Caymanas shutdown - Horse racing suspended due to coronavirus

Chairman of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) Clovis Metcalfe said that in light of the two confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus in Jamaica, his organisation was left with no other alternative but to suspend local horse racing at Caymanas Park until further notice.

Metcalfe told The Gleaner that the JRC had no choice but to follow the lead of the Government following the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the coronavirus is now a pandemic.

“Our position to cancel horse racing is based on the WHO declaring the virus a pandemic and the policy of the Government which is to discourage large gatherings and for me personally, it is out of abundance of caution,” said Metcalfe.

‘Saving lives is more important’

“In other words, the saving of lives is more important than a sporting event,” he said.

He underlined that when everything gets back to normal, racing at the track will resume.

“We would encourage racing once we see that the epidemic is contained and once we see the numbers not growing, then certainly we would encourage the racing game to resume,” he said.

In the meantime, chairman of Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited Solomon Sharpe said his association stands to lose millions of dollars from the cancellation of racing, especially with the back-to-back racecard which was scheduled for this weekend.

“This will have a big impact for us because this will severely impact the horsemen. They earn from purses when races are run and this will certainly impact the horsemen,” he said. Twenty races were scheduled for this weekend, 10 tomorrow and 10 on Sunday.

“I am not so worried about the impact of the losses on the business as I am worried about the impact of the losses on the horsemen and everybody within our industry,” Sharpe said.

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