Horsemen at a recent meeting.
Horsemen at a recent meeting.

Horsemen community stake their position  

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The ongoing talks between the horsemen community, which is comprised of trainers, owners, jockeys, and grooms, and the promoting company Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) regarding an increase in purse money has hit a major snag.

The horsemen had made a request in writing to the SVREL for a minimum increase in purses of $70 million, which is an approximate increase of 10 per cent, which was after an original request of 25 per cent was first put forward. That request letter was dated December 2022 under the signature of trainer Ian Parsard, who was designated as the main negotiator on this matter on behalf of the horsemen community.

SVREL responded to that request letter on January 18, 2022.  Under the signature of General Manager Lorna Gooden, the SVREL response said in the main:

“SVREL is committed to working towards a fulsome solution for the benefit of the entire horse racing industry. In keeping with this vein, the company will be inclined to implement the following:

1 – An increase in the appearance fees totally approximately $9 million. This will be applied to losing race placement for 7th and lower place finishes.

2 – The increase will be tiered based on the level of purse to ensure that there is no anomaly for payments to 5th – 6th places.

3 – This will be effective February 1, 2022.

4 – A proposed committee, consisting of reps from SVREL and the stakeholders, to craft and agree a formula linking purses to movements in revenue and costs as per the MOU [memorandum of understanding] signed in May 11, 2022.

We look forward to our mutual beneficial associations.”

Following receipt of this communication, the horsemen again, via Parsard, responded yesterday formally addressing the general manager. That response followed a meeting of the horsemen community held yesterday. That response is printed below.

“This is a further follow-up to your letter of January 18, 2022, and our first response in a letter dated January 19th 2022.

As outlined in our letter, SVREL’s decision has been communicated to the horsemen community including owners, trainers, jockeys and grooms at a meeting held today. Executives of various associations (Jamaica Racehorse Owners, United Racehorse Trainers, Grooms and the Jockeys’ Guild) were in attendance.

The decision of the Horsemen Group was a full consensus as to the following:

1 – Reject the proposal from SVREL (no purse increase)

2 – Effective January 25th 2022, the cost of presenting horses for racing is now too burdensome and horses will not be nominated.

There is no expiration date on this decision at this time, and entries could be affected immediately.”

If this action of no nominations by the horsemen community goes ahead as stated in their letter to the promoting company it would effectively mean a curtailment of the racing product for an indefinite period.

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