Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
As Caymanas Park continues on its eternal drive to remain viable in these harsh economic times, the management of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) has hailed the return of Red Stripe - after a 20-year break - through its Talawah brand, to local racing.
Talawah will sponsor Superstakes Day on November 9 with $1.5 million going towards the Talawah Superstakes, the Talawah Sprint Championship and the Talawah Imported Mile. Talawah will also spend an additional $500,000 on three other race days to be announced. The sponsorship came as the result of some very hard work, and Cedric Stewart, the CEO of CTL, believes a very important milestone has been achieved.
"It is very important. One of my mandates was to get sponsors, new sponsors, but especially a sponsor like Red Stripe who has been with us, who has been great for Caymanas over the years. They went away and to be able to convince them to come back to racing and for them to make the decision to come back into racing at this time is a tremendous boost for CTL," he said on Monday at the announcement of the new sponsorship deal with Superstakes Day.
"It's just a beginning to rebuild that great bond that existed between Caymanas Park and Red Stripe and we are happy that they have chosen their new brand Talawah Beer to enter back into this relationship."
Stewart revealed that it wasn't easy convincing the sponsors to end their two-decade long hiatus.
"They had some concerns and we had to give them the commitment that we were serious about racing. We believe that racing will be here for a long time and that we as a management team are making the right decisions, taking the right steps to make the sport clean, to bring back integrity and a better image to the park and to the sport, and I guess over the last six months they have looked and they have seen, and have said these guys are serious, so let's give them some support."
Erin Mitchell, brand manager for Red Stripe Beers, explains that her people just wanted to ensure that the partnership would be mutually beneficial. "I think we just always want to make sure that we are promoting our brand responsibly," she said. "Responsible drinking is important to us. Responsible promotion is important to us so we just wanted to make sure that that was what was to happen with this sponsorship."
Both parties believe that the renewed partnership will yield the kind of results that will further enhance the Superstakes brand, Caymanas Track Limited and reap rich rewards for the sponsors.
"It's going to be excellent," says Denzil Miller, racing secretary at CTL. "The value is always there, it (Superstakes Day) still kept its importance and meaning to racing fans not only in Jamaica, but right around the Caribbean, North America and even England. We have had calls from persons who travel at that time of the year who come and it's a part of their itinerary to be at the park for Superstakes Day."