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BTC’s 1-day wonder

Justin Marville

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Gold Cup days have become more than special for the Barbados Turf Club (BTC). It’s the only time it can cheer: Show me the money!
Horse racing’s biggest pay day is the only instance the BTC strikes it rich as chief executive officer Rosette Peirce revealed it operates at a loss for every other race day.
Peirce’s comments in an interview with WEEKEND?SPORT came in light of recent charges made on radio call-in programmes over what were deemed as exorbitant admission prices for the Southern Caribbean’s most prestigious horse race.
“It is the sole occasion that the Turf Club actually benefits from staging a race day,” said Peirce, of the Sandy Lane Gold Cup.
“All of the sponsorship money going into the winnings and the parade, the Turf Club doesn’t take any money to stage the races because we do that ourselves. So, we really operate at a loss for our race days.”
Title sponsors Sandy Lane fund the big race day to the tune of $200 000 – $110 000 of which goes to the connections of the winning horse.
General admission for regular race days is $10, with the BTC charging $20 for entry into the grand stand. Those prices are doubled on bank holidays, and go up to $50 and $75 respectively for the Sandy Lane Gold Cup.
However, those prices haven’t been raised for the last three racing seasons,?Peirce said, refuting at least two comments made over the airwaves suggesting that the BTC was overpricing its tickets.
“Like every other event, obviously, there are people who can attend and people who can’t,” Peirce reasoned.
“But if you know that every year that the Gold Cup is $50, I would believe you would put yourself in a position to have those funds available to attend the race. And people can still go on the inside pasture for free and watch the same racing and get the same amenities.
“It’s not as if anyone is being excluded,” she added.
The 31st running of the Gold Cup is set for tomorrow and Show Me The Money should open as the heavy favourite after the front running horse pulled gate position No. 1.
It’s the second time in succession the Lord Michael Taylor-owned horse pulled the pole position, having drawn the inside gate in last year’s race when it went past the post first.
However, that initial decision was rescinded following a lengthy process, as Apostle’s connections lodged a protest claiming Show Me The Money jockey, Jalon Samuel, impeded their horse’s path on the stretch run.
Champion Canadian-based jockey Patrick Husbands is slated to take the saddle this time around.