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Insiders guide to Mahalaxmi Racecourse - Hindustan Times

Posted on - 04 Dec 2015

Insider’s guide to Mahalaxmi Racecourse - Hindustan Times
As told to Manali Shah. 
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The only horse racing track in Mumbai, the Mahalaxmi Racecourse was built upon land donated by industrialist Sir Cusrow N Wadia. The track is oval shaped with 2,400 metres (7,900 ft), and the sea-facing racecourse has been modernised today. One can watch live racing and replays on the close circuit television sets installed at various vantage points of the racecourses. Vivek Jain, committee member of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) takes you through the historic landmark.
-The Mahalaxmi Racecourse celebrated 130 years last year. It is believed it was modelled on the Melbourne Racecourse.
-Racing was previously held in Byculla.
-The racecourse is spread across 225 acres, which is divided into various areas — the stands, the lawns, the central portion, stable area and the race and working tracks. Maintaining the place is a challenge because of the sheer size.
-The central portion is open to the public. It has a public garden, where people come to take a stroll, jog, or play football. It’s one of the few green lungs in south Mumbai.
-There are different stands at the racecourse. There is the members stand, the first enclosure (public) stand and the unused second enclosure stand. The best viewing spot is from the members’ enclosure, opposite the winning post.
-There are 1,500 horses here, which are looked after by professional trainers. An equine hospital is also on the premises.
-RWITC, which maintains the racecourse, is run by a nine-member honorary committee, elected annually by its 2,000 voting members. The committee has various working groups such as finance and marketing, to aid the decision making process. The de facto CEO is the secretary of the club, assisted by managers at all levels.
-One can apply for membership by filling out a form, which can be collected from the Administration Department of the Club at the racecourse.
-Meetings of the club are held every month. Just like in a democracy, all decisions are arrived at by majority vote.
-The entire stands area has a heritage status and no modifications are permitted on the façade.
-Betting can be done either on a totalisator (computerised, with a minimum bet of Rs.10) or with licensed bookmakers (fluctuating odds, minimum bet of Rs.100).
-The premises houses a helipad near the second enclosure, which is used by corporates throughout the year during daylight hours.
-The racing season in Mumbai starts on November 19 and goes on till the end of April. In addition to these races, Mumbai will host the 36th Asian Racing Conference (ARC), from January 24 to 29 at the racecourse. The conference is a platform racing administrators and allied industries to exchange ideas.
Vivek Jain is a committee member of RWITC and 36th Asian Racing Conference

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