THE ENTRIES for eight horses entered to race on Saturday at Santa Rosa Park were thrown out by the Arima Race Club (ARC) on Tuesday (June 30).
This has come about because the horses were vaccinated for equine rhinopneumonitis, or tetanus vaccination, but their vaccination cards were not lodged with the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority (TTRA) to have them registered (stamped off).
The spike in the wrong direction started with the ARC’s restart day, June 27, when the entries for five horses were thrown out for the same reason.
The Express was informed that the TTRA changed the flexible rule regarding vaccinations for horses, making it now mandatory for trainers to have their horses vaccinated prior to entry. Before Covid-19, trainers were allowed to have the horses vaccinated after the vaccination had expired, and if their horses were entered they were allowed by the TTRA to have the vaccination cards registered by Friday of the same week.
Last year also, the veterinarians were unable to get the required vaccines for the horses, and the rule pertaining to vaccination of horses was suspended.
So why the change in policy?
The Express learnt that when horses are not vaccinated on time, there is a risk of an outbreak of “equine flu”. However, since the improved vaccination programme started at Santa Rosa Park after the 1994 outbreak when the sport was centralised, there has not been any outbreak.
Trainers explained to the Express the majority of horses were vaccinated on time, but their vaccination cards were not lodged with the TTRA because they were closed during the Covid-19 lockdown. And when the TTRA was eventually opened, they forgot about stamping the cards because of the old system.
They claim while it is alleged they are delinquent the TTRA has to take blame also, because it was closed for several months during the Covid restrictions. Trainers argued they should have been given a grace period by the TTRA to update their vaccination cards.
Back on the track, there will be six races on the card, and it will be patron-less once again.
The feature event is a six-horse contest with trainer John O’Brien having four of the six runners. They are Thisonesforron, Apocalypse, Making Headlines and General JN.
Also entered is Root Of Jesse and Gold Cup winner Master of War.
The second race on the card is the supporting event and this 1,750-metre event is the prep for the upcoming 1,800-metre Guineas on August 1.
Seven horses are entered in this race with trainer Harold Chadee set to saddle four of the seven runners.
In this event, young trainer Richard Frederick has CP Jet entered. CP Jet, with Jovika Boodramsingh, slammed Chadee’s horses when they met in March over course and distance. Newcomer Mighty Vegas and Spanish Eyes round off the field.