RACING YES! SPECTATORS NO!

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) yesterday granted permission to the promoting company, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), for the holding of three meets in the next eight days without spectators at the racetrack.

The JRC is the regulatory body of horse racing in Jamaica.

The new racing dates are Tuesday (March 17), Saturday (March 21) and Sunday (March 22).

The Tuesday meeting replaces yesterday’s card, which was not given the go-ahead on Friday last by the JRC.

The process of approval for the race days, as mentioned above, started yesterday when the commission received a written request from SVREL under the signature of the company’s general manager, Lorna Gooden.

The letter from SVREL read: “RE: CHANGES TO DATES FOR STAGING OF RACE DAYS

We write in regard to the above-mentioned subject matter. We are using this medium to seek the commission’s approval to effect the following changes of the scheduled race days: Race meet previously scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2020, will now be held on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Race meet previously scheduled for Sunday, March 15, 2020, will now be held on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Race meet previously scheduled for Saturday, March 21, 2020, will now be held on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

We look forward to your favourable response.”

This publication then received verbal confirmation from the chairman of the JRC, Clovis Metcalfe, that permission had indeed been granted.

“After considering the written request made by the promoting company, the board of the JRC granted permission for the listed race days to go ahead without spectators being allowed to enter the racetrack,” Metcalfe informed.

He then sought to clear the air as to why the scheduled race day for yesterday did not take place.

“Despite statements to the contrary, the stewards of the JRC were not unwilling to perform their duties yesterday.

“The JRC board had advised the staff that mass gathering would not be encouraged, and as such, the weekend races were cancelled and most made alternative arrangements.

“A very late request subsequently came from the promoter to hold the meet without spectators. The promoter was then advised that the board would consider such a request favourable and that it saw no reason(s) why racing could not resume early next week.

“One must understand that on that on Friday, March 13, it was announced that the number of covid-19 patients had increased from two to eight and the stewards, who would be asked to interact with trainers, grooms, and others, would be concerned about their safety.

“Going forward, we will ask the promoter to ensure that appropriate actions are instituted for the protection of the health of all personnel involved,” Metcalfe stated.