The ‘Diamond Mile’, the richest race in the history of horseracing in the English-speaking Caribbean, was completed at Caymanas Park last Saturday. The day saw 14 races being completed with record attendance, a record handle (money bet on the races), great dividends, and exciting finishes. Sponsors were there in their numbers; no money was spared in the preparation of the in-field for special guests; and a good time should have been had by all. Wrong. Whereas all the above is in fact true, the regulators had to have their now mandatory stab at “spoiling the party”. In the 10th race of the day, the betting favourite was horse number two, Silver Cloud. After being loaded into the starting gate, the horse squatted/fell in the gate, throwing the jockey head over heels (a poop-a-lick) backwards on to the surface. Luckily, the jockey was not hurt and quickly picked himself up and did some checks to make sure that he was all right. absolute shock To the absolute shock of racing fans, the horse was not removed from the gate for inspection by the veterinarian on duty at the gate. Our shock turned into dismay as the horse staggered out of the gate and trailed the field home, obviously feeling some effect of the fall. In every other racing jurisdiction where the safety of the participants (horse and rider) is the priority of paid individuals, that horse would have been examined out of the starting gate BEFORE the horse was allowed to start! But this is racing in Jamaica. who cares? If the horse is seriously injured and falls during the race, injuring the rider and possibly any of the other participants, oops, who won? Can this sport be allowed to continue like this? Apparently, YES. No one cares. No one is accountable. The day was an economic and sponsors success. So what? Divestment IS the only answer. However, with a somnolent Divestment Committee “waiting on Godot”, nothing even close to an announcement will come until a few days before the election, which has now been pushed back to “one day soon”. HELP! privileged positions The much-anticipated and longed-for meeting of the West Indies Cricket Board and the CARICOM subcommittee on cricket was held last Friday. After a three-hour meeting, the recommended dissolution of the board was not discussed as the reports out of the meeting suggest that the board has no intention of giving up its privileged positions. They have agreed to meet again on December 13, and, hopefully, the anxious West Indian fans will hear something from Mr Pybus and ‘President Dave’ about the recent revelation from reinstated coach Phil Simmons. Simmons had mentioned, before a failed attempt to silence him, that there was outside interference in the selection of the West Indies team. Fans of West Indies cricket (the “few” of us left) know that the only hope for the resurrection of cricket in the region rests solely on the removal of a group of men described by one of their own (Baldath Mahabir) as “unprofessional, tardy, or lax in many instances”. As our ancestors have taught us, “If fish come from river bottom and say that shark down there, believe him”. Administrators of sports worldwide will not give up their privileged position no matter what. FIFA continues trying to run football as the majority of that body’s executive is arrested on numerous charges. Sports can be saved. We the people have to insist on transparency and integrity of those who “volunteer” to run sports. We have to!
It could aptly be described as Wayne DaCosta Day at Caymanas Park yesterday, with the 15-time champion trainer becoming the winningest trainer in Jamaica at 1,951, surpassing 14-time champion Philip Feanny and posting ‘Horse of the Year’ SEEKING MY DREAM to win the grade one feature over 1820 metres for the Legal Light Trophy.Having equalled Feanny’s record with DYSFUNCTIONAL the previous Saturday, it was always on the cards that DaCosta would become sole owner of the record with as many as seven runners on the programme.driving finishThis was achieved by the howling 2-5 favourite, SUPER COP who made all under four-time champion Omar Walker to win in a driving finish from 13-1 outsider HONEY DARLIN, who, significantly is trained by Feanny, the man whose record he was surpassing.”This is a very happy moment for me, a moment worth waiting for,” said the 60-year-old trainer. “The race is now on to see whether I can break the 2,000 barrier this year.”Later in the afternoon, DaCosta and Walker teamed up to win the Legal Light Trophy with Derrick Smith’s SEEKING MY DREAM, who equalled the stakes record time of 1:55.2 set by the outstanding MIRACLE MAN in April 2006.Installed a 4-5 favourite, the classy 4-y-o colt won by five lengths from the American filly LONG RUNNING TRAIN.SIMPLY MAGIC CUPMeanwhile, three recent winners will come face to face in the inaugural running of the Simply Magic Cup over 1,820 metres today, this in honour of the classy 3-y-o filly who emerged the first of her sex to win the Triple Crown at Caymanas Park in 2002.Eight native bred three-year-olds (non-winners of two) have been declared and, after careful examination of their chances, I believe it will come down to a straight fight between the lightly raced pair of DR. TRAIN and MY WAY, both contrasting winners last time out.True to his name, the Harry Parsard-trained DR. TRAIN finished like a runaway train to win in a blanket finish over 1,300 metres on his third outing on March 28 and, if anything, will be seen to better advantage over this longer distance, especially with the stretch running jockey Aaron Chatrie aboard.While respecting the chances of DR. TRAIN, however, preference is for MY WAY, who impressed in a fast-time win over the straight on April 13 when having his second outing. Four-time champion jockey Omar Walker again has the ride from the convenient mark of 52.5kg.The chestnut gelding from the stable of 15-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta went gate to wire in winning by 41/2 lengths recently and, having impressed at exercise since, galloping 5 1/2 furlong in a brisk 1:07.2 by 1:01.0, should steal a march on rivals leaving the half mile and stave off the fast-finishing DR. TRAIN.Others such as MR. DOITBETTA and THE PROMISE LAND, both winners over two turns in recent months, should run well enough to complete the superfecta.Other firm fancies on the nine-race programme are WINESHA, to resume winning ways in the first race over the straight, BONGO KING in the third, SIR BIGGS in the fifth, and UNCLE CHUBBY in the ninth and final.