Promoting company of horse racing in Jamaica, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) is putting together the final touches of their plan to celebrate in a big way, the 60th anniversary of horse racing at Caymanas Park.
The 60th anniversary race day is set for Saturday next, August 24.
A former sugar estate, owned by Alexander Hamilton, the Caymanas Park was designed by Bartholomew Vicens-Oliver and was officially opened on August 22, 1959 moving from Knutsford Park which was located where today’s New Kingston is situated. The first race run at Caymanas Park was won by Roman Road ridden by jockey Barrington Smith.
Chairman of SVREL, Solomon Sharpe indicated in an interview with The Supreme Racing Guide that there are a number various activities that are scheduled to take place to mark the historic occasion of the 60th anniversary of horse racing at Caymanas Park starting with the race day on Saturday.
“Let me start by acknowledging that this is indeed a very special moment in time not only for those in horse racing but for the country on the whole as horse racing over these 60 years has been woven into the fabric of Jamaican life.
“Our equine athletes and professionals in the sport have become household names. Royal Dad, the first Triple Crown winner at Caymanas Park, Winston “Fanna” Griffiths, the great George HoSang, Emelio “Bimbo” Rodriquez, Charles Hussey, Legal Light, Andrew Ramgeet, Trevor “Slicer” Simpson, Philip Feanny, Wayne DaCosta, Kenneth Mattis, Cecil Charlton, Pat Rousseau, Danny Melville, Howard Hamilton, Anthony Nunes, Yvonne Mattis, The Viceroy, Eros, Legal Light, She’s A Maneater, Alan “Billy” Williams, Del Weller, Leslie McCrae, Orville Clarke, Chris Armond and Brian Rickman among many others have at different times all played significant roles in the growth and development of horse racing at Caymanas Park and we are forever thankful for their contributions and commitment to the sport.
“We must never forget those in the backstretch like the grooms, the exercise riders, and, of course, the team-members who form a part of the behind the scenes operations for the various promoting companies who have managed our racing product over these 60 years of existence.
“Here, I speak of those who sell tickets, the maintenance crew of the track, mechanics, starting gate crew, those who are responsible for the keep and care of the 198-acre property and those who provide the lunches especially on those hectic race days,” Sharpe offered.
As to the 60th-anniversary race day itself, the SVREL chairman indicated some of the initiatives of the company he heads.
“On the racetrack, we are going to have the running of 60th - anniversary event which is an Open Overnight Allowance contest to be run over 7 ½ furlongs.
“Many of our patrons are presently in the process of preparing their children to rerun to school in early September and as such, on Saturday (August 24), SVREL will be hosting a back to school treat to give some assistance in this area.
“On Saturday also, we will be launching SVREL’s new website which is caymanasracing.com. This is a modern, inclusive and dynamic website which puts the company in line with accepted international standards as we aim to provide local and overseas patrons with all the information required to inform them of the happenings at the track, especially to place bet on our races,” Sharpe informed while quickly adding that there will be prizes and surprises including artistes on the day.
In continuation of our 60th-anniversary celebrations, SVREL is planning to host a long service awards function in September for team-members and others who are a part of the racing fraternity.
Ownership of the Park as Caymanas is popularly known has changed hands over the years, until 1975, when the Government took control of its operations.
Three years before the Government take-over, a new legal structure was put in place to regulate and control horse racing and the management of Caymanas Park, hence, the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) was established. The Jockey Club, formed in 1905, which was previously entrusted with regulating the sport, was incorporated into the JRC.