Hipodromo Camarero will host another day of racing Dec. 15, the second card at the track since Hurricane Maria hit the island Sept. 20. Unlike the Oct. 29 card, which was primarily used to hold a qualifying race for the Dec. 9 Clasico del Caribe presented by Fasig Tipton, the races scheduled for Friday have purses ranging from $6,000 to $12,000.
According to Equibase, the six races consist of a maiden special weight, an allowance, three claiming races, and one maiden claiming. Field sizes range from five to 11 starters and three are restricted to Puerto Rican-breds.
In a Dec. 6 statement from the track to Thoroughbred owners, Camarero said race dates have been approved for Dec. 15 to Dec. 31. Maintenance crews have removed debris, temporary roofs have been installed on some barns, and crews are working to repair the electrical system to restore power in the barn area. The statement noted the track is open for simulcasting and offers video lottery terminal gaming seven days a week, and mentions a new promotion for the advance deposit wagering site GanaDondeSea.com.
The statement also said, via translation: "Camarero will be guaranteeing owners any negative differential that arises after the payment of regular prizes for the period from Dec. 15 to 31, 2017. It is important to remember that any deficit will be covered by Camarero from their 'take' and no background or contribution from (VLTs) will be used from this end."
In response, president of Confederation Hipica de Puerto Rico Edwin Mundo Rios wrote to the owners Dec. 7, encouraging participation in the races this month. The translated statement reads:
"Dear associates, in the statement sent yesterday by Mr. Ervin Rodriguez to the racing community, he undertook to guarantee the deficiency in purses only until Dec. 31, 2017, however, Camarero proposes to celebrate four days of weekly races in January and five weekly days in February. With the number of OTB parlors available it is possible that the owners' take is not enough to cover the purses and contractual commitments, with jockeys, trainers, etc.
"It is the interest of all the members of the industry to start the live races as soon as possible, especially for the owners. That is why I invite you to participate in the start of the races only from Dec. 15-31, 2017. Conditioned to that before Dec. 31, 2017, Camarero must attend the other matters raised by the owners, otherwise we will maintain our position of not participating in races."