The redone race track is better – trainers, jockeys

The track being worked on
The track being worked on

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The major part of the regrading and resanding exercise of the racetrack at Caymanas Park has been completed by the technical team of the promoting company, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL).

The process started on Sunday (April 11) and continued until Wednesday (April 14) during which time no horses were allowed to exercise on the track. The horses returned yesterday and as to be expected trainers did not gallop their charges, choosing instead to canter horses under their care.

Track superintendent at SVREL Everton “Puggy” Henry told this publication that while there is still much more to do to get it right, the track was in much better shape than before.

“The racetrack is much smoother, there is bounce and carry, but in no way is the work to get the track as best as can be over as yet. It is a continuous process and is one to which we are fully committed.

“The feedback from some of the trainers and especially the jockeys have been good. We will continue to listen as we go forward as the aim is to get a good racetrack, but, even more importantly, a safe race track for all,” the track superintendent said.

Seasoned rider Shane “Canterman” Ellis who was on the track exercising horses was happy with the work done but was cautious in his response.

“I was on the track this morning (Thursday) and it felt good.

“There was bounce, it [the track] felt good, it was even, but with all of that said it must be a work in progress. Based on my experience over the many years I have been riding it is going to take time for the track to settle. It is more than OK now but with time after say two to three race days it will get better if the maintenance work continues and if it is watered properly,” Ellis shared.

As to the consistency of watering the racetrack, this website has been informed that SVREL is in the process of purchasing two new water trucks from a local dealer.  If so, this will make three water trucks available to SVREL, each with a capacity of approximately 5,000 gallons per truck.

Champion trainer Anthony “Baba” Nunes in his comments on the new surface said at first look the track seems better.

“I had my horses out this morning [Thursday] and the response of the riders was quite favourable. They [the jockeys] told me that the track was even and smooth and that they liked the feel while going around. In the main, the jockeys told me that the track was level and the hills and gully present before were all but eliminated.

“For obvious reasons, I did not gallop any of my horses this morning, but I am looking at doing so probably on Sunday and Monday coming. My view is that for the track to be at its best, it will probably take about three to four weeks once the flow of work is continuous and ample water is applied.

“So far, so good, and for this, I am happy as we all want a safe track for the horses and the jockeys,” Nunes said.

Trainer Gary Subratie said that based on the reports from his jockeys yesterday plus what he has seen at exercise, the track is smoother and the sound much better.

“When I brought my horses on the track this morning (Thursday) they cantered, no gallops were done and when the jockeys returned, they shared that the track was level, bouncy, and kinder for the horses.

“That is all good but and we are grateful for this initiative, but the work needs to be done regularly. I cannot be a black for three days and then there is a slacking off…maintaining a good conditioned racetrack is vital for all concerned.

“So let the work continue consistently,” Subratie said.

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