Mon | Dec 6, 2021

Increased purse will have to wait

SVREL acknowledges concerns but highlights challenges in meeting demands

Published:Sunday | March 14, 2021 | 12:39 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Sharpe
Sharpe
PAPITO ridden by Dick Cardenas wins the fourth race at Caymanas Park, on Saturday, December 5, 2020.
PAPITO ridden by Dick Cardenas wins the fourth race at Caymanas Park, on Saturday, December 5, 2020.
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With local horse racing stakeholders lobbying for a purse increase, chairman of Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) Solomon Sharpe, has offered assurances that his organisation is aware of the calls and is doing all it can to...

With local horse racing stakeholders lobbying for a purse increase, chairman of Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) Solomon Sharpe, has offered assurances that his organisation is aware of the calls and is doing all it can to address the concerns.

Having received their last purse increase in 2017, president of Jamaica’s Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA), Howard Hamilton, said costs associated with maintaining their horses have gone up significantly since then, noting that the owners are desperately in need of an adjustment.

“The cost in thoroughbred racing has gone up significantly and the last adjustment in purse increase that we got was in 2017. They have made some adjustments in the purse for the top races but only the top trainers win those races,” Hamilton told The Sunday Gleaner.

“We have had an increase in the grooms’ wages, we have had to pay more for feed, the veterinarian fee has gone up and the blacksmith fee has also gone up, and so we have asked them (SVREL) to give us an adjustment,” he said. “We understand and appreciate that there is also some pressure, in that they are not making enough money but we can’t continue to participate in an industry if we are not making enough money.”

However, Sharpe said his association understands the stakeholders’ challenges but noted that the harsh economic climate associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for the company to grant a purse increase at this time.

He further stated that SVREL has recently raised the purses of a number of championship races and that discussions regarding an overall purse increase are ongoing.

STRATEGIC PLAN

“In keeping with its strategic plan, Caymanas Park has raised purses on a variety of races such as the lead up and Triple Crown purses,” said Sharpe. “We will continue to manage the business within the context of the wider economy, and discussions regarding any changes to operational costs are ongoing.”

He noted that the management team at Caymanas Park continues to focus on keeping operations going and providing employment opportunities for those that depend on the park.

“As the only sporting concern that has been fortunate enough to be allowed to open during the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the only horse racing establishments in the Caribbean to be allowed to open, the management team at Caymanas Park continues to focus on keeping operations going and providing employment for the thousands of persons that are dependent on the operations of the park,” added Sharpe.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com