Promoting company reduces distance of Oaks, Governor's Cup from 10 furlongs to 8 1/2, new dates for classic races

Observer staff reporter

Friday, January 22, 2021

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This year's racing calendar has undergone another set of changes by the promoting company, and yet there still might be more to come.

There are now 86 race days, but these race days still do not include long-standing offerings such as the Superstakes (10-furlongs), the Caribbean Sprint Championship (six-furlongs) and the much-vaunted and loved Gold Cup (seven furlongs).

The changes to the racing calendar and other shifts were announced at a press conference held at Caymanas Park yesterday by the promoting company Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL).

The first significant alteration to the 2021 racing calendar is the new dates for the Triple Crown Series of races.

The Jamaica 1000 (fillies only) and the 2000 Guineas for colts and geldings competed for over one mile (1,600m), which were scheduled for the weekend of July 3 and July 4, will be run on the weekend of June 5 and June 6, respectively.

The 10 furlongs (2,000m) Jamaica St Leger, which had a running date of August 7, is scheduled for July 3 and the prestigious Jamaica Derby (12 furlongs - 2,400m) has changed date from September 4 to August 6, Independence Day.

The traditional preparation races, dubbed 'The Road to the Triple Crown' also have changed dates.

The Hotline Stakes (fillies only) and Sir Howard Stakes (colts and geldings) run at 6 furlongs (1,200m) have moved down from April 10 and April 11 to March 13 and March 14, respectively.

The seven-furlong (1,400m) Thornbird Stakes (fillies), which was set for May 8, now has a new date of April 3, while the Prince Consort Stakes (colts and geldings), also at seven furlongs, has been changed from May 8 to April 5.

The Jamaica Oaks, for fillies only, gets the three-year-old Classic season underway on May 1, moved from its original date of June 5 and the Governor's Cup, not a Classic race but considered to be a major three-year-old preparation event for the Classic which was not contested last year according to SVREL because of the pandemic, was listed to be run on June 6 but has now been scheduled for May 8.

Traditionally, both the Jamaica Oaks and Governor's Cup are contested over 10 furlongs (2,000m), but that distance for both races, in what is a shocking development, has been reduced to 8 furlongs (1,700m).

Based on the fact that two other significant 10-furlongs races, the Prime Minsiter's and Governor General Stakes are not listed on the calendar, the only 10-furlong race of major merit on the roster at this time is the St Leger.

Speaking on the distance changes for the Oaks and the Governor's Cup, Denzil Miller, racing secretary at SVREL, said: “We believe that the change from 10-furlongs to 8 furlongs affecting both the Oaks and the Governor's Cup will make these races accessible to more horses and improve the competitive nature of both events.”

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