Win Dem Wheelz Grooms' Appreciation Day set for April 23
WIN DEM WHEELZ, in association with Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), will pay homage to racehorse grooms at Caymanas Park on Saturday, April 23, with the Grooms' Association Day race meet comprising 11 races.
Details for Grooms' Association Day were outlined by Andrew Azar, managing director of Win Dem Wheelz, as well as Cedric Stewart, chief executive officer of CTL and racing secretary Denzil Miller Jr at yesterday's launch in the Trainers' Room at Caymanas Park.
To begin with, five veteran grooms will be honoured on the afternoon in recognition of their long and dedicated contribution to racing for 50 years.
They are Headley Scott, popularly called 'Scott Brady', who groomed the second horse (Cardigan) to win on the opening day of Caymanas Park on August 22, 1959, and was a top groom with the legendary trainer Aston Commock back then; as well as Lenford Walker, Everald White, Fitzroy Tulloch and Roy Hamilton.
The card will also feature the running of the Win Dem Wheelz Trophy over a mile for $180,000 claimers, this offering a total purse of $550,000 inclusive of $50,000 from the sponsor; the Grooms' Association Trophy claiming $250,000 - $210,000, with a purse of $530,000; and, above all, the grade one renewal of the Legal Light Trophy over 1820 metres, with a purse o $1.2 million.
According to Azar, grooms are "very special people to our industry and the unsung heroes who dedicate their lives to the daily care of the magnificent thoroughbred. On this special occasion, it is only fitting to mention the names of the five grooms who will be honoured".
Azar further stated that the first five grooms in each of the 11 races on the card would receive valuable product prizes and ultimately, the names of all grooms, who have horses on the programme will be placed in a raffle, and at the end of the meet, a lucky groom would receive a Ramco 250 Tiger motorcycle valued at $300,000, courtesy of Win Dem Wheelz.
Azar was hailed by Trainers' Association president Vin Edwards, United Trainers' Association president Dale Murphy, and Grooms' Asso-
ciation president Fabian White for his generosity, social conscience, and unwavering support for racing, not only in his
capacity as an outgoing deputy chairman of CTL, but through the support of his company.
Vin Edwards said over a decade ago, he made representations for grooms to be included in the Hall of Fame, and although this was resisted initially, his persistent efforts paved the way for Vincent Blackwood to be the first groom to be so honoured some years ago.
Edwards contends that divestment has never been successful in Jamaica, and he is sceptical that the pending divestment of racing will be beneficial to all stakeholders in racing. And finally, Edwards called for an investigation into the $750 million spent in the construction of the Jamaica Racing Commission /Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission building at 78C Hagley Park Road, which has become dysfunctional for the most part.