Turf Club struggles with maintenance of race track

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By Neto Baptiste

President of the Antigua Turf Club, Neil Cochrane, said the organisation has been struggling to maintain the landscaping at the Cassada Gardens Race Track.

Cochrane, who was responding to a caller who bemoaned the facility’s current condition on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, said that maintaining the cutting of the grass has proved to be a costly venture.

“Of course, we are fully aware that the place needs to be manicured and if you drive by, you might say wow, and that it looks as though we are looking to plant corn but at the end of the day we do have an agreement. The Turf Cclub is just like most other sporting bodies; we don’t have no money, we depend upon goodwill. We depend on some form of trade, on personal resources to help us to keep the place maintained,” he said. 

Reports are that the facility is in dire need of being cut, as grass has spilled onto the track. Cochrane said the Turf Club is fully aware of the situation.

“When you have a little lull — we last raced on June 30 — things can get a little out of hand and so we are trying to get it right. The horses started to exercise and rain started to come, so they had to stop. The surface on which they exercise has now moved from full dirt to almost full grass so we now have to cut the grass and get it off the track,” he said.

The turf boss assured that the body has been making efforts to get the job done but it has had a hard time finding a replacement for its original landscaper who has lately been struggling with equipment failure.

“I have approached two other companies and it would have been people I am close to because at the end of the day, they are going to look to me for pay and if the Turf Club doesn’t have the money, then they are going to look to me. So I have to look for people willing to work with us and if they don’t get payment in full then they can get it over an agreed schedule,” Cochrane said.

“It should have been done already but when the rain comes and the place is wet you are not going to get it cut,” he added.

The club had targeted September for a return of racing at the facility but said those plans had been hampered by recent showers.

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