It was a festive atmosphere this afternoon when thousands gathered at the Garrison Savannah for the 2020 Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup.
Jockey Jalon Samuel created history on the racetrack claiming a record fifth title of the prestigious race, Barbadians and visitors alike were having a grand time drinking, eating, debating, and betting on which horse they wanted to win.
For some, the event was an annual family affair, but for others, particularly older folks, being at the Garrison to see the Sandy Lane Gold Cup is something they have been doing since it started.
A number of prominent individuals who were out in their numbers were dressed to impress in their finest outfits.
Scores of visitors also made sure they were present to enjoy the unique piece of Barbados’s culture.
Barbados TODAY took the opportunity to speak to some of the spectators about their views regarding the annual event.
Aidan Taylor who was decked out in the colours of the national flag said he was overjoyed to see so many young people were interested in the event. He said the heavy presence of the youth assured him that the Gold Cup was in good hands.
“I see the parents bringing out the young children and I see the older boys and girls out in their groups. And I haven’t seen any bad behaviour though the excitement is quite high. The people have conducted themselves well. I am proud of Jalon Samuels because he is a very humble young man and he really has a desire to reach the top and he is almost there,” Taylor said.
Carton Brathwaite, 75, was standing all alone listening to commentary about the same race on the radio. When asked why he was listening to the radio while he just metres from the track and in a position to see everything, Brathwaite said “I don’t know, I does just do it every year”.
“I don’t know. I bet on the horse that the boy Samuel riding and I predict he is going to win this race today. But the atmosphere really good too and I especially enjoying the drinks. I have been coming to these races since they started. But I always at Garrison once races going on,” Brathwaite said.
“I am here with my children and my sister’s children because she couldn’t make it. I come every year to bring the children because this is all they talk about once Christmas gone. I have six of them but I don’t have any problems with them because they always behave well,” Maria Taitt told Barbados TODAY.
Businessman Iain Hall said the Gold Cup was one of the best events he has ever been to on the island. Hall who is not a Barbadian said he has been to Crop Over, which he admitted is fantastic, but noted that to him, the Gold Cup is perhaps a nicer experience.
“It’s a lovely friendly atmosphere. It’s just magnificent. I like the parade, the bands, the guys on the stilts [stilt walkers]. It is just lovely. And the sunny weather helps of course because it could have been raining,” Hall said.
A group of Americans who came to the island to attend a recently concluded international conference said they extended their time in Barbados just so they could attend the big race day. The members of the group said they did not regret the decision to stay since their Gold Cup experience exceeded their expectations.
“This is amazing. You guys have a great culture, great food, great drinks and great people, and of course, great sunshine,” Lindsay Josephs said on behalf of the members of her group.
This year was the 39th year for the Gold Cup, 23 of which were sponsored by Sandy Lane. (AH)