– Says jockeys’, horses’ safety and health imperativeBy Clifton RossPRESIDENT of the Kennard’s Memorial Turf Club (KMTC), Justice (Rtd) Cecil Kennard said the horse-racing fraternity is still hopeful of action in the near future, but is more focused on the health and safety of its horses and jockeys.March’s proposed annual Phagwah Day race had to be indefinitely postponed following COVID-19 making her way to local shores, thus resulting in the ongoing lockdown/curfew state.Following Boxing Day’s 2019 mega race, the KMTC, like many other local sports associations/bodies, were forced to abandon any short-term plans of live action and wait out the pandemic with hopes of things returning to normalcy.Justice Kennard, in a brief interview with Chronicle Sport, yesterday, said he was hopeful that things could start picking up again in the near future, adding that the past few months have been disappointing for the local turfites.“Like everyone else, we are very disappointed, we appreciate those horse owners and jockeys and the respective clubs and those who cater to the sports, but the situation is far beyond our control”. He said.Fans have been suffering from the lack of live action; stakeholders and even some athletes have been in distress due to COVID-19 and the restrictions.In horse racing, a few of the owners/breeders are financially stable; some, according to Kennard, are not that well-off and, as such, rely on the sport to provide for their families. Hence, the lack of action has definitely hurt the fraternity.“Not too many horses are owned by wealthy persons, so some of the jockeys need action to support their families. The people are disappointed but they are also concerned about their health and I’m very concerned as well because we have to think about the lives of human beings”, said Justice Kennard.With regards to combating the pandemic, Kennard said a few of the popular clubs, including Nand Persaud, Rising Sun, Port Mourant, to name a few, have met prior to lockdown in order to discuss a way forward in dealing with the logistics with regards to making the future safer for horses and jockeys alike.The KMTC boss said that post covid-19 plans for safety should see fans and athletes continuing to practice social-distancing among other mandates.He said from a financial perspective, he also believed that it will take a lot for associations to bounce back from this rough patch created by the pandemic, which has seen the world undergoing somewhat of a recession.“Persons should continue to practice social distancing and wear masks. It will take a long time for us to rebuild financially because most of the income of the clubs come from sponsorship and they have been taking some blows recently”. He ended.Meanwhile, Kennard said he had identified August 4th as the next date for a possible return to action, with October and the marquee Boxing Day meet, being the other two major race dates on the cards for the remainder of 2020.