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Metcalfe: Diamond Mile day will be bigger and better

Published:Friday | November 11, 2016 | 12:00 AMOrville Clarke
Clovis Metcalfe

The second running of the rich Diamond Mile on Saturday, December 10, promises to be bigger and better than before.

This was the view of Clovis Metcalfe, chairman of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) at the media launch at the ATL Automotive Limited Showroom, Oxford Road, New Kingston on Tuesday night.

"For the second consecutive year, the BG&LC offers the richest purse in the English-speaking Caribbean, at the historic Caymanas Park," said Metcalfe.

"Horseracing enthusiasts and guests can expect another thrilling line up of thoroughbreds, which will be announced in the coming weeks. This year's race card will feature a similar number of races as last year, including three special trophy races the Diamond Mile, the BGLC Stakes and the Supreme Ventures Sprint.

"The purse package will also be similar to what was offered in 2015, which was an overall purse of just under $30 million, of which $20 million was provided by the BGLC.

'With a similar purse distribution this season, winnings for the Diamond Mile race will be in the region of US$115,000 and the basic purse of all other races will be Ja$1 million or more based on the going exchange rate.

"Last year we were very deliberate about ensuring that we offer a very attractive purse structure, but we never imagined that the pay-off would have been so significant. From a record breaking 225 entries, of which 190 participated, to a whopping $66.5 million in sales for local races and another $9.1 million for simulcast races on that day alone," Metcalfe added.

He said with the above results, the BGLC is even more committed to supporting the resurgence of horseracing in Jamaica.

CLOSING THE DEAL

Special guest at the launch was finance minister Audley Shaw, who said the Diamond Mile should take on added significance this year with divestment about to become a reality.

"We are at the point of closing the deal with Supreme Ventures ... . This will ensure an expanded product, the development of facilities and more jobs created," he asserted.

Also speaking were CTL's racing secretary Denzil Miller Jr, Matthew Cripps, group general manager ATL Automotive Limited and the chairman of Supreme Ventures Limited Paul Hoo.

Hoo disclosed that since 2004 his company has pumped $120 million into racing sponsorship at Caymanas Park, including $5 million to the purse of this year's Diamond Mile.

Top contenders are last year's winner SEEKING MY DREAM and BUZZ NIGHTMARE.