner and aspiring president of the Antigua Turf Club, Dr. Dwayne “Baba” Thwaites.
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By Neto Baptiste

Plans are afoot to merge the sport of horse racing and equestrian with both set to utilise the Cassada Gardens Race Track as their bases.

This is according to horse owner and a member of the horse racing fraternity, Dr Dwayne “Baba” Thwaites, who said the pending move has been discussed with President of the National Olympic Committee, EP Chet Greene as part of an arrangement that would see the turf club receive funding from the NOC.

“He was nice enough to get some funding for us with the intention that we are going to combine our track now with the Olympics [sport] of equestrian. Once we get the surface properly set up, we are going to be putting across the bolsters so that the young lady, and we have one representative who is away training and doing very well, so that she could come on the track on a daily basis and do some exercises of her animals once we get the proper surface going,” he said.

The move, according to Thwaites, comes amidst efforts to improve the facility, as they aim for a December return to racing at the track.

To this end, the owner of top horses like Scrumpum and recently deceased, Baba-Baba, said the turf club has engaged the services of an expert out of the US.

“We have contacted an engineer by the name of Tedesco from California who builds a lot of tracks in California, and he is going to come down and assist us so there are still ways that Mr Tyre Master could assist us, because if he could help us to put this guy up so that he could help build the stuff,” he said.

Thwaites also revealed that the turf club has reached out to their counterparts in the sister isle in hopes of procuring sand, while a top government minister has also pledged to assist the body.

“I have appealed to the Barbudans so that we could get the sand and I spoke with Mr. [Trevor] Walker already, so I am doing things, and as I said, I am looking at the 2X6s going around the inside which are going to be a retaining wall for the sand. The gentleman called me and we were going to do concrete but he said no, get wood, we can use the 2X6s and go all the way around the track so we are hopeful that we will get some assistance with that, because that is the only thing I haven’t gotten anything on; but my prime minister [Gaston Browne] has promised me that he is going to go ahead and see if he can assist us with that,” he said.

There has been no racing at the Cassada Gardens Race Track in over a year owing to a number of issues. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic further compounded the issue when, in March, the government halted all competitions after the country recorded its first case of the deadly virus.

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