Milestones are those Calendar events that most people celebrate these days, rather than ignore. Especially, those coming in the post-Covid, era. As they are celebrated with more intensity, after the lull, experienced by many with the suspension of festivities; and the fact that many lost loved ones during that period.
But Milestones are fabulous markers, They serve as an acknowledgment of the passage of time, and for the Goal-oriented, it provides a yardstick by which we can all measure, the progress we have made, as against simply occupying space and marking time.
And so it was, on the eve of celebrated Race-Horse Trainer E-Anthony Subratie’s 70th Birthday, his darling wife Charmaine Davis–Subraitie; and their fabulously lovely daughter, Shay Subratie, decided on throwing a weekend of celebrations, to first honour and celebrate the life and achievements of the beloved Race- Horse-Trainer; and this they did, with the fabness of the style-conscious, and the elan, of the socially comfortable.
You see, a trick known only to those who are comfortable in their own skin, is that in hosting a party, your first duty is to entertain your guests, and this they do well. On the other hand, there are those, who conflate the issues and instead of seeking to first entertain their guests, seek to impress them. And in doing this, miss the boat entirely…
Now, it would take a mighty lot to impress a man, who has saddled hundreds of winners in his illustrious career, as a race-horse-trainer; and likewise, his friends. So, Mrs. Davis Subraitie and her daughter Shay, did not seek to overwhelm in their weekend-long celebrations, they sought to entertain, but overwhelm they did, as the celebrations began on Friday morning, with a gathering of a shortlist of immediate family and friends, at the Riggs riverside property, in DoveHall, St. Catherine.
Now this was one beautiful choice for a lyme, but it did take some finding, and if you were not committed and or a close friend, then, you would have opted to sit this one out, and in doing so, missed out on a simply sumptuous experience, of the fabulous order.
Dears, DoveHall, is located somewhere Between the Village of Tulloch and the Town of Hawkers Hall, in St. Catherine, after exiting the Highway at Angel’s and journeying on the old River Road, to Bogwalk, and then taking the right, as if heading to Riversdale.
We are talking picturesque countryside here accessorized by rolling hills on the horizon and undulating fields of Sugar, Citrus, and a Jackfruit Grove, on a country road, that was simply god-awful and then some.
Once on location however, all concerns were discarded as one simply gave in to the beauty of the Spot, as we are talking a towering hillside here, with beautiful foliage, with a crystal clear river, hugging the base of the hillside and coursing through what looked like farmlands.
Now this was a River Cook-out and Lyme, so, upon arrival, the first order of the morning, was the clearing of a party area, and the setting up of a bar and Kitchen (Wood-fire On Riverstones, on the near bank of the river).
The Bar operational and Soup and Curry on the fire, the men then set about cutting Bamboo, to create seating and lounge areas. Mind you, there were some Chairs provided, but these somehow, never seemed apropos, so were ignored, for the most part.
Now the beauty of the occasion was the fact that many of those guesting were meeting each other for the first time, and the activities such as bench-making; setting up ‘two stoves’; finding firewood for the stoves; setting up the bar; and getting the ‘boat’ rowing, made for some great ice-breaking moments. As All this time and in between it all, guests took time to take a deep in the near icy-cold waters of (What I suspected was a Tributary of the Rio Cobre), adding to the familial atmosphere that was de reguer.
As the morning progressed into the afternoon, and the sun rose above the sheltering hillside and began pelting the embankment, the Children took refuge in the water, under the supervision of anxious parents; and the adults found comfort in a selection of premium libations; home-made rum punch and mannish-wata. Someone hooked up their wifi to a mini speaker with a sound-box attitude and played some fab period-appropriate music, adding to the chill fabness.
By Mid-afternoon, the riverside was a beehive of activity, as most guests had arrived, many sharing their harrowing stories of the horrendous roadway, missing the entrance to the riverside, and were only too happy to kick back and relax.
Lunch was Chicken Curry, with Basmati Rice and Coal Roasted Breadfruit; along with pickled Codfish; Fruit and Vegetable Salad; Roti and Daal; And some steamed Tilapia, and it made for one absolutely fabulous fare. The beauty of it all being the fact that for the most part, Shay Subraitie prepped and Cooked it all there, on the River.
Lunch taken, toasts followed, along with the cutting and serving of the Cake, and then back to the libations and the exchange of stories and anecdotal reveries… And before we all knew it, it was dusk and time to clean up, pack up, and make our way (some very reluctantly) out of the bushes, and back to Kingston and Spanish Town (Where Most of those who guested), were staying.
And that too, was not without its own excitement as one vehicle, decided it would not continue willingly unto Kingston and so shut itself down on the entrance to the River Road, just outside of Bogwalk. Now this was night, so somewhat scary, but as the group was traveling in convoy, that too was part of the adventure. And a few telephone calls later, the group was on its way once again, and made it in, without any further challenge.
That was Friday. Saturday was A Rest Day, as Sunday had two high-profile high-density events scheduled to complete the weekend schedule of celebrations.
Sunday began at the Races, at the Fabulous Caymanas Park, The Caribbean’s Citadel to the Sport Of Kings, and E Anthony Subraitie’s stomping grounds”. The site of his many triumphs, and a few defeats, but mainly, a site where he is regarded as a leading member of the extended racing family. It was a 10-Racecard program, and with racing scheduled to get underway at Midday, Guests were advised to be seated in the Directors VIP Boxes by Mid-day for the Card. And most were.
Now the Caymans, Racing Complex, is one of the Country’s hidden Jewels. A fabulous expanse of a Park, covering 30-plus acres, the park and its amenities could do with some sprucing up, particularly a lift or an elevator to take Guests from the ground floor to the 5th-floor VIP Section. This notwithstanding, there’s no gainsaying the absolute beauty of the track, field, and grounds, and the awesome view of the residential Hills, surrounding Kingston, New Kingston, and the beauty of it all.
Talk about Levelling Up, well my dears, it does not get any better than guesting at Caymanas Park, to honour one of the racing icons of our time, as indeed, last Sunday, June the 25th, saw the inaugural running of the E. Anthony Subratie Trophy Race, a tribute to the distinguished, if at times, controversial trainer. This was race number 8, on the Card, so y’all know, it would be fun and games leading up to race number 8.
Nd we are talking about a truly historic occasion here, as A trophy race in honour of a Trainer, has never ever, been done before, honouring a living Trainer as all previous races Honouring the stalwarts have all been Memorial races, but after 50 years as a Trainer, its safe to say, E. Anthony Subratie, a Pillar of the racing fraternity, had earned his stripes, and was indeed, worthy of the singular honour!
And so it was, With the Director’s Boxes Being an all-inclusive VIP enclave, offering premium liquor, finger foods, and Lunch, y’all know we are talking a haven of maximum chill order here and nothing but. And with live streaming making betting available for other racing meets across the globe, we are talking fabulousness of the spectacular order, as guests were able to and did place bets and in between their sips and bets, catch up with each other, celebrate and toast each other, and place friendly wagers on races in a detached mode, suggesting sans souci – No Care, you all know we are talking ‘The Living is easy”, at least for those guesting.
For Subratie and his syndicate however, t’was quite a busy Sunday Afternoon, as he was also a sponsor of a number of events that kept him and his team busy handing out necessary goodies to Jockeys and Grooms as part of his celebratory Weekend, and with a number of guests from overseas, being a part of his entourage, it made for a hectic Sunday afternoon.
It was like that, and then some. And before you knew it it was time for the E. Anthony Subraitie Trophy race. Disappointingly, the Tony Subratie Saddled Horse, Rashid, was a Late-non-starter, but cheers went up all around for the winning connection: Owner, David A Graham; Breeder, Derron Longmore; Groomed by Peter Richards and ridden by Jockey Paul A. Francis.
And So, all’s well, that ends well…But The celebrations did not end there, as Mrs Subraitie and her daughter Shay, had planned and were hosting the Mother-Of-All-Birthday Parties, to mark the 70th Birthday of the beloved Trainer, and this followed the festivities at the Track, at the family home, in Ensom City, near the Nation’s first Capital, after the race meet and my daahlings, how!
Dears, as it was, on Friday, so it was on Sunday evening, a festival of fabulousness, of the understated order, but prime time and nothing but! With the racing fraternity, and leading members of the Ensome City Community, out if full force celebrating their neighbour and friend, and it made for simply marvelous do!
But what a weekend. The festivities, the camaraderie, and the fellowship were simply fabulous! Among those sharing in the weekend celebrations were: sister Dorothy Williams, who jetted in from Tallahassee with her five children; daughters Shelley Subratie-Otero, in from Florida, with husband Joel Ortero and their daughter, Jayde Ortero; Sheena Subratie; and Shay Subratie, who was Master Chef, all weekend. Also out were: former Councillor Alvin Beckford; Trainer Allen Maragh, jetted in from Florida, with wife Wendy Maragh; Joseph Martin; celebrated Jockey Rajiv Maragh; realtor, Lisa Marzouca; Ramesh Chatani; Deepak Chatani and sibling Sunita Chatani; Martin and Angella Kirland; Maurice Sculley; the beautiful Novelette Dacres, in from Atlanta, with her son, Ryan Dacres; noted Sports Commentator Carole Beckford; Dennis Grant; Trainer Peter and Eleanor Parsard, and their son Harry; Indie Goulbourne; plus several others.