The Garrison Savannah is where horse racing has been held for over 150 years during the racing seasons (three) under the patronage of the Barbados Turf Club.
As a child growing up, my dad would take both me and my brother to watch the horses train around the savannah. Any given morning, one can see the die-hard punters watching the horses train. This way they will know how "their" horse will perform in the big race, and bet accordingly.
The Sandy Lane Gold Cup is the most prestigious horse race in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, and is held on the first Saturday in March every year. The race is now in its 32nd year, and the last 18 of those have been sponsored by Sandy Lane Hotel. Horses come from the Caribbean and North America to take part.
The Gold Cup race is a 12-horse race, and the first prize is an authentic Gold Cup produced in the United Kingdom, along with a handsome purse.
Each year the Gold Cup travels 4,195 miles to the island from the UK.
Years ago, the Gold Cup arrived by air on the Concorde from the United Kingdom, but since the Concorde has now been retired to the Concorde Museum, the Gold Cup is now specially flown to the island on a British Airways flight. It arrives a few weeks before the actual race.
This year, the Gold Cup arrived on British Airways 2155 at 3.21pm on February 8, 2013.As is customary, officials from the Barbados Turf Club, the Ministry of Tourism, and Sandy Lane Hotel, were on hand for the Cup’s arrival.
The Sandy Lane Gold Cup, the pinnacle of equine supremacy in the regionOn race day, the atmosphere at the Garrison Savannah is frenzied. Spectators arrive at the Savannah very early in the morning to erect tents on the grounds and to ensure they get the best seat in the house. People are known to park from the night before just to get a “good spot”, as there may not be much parking in the immediate surroundings of the Savannah on the big race day. The grounds are packed with stalls selling food and drinks, and there are plenty of activities for children to enjoy while their parents consume a few drinks and watch the races.
For the thousands of fans packing the stands and surrounding areas, the race is a spectacle to behold with much ceremony, parades, dancing, and lots of skilled performers.
Aristodemus, an American-bred four-year-old chestnut colt, ridden by Anderson Trotman, galloped home to glory in Saturday's £63,000 Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup. His victory provided owner Sir David Seale with a second successive triumph in the Southern Caribbean's richest and most prestigious contest.
Aristodemus, this year's Sandy lane Gold Cup winner with triumphant jockey Anderson Trotman on board
Aristodemus won by 3/4 of a length ahead of Lord Michael Taylor’s Daga, while Meteorite was third.
I am not a lover of horse racing, but I love horses, and so this story still captured my attention.
Congratulations to Aristodemus!!!
N.B: All photos are images from google images and various online newspapers....they are not my own.
** Sandy Lane Hotel is a five star hotel resort on the island, and they are the proud sponsors of the race every year.