Lord Kitchener's Calypso "Trouble In Arima" may well be the soundtrack for local racing in the upcoming weeks, since owners and trainers have been informed that there will be no 'Triple Crown' this year.
They received notice by virtue of a meeting held last week of the Framing Committee that the Midsummer Classic, which the ARC stated was a creative effort to race horses on both surfaces to determine the 'Triple Crown' champion. The Midsummer Classic was slated to be run off on the turf course.
President of the ARC Robert Bernard on August 26 stated that "should the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, not let up and we are unable to get clearance until October then the 'Triple Crown' races will be contested beginning in October, November with the prestigious final leg, the Trinidad Derby being run off on December 26, Boxing Day".
The news coming out of Santa Rosa Park is that many stakeholders are not happy with the decision to not host any 'Triple Crown'.
Owner Lawrence Warner, who has Just Exhale set to take his chance in the Triple Crown series, is very disappointed at the position taken by the ARC.
He said, "I have been a horse owner for several years and at this point, I am very concerned on the direction that is being proposed, in respect to the Classic Diary as it relates to the 'Triple Crown'. Yes, I agree that it is a New Norm, but as seen all over the world, somehow racing fraternities can ensure that at least the 'Triple Crown' is of primary concern.
"The idea of just scraping one of the legs' without consultation is of grave concern to us. As Owners, our priority is having a three-year-old compete in the 'Triple Crown'. This would afford us all, the opportunity in winning all legs. Horse owners will not invest unless the ''carrot'' on the other end allows one to compete.
"My suggestion is that this October, November and December can be used for the Triple Crown events. The idea of the Gold Cup is a focus should be reconsidered. The Gold Cup can run in the following months of January or February 2022...and then have the option of the new four-year-old horses entering.
"One must also take into consideration the horse population and do what is best for racing and not just one's stables," said Warner.
"I entered racing via Hugh Henderson, in the eighties for a number of years and we had success with Bajuka to name a few. I migrated to England and returned in 2006 to racing via Glenn Mendez. I was fortunate to win the Midsummer and Caribbean Champion Stakes in 2008 with Just In Time and also in 2009, the Jamaican Stakes via Derrick Mosca. The idea of competition is what keeps us, the owners, in the game.
According to Warner, this year, there are not many three-year-olds that are considered "Classic" material, mainly locals and of the 10 /12 horses, most are from the O'Brien Stables and three are from outside stables, being Arsalan from the Alexis Stables, Pata Pata from the Defreitas Stables and Just Exhale from the Terrance Thomas Stables.
"There also may be one or two other owners who were considering for example entering the Midsummer, as it was initially decided to have that Classic on grass, and this Classic has now been removed without consensus.
"I implore that serious consideration is given to the Triple Crown Classics, as the heartbeat of racing will be determined on the future proposals put forward by those responsible.
"In ending, I think my horse could well beat Arsalan and I am looking forward to winning the 'Triple Crown' series. My horse will be closing at the end and I think he could outstay them."
Owner Dwight Hunte who bought a yearling for the purpose of winning a 'Triple Crown' is disappointed at the fact that the Midsummer Classic has been taken off the Classic Diary by the ARC Framing Committee.
"I bought Alani from Hugh Lee King and I am of the opinion that she will be a very good turf horse and I was of the belief that this was my big chance to win a Classic. Are you saying I spent money on a yearling to see it race in the 'Triple Crown' events and now my opportunity has been taken away?
"I wanted to run her in the Midsummer Classic and as any owner, the 'Triple Crown' races are where you want to go when you purchase a yearling. I am indeed unhappy at the inconsistency. From my perspective, if you cannot have all three have 'None'. Instead, have one race for the three-year-old and call it 'The Three-Year-Old Stakes' for at least two-thirds of the prize money of two 'Triple Crown' races and I believe everyone will be happy. But just don't leave out the Midsummer Classic at your whim and fancy. My options should always be there to race. At this juncture, I feel as though I have no option."
The Lester Alexis trained three-year-old Arsalan was set to win the Native Bred 'Triple Crown' on August 31 (Independence Day 2021) but that opportunity has been lost.
The Nigel Amin owned three-year-old is the leading three-year-old in training and could also win the 'Open Triple Crown'. The Native Bred 'Triple Crown' races are the Royal Colours Classic, the Chief Commander Classic and the Breeders Classic. The Royal Colours was contested on February 6, the Chief Commander Classic on March 27 and the final leg of the Breeders Classic was set for August 31.