Horse-racing purse issue settled…for now
Trainer Ian Parsard (left) getting his hands sanitised before entering one of therestricted areas at Caymanas Park. (Photo: Observer file)

Their request for a $70-million purse increase went out the window, but Ian Parsard believes all's well that ends well, as negotiations between promoting company Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) and horsemen concluded for now, yesterday.

Parsard's remarks came shortly after the horsemen decided to accept SVREL's revised proposed one-time incentive offer of $18 million, after which the horsemen went ahead and nominated horses for this weekend's racecards.

Parsard, who was assigned by the respective associations — owners, trainers, grooms and jockeys — to represent stakeholders in the negotiations, says the proposed offer is a far cry from what they wanted. But, guided by mediator Keith Duncan, who is the president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and a long-time racehorse owner, the horsemen agreed to settle the stalemate in good faith.

“The $70 million was a request for the year, and more importantly for us, to have a commitment where we move to a situation where we have purses linked to sales or some kind of performance measure, with the two things to go hand in hand,” Parsard explained.

“What has come back now is not what we wanted, but being guided by our mediator and the vast reach of our industry and all the stakeholders involved, having considered all the factors, we are moving forward in good faith and so we expect to have full support for entries going forward,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

SVREL, in a letter dated yesterday under the signature of General Manager Lorna Gooden, reaffirmed its commitment to working towards a satisfying solution for the benefit of the entire horse-racing industry and, as such, proposed the one-time incentive as follows:

1 – An incentive of $50,000 will be added to every race, except futurity races and races on the road to triple crown, which were already enhanced in 2021.

2 – The total value of incentive equates to $18 million.

3 – The incentive will be payable to race placements first-sixth place. This will be effective February 1, 2022 and extend to June 30, 2022.

4 – A proposed committee, consisting of reps from SVREL and the stakeholders, to craft and agree a formula linking purses to movements in revenue and costs as per the MOU (memorandum of understanding) signed May 11, 2020.

5- The MOU implementation will be effected July 1, 2022.

“We once again look forward to our continued mutually beneficial discussions as we work towards the growth and development of horse racing,” the letter ended.

Parsard pointed out that the goal of the negotiations was to have an outcome that would be beneficial to not only owners and trainers, but for all horsemen, including jockeys and grooms.

It is with this in mind that he welcomed as a major positive having a committee of representatives from both sides to avoid being at loggerheads around future purse negotiations.

“That [committee arrangement] is vital because we keep having this recurring cycle where whenever the pressure builds up we find ourselves at loggerheads,” Parsard noted.

“But again, Supreme Ventures wants the business to grow, we; the horsemen are going to be integral to that growth and once the business grows, we should automatically be able to participate by increasing purses as the industry grows,” he added.

BY SHERDON COWAN Observer staff reporter cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

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