Horse Racing

DERRICK SMITH: Diamond Mile changes good but more could be done

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter

Friday, September 08, 2017

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Derrick Smith, owner of Seeking My Dream , the only horse thus far to win the Diamond Mile, strongly believes that sufficient thought was not given by the organisers of the race when they sat down to make the recent changes to the event.

Two changes were earlier announced to the conditions of the ultra-rich Diamond Mile scheduled to be run at Caymanas Park on December 2. The race carries a purse of US$115,000.

The first change to the Diamond Mile sees horses participating being selected based on their year-to-date earnings across all the racing levels from January to December; horses will now be selected based on their earnings at designated racing levels. These levels are: Graded Stakes, Open Allowance, Overnight Allowance and three-year-old Graded Stakes races. All other earnings will not be considered, including stakes earned in claiming races.

The other change to the event is that imported horses, who live in Jamaica for more than a year will now be given a 2.0 kgs (five lb) allowance. The 2.0 kg allowance will be applied based on the performances of the foreigners. The original condition of imported horses carrying 57.0 kgs (126 lb) and local-bred at 55.0 kgs (121 lb) still stands when the foreign bred horses are not in Jamaica for a minimum of a year.

While wholeheartedly supporting the changes made for this year's renewal of the Diamond Mile, which according to Smith should make the event more interesting, he is bemoaning the fact that automatic entry was not given to the winner of the race from the previous year especially considering that automatic entry is already given to the winner of the Derby, the Caribbean Sprint, the Superstakes and the Invitational Mile.

“The promoters have made two very timely changes to the Diamond Mile, which I am sure the racing fraternity will and should welcome.

“Unfortunately, though, enough thought was not given to introducing for this year and beyond the most obvious change of the lot, and that is — the last winner must gain an automatic entry into the race in the following year.

“Speaking personally, my horse [ Seeking My Dream], the two-time winner in class record times, has been struggling to get ready for this year's race mainly because of injuries that he is slowly recovering from. As I speak, I can't even be sure if he will ever make it in time for the race.

“But what I can say is that the trainer [Wayne DaCosta] and his team are pulling out all the stops to ensure that he gets into the race, but it is just touch and go as we speak,” Smith informed.

Smith said that he hopes his charge gets into the race as a third Diamond Mile would be huge for him and one that he would treasure for a long time.

“If the trainer can get Seeking My Dream fit and ready and qualify to be a starter in the Diamond Mile, I think we will have an outstanding chance of victory. and if he is to win, I don't know how I would feel.

“The first victory, I dedicated to my wife, who has been supporting me over the four decades; the second victory, I dedicated to trainer DaCosta and his staff and should I ever win it a third time, that third victory, I would have to take it for myself,” Smith noted.

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