The Indian horse racing industry has been devastated due to the 5 month shutdown caused by the coronavirus. Racing clubs across the country have suffered enormous losses and thousands of jockeys have been left stranded with no work and no pay.
Bengaluru Turf Club Wants To Resume Racing
The Bengaluru Turf Club (BTC) was eager to get things up and running again as the club needed to get finances flowing again. The BTC had earlier put pressure on the state government to grant it approval to start racing again as well as approval for it to start offering online horse racing betting at its track.
The BTC had plans to resume operations with a mini-season of 8 racing days that would be spread across September and October. The BTC informed all the jockeys concerned and a total of 55 jockeys decided to take a COVID-19 test in order to secure a license to race. The tests showed that as many as 10 jockeys have tested positive for the coronavirus.
This is not good news for the BTC nor for the Jockeys Association of India (JAI). Pradeep Chouhan, President of JAI said that the association was currently in discussions to take out a COVID-19 insurance for the jockeys and their families.
The BTC will need to make sure that its players and horses are kept safe during the mini-racing season. Most sports teams are creating bio-bubbles in order to protect their players and staff. There is no indication if the BTC has plans to create a bio-bubble or if it is even feasible to create a bio-bubble for the horse racing industry.
The BTC has already applied for a license to begin racing next month and will now have to wait and see what the state government decides. As of now, the BTC has to focus on tracing the individuals who have been in contact with the 10 jockeys who tested positive. The BTC also sealed its office earlier this week and went through a full sanitation process.
Other turf clubs around the country will be paying special attention to what happens in Bengaluru. They will look to learn from the mistakes of the BTC and try and resume their operations on a much smoother note – if possible.
BTC Gets Request To Financially Support Horses
The Seoul Racehorse Trainers’ Association (SRTA) has helped out Indian jockeys and their families by providing them with jobs to race in Korea as well as sending across basic essentials to their families to help them at a time like this. JAI paid out 10,000 rupees for the last 5 months to jockeys who were not receiving any salary.
It’s not just the jockeys who are in need of financial help at a time like this but also the horses. There are over 800 horses that are based at the BTC and maintaining these race horses can be a costly affair. The owners of these racehorses have reportedly spent over a combined amount of 15 crore rupees to maintain these horses and are not sure if they will be able to earn any money from these horses in 2020.
The Karnataka Racehorse Owners Association (KROA) has written to the BTC and asked them to provide financial to help with the maintenance of the horses. The BTC has been requested to provide a subsidy of 7,500 rupees per month per horse for the next four months. When you consider the fact that there are over 800 horses to maintain, that is quite a lot of money. The BTC has declined the request from the KROA stating that they are not in a strong financial position as this time to pay out the requested 7,500 rupees per month.