The Puerto Rico Horse Racing Industry and Sport Administration officially inaugurated its Horse Quarantine Port, the first facility of its kind to be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Caribbean region.
The new facilities, located at Hacienda Siesta Alegre in Río Grande, and developed with the support of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, will be a key element for the strengthening of the local horse racing industry and the island’s economic development, government officials said during the inauguration Monday.
“The Puerto Rico Quarantine Port represents a great opportunity, not only for the local horse racing sport and industry, but also for investors and horse owners all over the region. With the availability of this new USDA certified facility, investors, owners and riders can transport their specimens directly to the Island to participate in local events, without having to taken them to a quarantine facility in the mainland U.S.,” said Wilfredo Padilla-Soto, administrator of the Puerto Rico Horse Racing Industry and Sport Administration.
“This will represent not only significant savings to this personnel, but also an important boost to our local industry and the island’s economy,” he said.
Developed through a public-private initiative and an estimated investment of $500,000, the facilities at Hacienda Siesta Alegre will have 24 stables, a room for performing necropsies and infirmary facilities. USDA personnel will provide veterinary and quarantine services. The Quarantine Port will create between 12 and 20 jobs, the agency noted.
The local horse racing industry will benefit from the Quarantine Port facilities, since Puerto Rico hosts important events such as the Caribbean Horse Racing Series, and the Caribbean Classic, which will take place in December 2016, Padilla-Soto said.
The local horse racing industry generates approximately 8,000 jobs.
“The Puerto Rico Quarantine Port opens a very important market, not only for local industry members who wish to acquire specimens from the United States, Latina América and the Caribbean, but it also generates new opportunities for other segments of the industry,” said Rosana Roig, president of the Puerto Rican Equestrian Sport Federation, who said the center’s impact on the local economy will be significant, citing as an example that the “Paso Fino” sport generates $186 million in revenue.
The Quarantine Port is a joint initiative of the Puerto Rican Equestrian Sport Federation and Hacienda Siesta Alegre and was established through an agreement with the USDA and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, veterinary Services and National Import Export divisions.