As a member of team Duralock, it is not possible to go anywhere without ‘fence spotting’ and holidays are no exception! A trip to Barbados last week happily coincided with the start of the third and final racing season of 2015.
Whilst the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and competitive racing are relatively new to the island (1970’s & 80’s), this does not mean that the sport has any less of a prestigious history here than anywhere else in the world. The Barbados Turf Club, which regulates and promotes horse racing in Barbados, was established in 1905 and is located in the Historic Garrison Savannah, close to the capital, Bridgetown.
The Garrison Savannah has been the home of horse racing in Barbados since 1845. The officers of the British Regiment, who were stationed in Barbados, used what was then the parade ground to match their horses in races and the wealthy merchants and planters later joined them.
Nowadays, those who want to enjoy race day from the stands can do so from as little as $10, however if you prefer a more informal atmosphere you can just lounge in the shade of the trees which surround the entire 6-furlong track, completely free of charge! Here, you will find traditional Bajan barbecue, burgers and cold beers all for sale from stalls, bikes and the back of vans or pickups.
A Caribbean race day is definitely an experience and not just because of the closeness of the track to the stands (you can actually stroke the winners on their way past and chat to the trainers and jockeys on their way in), but mostly because of the warm welcome and carnival atmosphere that comes with any event on these islands.
There is one complaint however, not a piece of Duralock fencing in sight… yet!
The finale of the Triple Crown is coming up on Saturday June 6th, with American Pharoah the most likely looking contender to take all three race titles in 37 years.
Here’s a brief outline of what is possibly the three most important races in American Thoroughbred Racing:
The Kentucky Derby
The first jewel in the Triple Crown is the Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs. This race has earned the title ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sport’. For the horse owners, the Run for the Roses is the first step to seeing if their thoroughbred has a shot at the crown.
The Preakness Stakes
Thoroughbred racing comes to Maryland on the third Saturday in May each year for the second and shortest leg in The triple Crown. This week-long celebration concludes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and determines if there will be a Triple Crown contender for the year.
The Belmont Stakes
The Belmont Stakes, first run in 1867, is the oldest of the Triple Crown races and one of the oldest stakes races in North America. This third and final leg is contested three weeks after the Preakness and five weeks after the Kentucky Derby. Only 11 times has a horse been able to wrap it all up in New York, the last being in 1978! Could this year be the 12th?
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