No decision!


No decision!

Racing Commission says it has not yet approved request for changes of distances for the Classic Jamaica Oaks, Governor's Cup


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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THE Government's regulatory arm for horse racing, the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), yesterday said that a decision has not yet been taken on whether requested changes made by the promoting company regarding the distances of the Classic Jamaica Oaks and the popular Governor's Cup for native-bred three-year-olds.

It was just last week at a press conference held at Caymanas Park that promoting company, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), through its Racing Secretary Denzil Miller, announced that for 2021 and beyond, the distances of both the fillies-only Jamaica Oaks and the Governor's Cup, which is usually a major preparation race for the Classics, would be reduced from the traditional trip of 10 furlongs to 8 1/2 furlongs. These changes, the SVREL manager said, would attract “more horses and improve the competitiveness of both of these races”.

“The JRC noticed in the public media the announcement made by officials of SVREL that in 2021 changes would be made to the distances of the Jamaica Oaks, which is a Classic race, and also the popular Governor's Cup.

“I would like to place on record that following receipt of the formal request letter for the changes of distances from SVREL dated January 14, 2021, which was received by us at the JRC on January 18, 2021, we have not met to discuss the matter, hence no decision on any changes of distances have been taken as yet,” Chairman Metcalfe told this publication.

When asked if this was not a simple matter to deal with Metcalfe said: “There is a process, and many variables have to be taken into consideration before a decision in such a matter of changing the distances of well-established and long-standing races such as a Classic race and another major event like the Governor's Cup, known as the Poor Man's Derby, can be made.”

The Supreme Racing Guide then asked Metcalfe to list some of the variables the commission will have to consider before a decision is taken to approve or not approve.

The JRC chairman responded as such:

1) The JRC has to ensure that the major shareholders in our local horse racing industry have a voice in the proposed changes of distances — in this instance mainly the trainers, breeders and the owners of racehorses.

2) There are international racing protocols that Jamaica is obliged to follow, as a signatory to these agreements. One of these protocols calls on us to provide the International Jockey Club with notice, usually one year, of all changes, including distances, to all our Black Type or Classic races.

3) The JRC considers Classic races to be special and as such, we have to make sure, based on communication with all the various parties concerned, that these races do not suffer on the altar of expediency.

4) A balance has to exist between sprint and Classic/ Black Type distances. The industry, and especially breeders and owners, have to be encouraged to aim our horses to be competitive at international race meets, for example, the Caribbean Classic.

Metcalfe then emphasised that it was certainly not the wish or desire of the commission to stifle or disrupt changes to the racing landscape, but it is…“our duty as the regulatory body to ensure that these changes are in the best interests of all those concerned within the horse racing industry”.

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