Bad news! 

In my opinion, my favourite sport is in a complete shambles.  Horseracing limps from raceday to raceday. Purses, the essential fuel for everything in racing, are now paid approximately eight weeks late.  Yet owners must pay training fees on time (impossible) and trainers must advance training expenses (feed; sawdust; grooms’ salaries; vet fees; etc) then wait 3 months (Bills delivered a month in arrears) for Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) to pay owners and a further forever for owners to get around to paying them.

It gets curioser and curioser.  As purse payment delays stretched, a cottage industry opened whereby purse winners could collect their purses from an external agent within 48 hours at a 5% fee.  Soon, according to my usually reliable sources, that agent was housed in CTL’s Offices at no apparent benefit to CTL (i.e. rent free).  Then, the early payment fee became 6 1/2% which, with only eight weeks to wait for guaranteed repayment, is an annualized interest rate of almost 40%.  Like taking candy from a baby.

My sources tell me that the matter was recently brought to the attention of CTL’s Chairman who immediately banished the agent from CTL’s offices but the business continues unabated.  What’s up?  Can CTL do NOTHING to pay the purses earlier so this new facility isn’t needed?

Maybe not.  But what CTL has done is build a new fence around the equine swimming pool.  Deputy Chairman, Andrew Azar, much hyped these days as CTL’s saviour, told me the fence cost $800,000.00+ and that there was no need for the Government Procurement Procedures (GPP) because it was constructed by CTL staffers at no labour cost.  I’m impressed at the voluntary kindness of those unidentified staffers but I’ve some questions.  Who are they?  What’s their expertise?  Was a Quantity Surveyor employed to verify the material costs and that the materials are accounted for in the ground?  I viewed the fence recently and it didn’t look like $800,000.00 to me.  But, to be fair, I recently brought $500 to Burger King expecting to buy two burger specials for me and my son, The Ampersand.  I had to beat an embarrassing retreat.  So, as The Old Ball and Chain repeatedly alleges, I know NOTHING about the current cost of anything.

My follow-up queries of Intrepid Andrew Azar as to why this fence was a priority when Caymanas Park has a perimeter fence of sorts, elicited this reply: “Kids were going into the area and one nearly drowned last week….”  Although the compound is also plagued by a goat invasion, I suspect Intrepid Andrew was talking about children.  Which begs the question, why are we paying gazillions to a security contractor if children can wander aimlessly around the compound?  NO UNATTENDED CHILD SHOULD EVER BE ALLOWED ON THE CAYMANAS PARK COMPOUND.  Alls I’ll say, as my sainted Grandmother used to, is $800,000 could pay a lot of purses.

Then there’s the issue of the recently hyped barrier system set up on the way to the stands ostensibly to protect customers from pimps and touts.  How it works mystifies me but, again, when I asked Intrepid Andrew about it, he confirmed the barriers were rented, as far as he was aware, from CTL’s security contractor.  But, in my opinion, customer protection from harassment IS a security contractor’s job.  Why’s CTL’s security renting barriers to CTL?

Like Buju, I could go on and on.  Once again, “divestment” seems to have died an unnatural death.  Regarding soon-to-be unveiled telephone betting option, I hear of two contractors with overlapping contracts. Why?  Were GPP followed?  Why must proposed customers visit racetrack or OTB to deposit money before betting by telephone?  Why can’t deposits be made with credit cards on a secure website?  And why’d the proposed regulations permit telephone betting by credit?  That’s a recipe for disaster.  With friends like this CTL management team, punters don’t need enemas.

On a personal note, Saturday’s racebook carried an advert “INVITING YOU TO LISTEN”.  To what? “THE FIRST EVER EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with…..Philip Feanny…host Colin Blair….hear all about the Mahatma from youth to present”.  I’m surprised at “Pebbles” and partner Tony Chadman who should know such an interview of The Great Man was first broadcast in the “Life Stories” segment of Saturday Afternoon Live on Nationwide 90FM on Saturday, June 1, 2013 and repeated on July 27, 2013.  The interview was conducted by The Terrible Tout.  Bad form “Pebbles”.  I’ll be listening out tonight for your correction and apology.                                                       Peace and Love


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