THE BARBADOS TURF CLUB (BTC) has blamed an equipment glitch for the reduction in the distances of two races on the first day of the third racing season on November 3. “The small (starting) gates malfunctioned, which led to the decision to make races six and eight 1 000 metres events,” Rosette Peirce, BTC secretary/chief executive officer, told NATIONSPORT in an interview yesterday. She said the decision to shorten from the scheduled 1 100 metres race was made after consultation with the trainers of horses entered in the two races. “While the new gates are significantly bigger they can only accommodate ten or fewer starters at the 1 100 metres starting position,” Peirce said. She added that under the rules of racing the stewards had three options; cancel the races, use a flag to start or adjust the distance for races six and eight. “By race three, a decision was made that if the gates could not be repaired in time, races six and eight would be run at the shorter distance,” she said. Rule 6 (v) of the BTC states: “The stewards shall have full power under exceptional circumstances to give permission for a race to be started in front of the starting post or within such distance of it as the stewards may from time to time direct. The exercise by the stewards of this power shall override any contrary provision concerning the distance of the race in the conditions of the race itself or of general application in these rules.” The other decision to shorten the distance could also have been made under Rule 25A (e) which speaks to the authority of the starter to do so. However, officials say this rule did not apply as circumstances occurred long before race six, which took the starter out of the equation. The BTC secretary apologized to race fans for the problems during the day’s programme when other incidents occured. In race one, three horses entered had to be resaddled causing the late start to the race day card; a member of staff took ill and had to be rushed away by the ambulance which is used to circle the infield per race forcing another delay, then the tractor broke down. A horse also got loose before the start of a race and two others in separate races were withdrawn at the start.