TRINIDAD RACING: Guineas dates moved again as purses are cut substantially

Arima Race Club’s president Robert Bernard

THE GUINEAS has finally found a date with history. It will now take the place of Trinidad Derby Stakes which is traditionally staged on September 24 at Santa Rosa Park.

The Guineas is the first leg of the Triple Crown series, and this is the second time the date and purse have been changed.

The 1,800-metre Guineas was originally scheduled to be run off on May 30 for a purse of $115,000, but was changed to August 1 with a revised purse of $80,500 because of the Covid-19 pandemic which caused a shutdown of the sport after the March 14 race day

On June 27, the sport restarted with purses revised by as much as 65 per cent to Handicap races, and by as much as 50% to the regular Modified Benchmark Handicap. There was also the promise to pay the purses the following week. These revised purses were necessary because the Betting Levy Board (BLB), who ‘assist’ with the purses were unable to, because of the Covid-19 shutdown.

Reached on the second change of date and purse for the Guineas, ARC president Robert Bernard advised: “The reason we took the decision to move the Guineas from Emancipation Day (August 1) to September 24 (Derby Day), we are not doing the kind of betting we were expecting and we do not want to put ourselves in the position we were in. We had an increase in betting on the last race day, that is a good sign, but it is not where it should have been. We have pushed it back with the expectation that patrons will be able to return to the track, and by that time, and we will get a sponsor.”

Regarding the new date for the 2,000-metre Trinidad Derby Stakes, the Express has been reliably informed that the race will return to Boxing Day. The Derby Stakes was traditionally staged on Boxing Day when horse racing was not centralised at Santa Rosa Park. The 2,000-metre Gold Cup will also be held on December 26 this year, while the St James and St Ann’s Stakes will be moved from Boxing Day to earlier in December.

The 1,900-metre Midsummer Classic, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown has been moved from August 31 to October 31.