Horse racing in Barbados, grab your hat, we’re off !
Racing in Barbados first began when wealthy plantation owners, merchants and cavalrymen started to challenge each other on horseback in the 1700s. This then carried on until the 1800s where a track was created, on what was then the parade ground, by British army officers at Garrison Savannah; just south of Bridgetown in St Michael. The course is six furlongs in length and races are run from 5 to 11 furlongs, with horses running clock wise, which if you’re familiar with racing is unusual. I know of only one other course that runs this way which is the ancient walled Roman city of Chester in the UK.
Race days in Barbados are usually held every other Saturday throughout the year and there are a number of different viewing positions, with prices ranging from BBD$20 for adults and BBD$10 for children for a formal grandstand place, or BBD$10 for track side with children under 12 years old go free. Expect to pay more – up to BBD$75 for grandstand places on the prestigious Sandy Lane Gold Cup Day, which is usually run in March.
Other notable days for your diary are Stakes and Trophy day on Boxing Day, or the Banks Guineas Midsummer Creole classic. Often the races held are between locally bred horses and international thoroughbreds, so if you fancy a flutter whilst rubbing shoulders with locals, as well the stars of screen and stage, or if you just want a great day out – Garrison Savannah races await you.
Wondering what to wear? If you happen to be attending in the Members, Owners and Trainers, Sponsors Lounge or Corporate Boxes at the Barbados Turf Club, there is a strict dress code. Other than that, for in field and grandstand seats, a causal dress code is acceptable.
The experience of a real Caribbean race day is vivacious and exhilarating. Add to that the unique closeness of the track to the stands and you will find it is a day at the races like no other. It is bound to be an exciting and unforgettable day out for all ages. If you’re not a racing fan when you arrive, you will be when you leave!
Don’t forget you can take a picnic. Make sure your bubbles are chilled for your big win!
For more information about contact The Turf Club of Barbados
You can purchase admission tickets from the Barbados Turf Club office at the Grandstand from Monday – Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm
Horse racing in Barbados is not to be missed, it’s one of the great things to do on holiday. Make sure you include it in your vacation itinerary!