Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Move to make Diamond Mile more competitive

Published:Wednesday | April 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Christopher Armond (centre), director of racing, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment, in discussion with Michael Bernard (right), executive chairman of Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment and Vitus Evans (left), executive director of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission, at the Diamond Mile press launch yesterday.

In an effort to bring more of an international flavour to the prestigious Diamond Mile, the richest race on the local calendar, and to make the race more competitive than it has been in the past, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) says there will a number of changes for the fourth staging on December 1.

According to director of racing at SVREL, Chris Armond, 10 of 16 positions will be reserved for horses domiciled in Jamaica since January 1, 2018.

Automatic first preference will go to the winner of the 2017 running of the race providing the horse has raced in a minimum of two grade one races and finished at least third in at least one race. Also getting first preference are the winners of the Jamaica Derby, Superstakes, Caribbean Sprint and the Caymanas Invitational Mile. Meanwhile two spots each will be allotted to Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados and two for horses imported directly to Jamaica from any other recognised racing jurisdiction less than two months prior to December 1.

All other horses will be selected on the year-to-date earnings (January 1 to November 30). However, earnings in restricted stakes, restricted allowances I, II, III, IV and/or V, maiden and claiming races will not be considered.

Armond said the hope is that adjustments to weight stipulations will make the race much closer than it has been on the previous three occasions.

"We think that if a horse gets into the race based on earnings and he has more grade one wins in the year, he should carry more weight than a horse that has one or has never won and that is what we will be trying this year to see if we can get the race more competitive than it has been for the previous three years," he said at the launch of the event at the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission head office on Hagley Park Road yesterday.

The winner of this year's Diamond Mile will take home $6.6 million with the runner-up getting $2.2 million and third, $1.3 million.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com