Horse Racing

A grand send-off for Robert Darby Sr

Observer staff reporter

Friday, March 16, 2018

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Family , friends and colleagues turned out in their numbers on Monday last (March 12) to give a solemn and moving send-off to late breeder, owner, trainer and fond associate Robert Darby Sr at a service of thanksgiving held at the Independence City Church of Christ on Hellshire Drive, Independence City, St Catherine.

Darby Sr died on February 26 and was laid to rest at the Dovecot Memorial Park in the same parish.

Denzil Miller, racing secretary at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) — the local promoter of horse racing — in his tribute said that Darby Sr was a friend to all; a true mentor and a true lover of horses who made an invaluable contribution to thoroughbred racing in Jamaica.

“Robert [Darby Sr] became known as the 'Claiming King' and, for some of us, he was simply called the 'Genius', as he was able to purchase horses through the claiming system and by using his special gift, he was able to set a trend of improving thoroughbreds to become winners of multiple races.

“'Sir D', as Robert [Darby Sr] was also affectionately known, was a very active member of both the United Racehorse Trainer's Association of Jamaica (URTAJ) and the Jamaica Trainer Association (JTA) and our programmes committee. He also became president of the URTAJ. He will be missed by all of us,” Miller said.

Darby Sr rose from being a racehorse lover and owner to become one of the most successful and gifted trainers at Caymanas Park. Darby Sr became only the 10th trainer in the history of horse racing in Jamaica to saddle 600 or more winners. That milestone was achieved on Saturday, September 30, 2017, when the veteran won the seventh race with Ballon d'Or.

Darby Sr ended his career with 603 winners on the list of All Time Leading Trainers up to January 31st, 2018, with stakes earnings of $130,570,835.00. Darby Sr's first winner was Wind Storm in 1991 and his last win came on January 27, 2018 with Also Correct.

Robert Darby Jr, in delivering the remembrance for his father which evoked laughter at times, said that his dad was not only a loving family person, but was also a very jovial man.

“This is a sad moment, but by my tears are tears of joy. In remembering my father, I can tell you, everyone who ever met him knows that he was a jovial person.

“My father was a very loving man. When we were children he was always ready to support us and he would take us out on trips as well. I can always remember every Easter we would go down to Ocho Rios as a family together. As much as he was busy, he always found that special time in Easter to spend that weekend with us,” Darby Jr said.

Ashley Darby, Darby Sr's granddaughter, said that her grandfather was a man of intelligence.

“He was very confident, never had doubts about his capabilities, and that was just one of his many qualities and it is one I wish to take from him. He never seemed moved by anything that happened in life. There was always a calmness about him that I admired, and whenever there was a bad situation he never became pessimistic.

“He always found some way to keep everything together and solve the issue, and I guess that is why they called him the magician. He had an intelligence that I always admired — the way he spoke, he was very sure of himself and he always had a vocabulary,” Ashley said.

Also showing their respect to Darby Sr were fellow trainers as well as jockeys, grooms and apprentice riders at Caymanas Park.

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