KINGSTON, Jamaica – Christopher Joseph Armond, known by his colleagues, friends, and legion of racing fans as “Mr Horse Racing” died on Tuesday, May 11 (approximately 8:30 am) after a short illness which curtailed his work as a consultant with the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC). Armond is survived by his wife Allison, son Jordan and brother Wayne. Chris Armond was 67-years-old.
Administrator and commentator Christopher Armond was inducted in the Hall of Fame of Thoroughbred Racing in June 2017 under the category of Other Racing Personalities.
It was natural for Chris to have a professional life in the horse racing industry. Chris’s father Joseph, a Hall of Fame inductee, was co-managing director of Caymanas Park Limited and grandfather Altamont was the founder of the then promoting company Jamaica Turf Club.
Given the opportunity by the management of the racetrack and the then Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, Chris Armond established a new level of excitement and accuracy to race commentary with his distinguished vocal delivery. From 1975 to 1985 he was the voice of local racing and remains the standard by which others even overseas commentators are judged by Jamaican fans. In 1984, Chris was awarded the Press Association of Jamaica Golden Microphone award for his outstanding commentaries and was also the recipient of the Caymanas Track Limited Chairman’s award in 1993.
While Chris Armond made a substantial impact as a commentator, it was his work as an administrator that he left a lasting impact on the industry that he so loved and cherished.
Chris served as the racing secretary from 1985 and the first director of racing before accepting an offer from Detroit Racecourse in the United States in 1988.
Another offer came from Hialeah in Florida but Chris responded to the request from then Caymanas Track Limited chairman and Member of Parliament Danny Melville to return to Caymanas as director of racing with the additional portfolios of promotions, marketing, and public relations from 1989.
In 1993, Chris fathered the implementation of the Claiming System and introduced the now famous high-five exotic wager which has become one of the favoured local bets.
Armond’s racing administrative skills were not only for the local industry as he working as the vice-president of racing in both Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
On his return to Jamaica in the early part of the 2000’s Armond, played a vital behind the scenes role in the development of the Diamond Mile race day.
In December of 2020, Armond retired from his position as director of racing with the promoting company, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL). A trophy event, the Chris Armond Sprint was named in his honour. After his retirement from the promoting company, Armond stayed with horse racing working as a consultant with the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC).
Chairman of the JRC, Clovis Metcalfe in paying tribute said that Armond’s knowledge and expertise in horse racing was second to none.
“Christopher Joseph Armond represented all the good to be found in the sport of horse racing.
“Chris got his introduction to horse racing from his grandfather Altamont and his father Joseph, who were both firmly attached to the sport.
Chris Armond’s first foray into racing was as a commentator and many racing fans will always remember his sublime and distinctive commentating skills, which brought many to the sport just by listening to his commentaries on radio and television. He truly became the voice of horse racing in Jamaica.
“Then he undertook the role of administrator and it was then that Chris introduced several new innovations including new bets, new distances, always placing at the top of the list the professionals in the sport, and the betting public.
After his retirement from his role as an administrator, “Chris became part of the JRC as a consultant. It was then that I got the opportunity to work closely with him, and to benefit from his vast knowledge of horse racing.
“There is no doubt that horse racing has lost one of its pioneers, one of its most innovative sons and one who will forever be remembered for his deep and passionate love of horse racing.
“Thank you, Christopher Joseph Armond, for your contribution.
I extend sympathies on behalf of the JRC family to Chris’s wife Allison, his son Jordan, brother Wayne, and his many family members and friends,” chairman Metcalfe said.
Executive chairman of SVREL said in his tribute: “I have many fond memories of working with Chris from the early days and was always impressed by his vast knowledge. I found myself extremely fortunate to have a chance to know him and to share those beautiful memories with him. He has done so much for Caymanas Park and the horseracing industry in general. He will be greatly missed. Also, I want to express my deepest sympathy to his family. My prayers and thoughts are with them in this challenging time.”