A grand crowd, impressive horses, good music, and flowing food and drinks all made for a spectacular day of racing on Saturday.
The 34th Sandy Lane Gold Cup was historic; not only because of the famous venue, but as patrons and organizers suggested, it was unlike any other. Under the beaming sun, the record crowd was thrilled from start to finish.
Hundreds enjoyed the parade in front of the grandstand, which featured, among others, the sharp-looking members of the Royal Barbados Police Force Band that had many singing and dancing with its skilful presentation of local music.
The beautiful dancers, decked in vibrant colours of every hue, also delighted the appreciative gathering with their perfectly executed routines.
The satisfaction of the robust crowd was evident all around.
And when it was time for the big race, the eager spectators could not keep off their feet as the horses thundered to the finish line. As they crossed, it was impossible to miss the happy cheers of some and the groans of disappointment from others.
“I have lived in Barbados for the past ten years and always try to come to the Sandy Lane Gold Cup. It’s an absolutely wonderful environment, great day out, lots and lots of wonderful people, marvelous hostesses, food, drink, horse racing, lovely atmosphere. What could be better?” remarked Frank Hinckson.
British couple Suzanna and Edmund, who have visited the island at least 15 times, said: “We had a wonderful time. We have really enjoyed the racing. Year after year we come to this event, and would not miss it for the world.”
Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley had high praise for the annual event, which he suggested made a significant contribution to the island.
“This is one of the biggest crowds that we have had at the Gold Cup by far. It tells us that sport tourism is going in the right direction; it tells us that sport still has that pull to create that necessary injection into the economy and I am very happy.
“I think that the crowds have come out again this year supporting sport in a big way, and in particular the Sandy Lane Gold Cup.”