Arima Race Club

This concrete slab was the marker for the starting gate to be located for the 7-furlong race. It is in the vicinity of the tennis courts just south of the open market.

If I recall the savannah was 1 mile around.

The longer races took two passes in front of the grand stand.

The 8-furlong race started in front the grand stand and the 9-furlong race started somewhere by the velodrome.

I definitely remember the longer races starting by the grand stand with a large tape across the track. There were no starting gates at that time.

The track was mostly circular and there was no stretch run per se. The outer track was grass and the inner track was sand.

Close to the track at the corner of Woodford and Hollis there was an off-track betting pool run by a Mr. Antoine where you could bet as little as 10 cents.

The ARC started racing there somewhere in the 1930s and continued through the 1960s when a new track was built across the highway in Carapo.

It is called Santa Rosa Park. Today it is the only racetrack in Trinidad as PoS, Union (Marabella) and Shaw Park in Tobago have ceased operation and are all consolidated at Arima.

In those days racing was clockwise.

Photo and information courtesy: Collins’ son Challenor Birchwood.

BLUE FLAME WINS AT ARIMA. Circa 1956. Posted by Flloyd Hernandez.

In any trip down memory lane, for the older heads horse racing in the savannah is an unavoidable topic. Pictured here is race winner Blue Flame, led in by owners, twin brothers Collins and Cassell Birchwood from Tobago.

The spike fence I still remember. In my time it was green.

Those were. the days when we knew every horse by name and the grooms.

They all came down Robert St. on the way to Horse Basin. And the trainers and jockeys and the owners. Take it further to time trials and, you would have written it down, the distance, the weight, and the speed.