Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The Superstakes has found its way back to Red Stripe, the original sponsors from its inception in 1978.
The race, to be run over 2000 metres on Saturday, November 9, at Caymanas Park, will now be known as the Tallawah Beer Superstakes for native and imported three-year-olds and up, with a purse of $4.5 million, inclusive of $1 million from Tallawah.
Plans for 'Super Day 35' were outlined by representatives of Red Stripe, brewers of Tallawah lager beer, and Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), at yesterday's launch at Jo Jo's Jerk Spot, 16 Waterloo Road.
"We're happy to be associated with the race once again as over the years this has been one of the most prestigious races on the calendar and attracts the best horses in Jamaica," said Erin Mitchell, brand manager, Red Stripe and Tallawah.
"The history of the race has been graced by outstanding winners such as Legal Light, who won the inaugural running in 1978, The Viceroy, Mark My Word, Miracle Man and Menudo who won it four years in a row," she added. "We expect the tradition to continue."
Red Stripe, through its Tallawah brand, will sponsor four major races on the programme.
In addition to the 35th running of the Superstakes, the others are the 26th running of the Tallawah Beer Caribbean Sprint over 1200 metres (purse $1,750,000) for native-bred three-year-olds and up in which two-time Horse of the Year SAINT CECELIA will be gunning to win the race for a fourth-consecutive year; the 21st running of the Tallawah Imported Mile, with a purse of $1.25 million for which the American 4-y-o colt BLAST THEM AWAY is a hot ante-post favourite; and the seventh running of the Caymanas Juvenile Sprint over 1300m for native-bred two-year-olds with a purse of $1 million, for a total purse package of $12.7 million on the day.
Cedric Stewart, chief executive officer of CTL, recalled that the Superstakes was the brainchild of the late Jack Ashenheim in collaboration with his friend Paul Geddes, chairman of Desnoes & Geddes Limited, and became a reality in 1978 when the legendary LEGAL LIGHT, owned by Ashenheim, won the inaugural running with Winston 'Fanna' Griffiths aboard.
"The Superstakes has come full circle, from a modest purse money of $32,000 in 1978. The trailblazing sponsors from 214 Spanish Town Road are once again ready to stake their claim to this multi-million dollar blue riband event that has written and rewritten the history of horseracing in Jamaica," he noted.
"We especially welcome home and thank the team from Red Stripe to Caymanas Park and thank other generous sponsors who have over the years carried aloft the burning torch of the Superstakes. But the time has come for the heirs of the early pioneers to reclaim their heritage," he added.
Also present at the launch were Brian Pengelley, sales director Red Stripe; Andrew Azar, deputy chairman of CTL, and its marketing manager, David Hobson, who was MC.