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Friday, August 12, 2022
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Reader Proposes Substantive Changes for Horse Racing

Dear Source,
In December I submitted an editorial to the Source on the importance of St. Croix integrating our horseracing with the El Comandante Racetrack in Puerto Rico. It is my contention that horses pastured in St. Croix could compete at Puerto Rico's El Comandante Racerack. We Cruzans have been assured a welcome by El Comandante and the owners association La Confedracion Hipica. This could raise the island's own racing and horse raising.
I made a suggestion that our horse farms though lacking agri-based tax exemption might qualify for EDC benefits on the same basis as any other business. If they hire two people full time, have equipment worth a hundred thousand and bring in money from off island.
Serving the tourists, seasonal, second home owners and competing in Puerto Rico would factors that meet that test.
Since then Linda Greenlaw a friend who trains horses and distributes hoof pads has made what I consider to be an excellent elaboration on that. It is that the St. Croix Racetrack should add a European turf course on the inside of the current sand track. In Europe most of their racetracks are surfaced in grass. This makes for a softer surface, slower strategic races and enables longer careers. The horses start competing at as young as two years of age. By competing with horses in the same age bracket they can compete as old as ten.
In St. Croix currently horses typically are brought in from the States or Puerto Rico after their initial competitions. The horses have shown by then that they are second rate. The St. Croix races are less competitive. Buying in the States or in Puerto Rico enables horsemen to speculate on winning prizes on our track. If those horses can not compete well they are sold off or abandoned at the track.
Adding a turf track would not just change the nature of the careers of those horses brought to the island. Many better Puerto Rican owners would now want to race their own horses on St. Croix to get an earlier return and predict how they will do on the sand at El Comandante. Local farmers would be paid to look after them while here. You see all the racetracks on Puerto Rico are sand.
Getting Cruzan horses involved in Puerto Rico might double our horse population and area in horse farms as locals brought in better more and horses. Getting a new turf track and involving the Puerto Rican horse owners in St. Croix might increase horse population by a factor of ten.
Richard Bond
St. Croix

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