Sport

Bigger, better Diamond Mile

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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The Diamond Mile Race Day, the region's most lucrative and exciting horse racing event, promises to be a bigger and better showpiece this year come December 2 at Caymanas Park, according to the organisers.

This promise was shared during the launch of the event at the Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) Automotive Limited Showroom on Oxford Road in St Andrew last Thursday.

The feature race on the day will be the third staging of the Diamond Mile, sponsored by the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) and Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL). The Grade One event for three-year-olds and upward carries a purse of US$115,000 (over JA$14 million).

The remaining races on the programme will have purses of $1 million and over, which makes the race day the richest in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The total purse package for the Diamond Mile Race Day is just under $30 million, of which $20 million will be provided by the BGLC, according to the organisation's executive director, Vitus Evans.

“It is the vision and desire to see the renewal of Jamaica's horse racing industry that is the motivation behind the BGLC's staging of the Diamond Mile Race Day.

“The first and second years of the event have proven its value by achieving a number of records. In 2015, Caymanas Park recorded the largest nomination of horses for a single race day, with 190 horses participating in 14 races, generating sales of over $66 million.

“An increase in the participation of horses and audience size in 2016 belied the slight dip in sales that year. We are optimistic, based on current trends in race day sales at Caymanas Park, that the 2017 Diamond Mile will be yet another record breaker,” he said.

Ann-Dawn Young Sang, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of SVL, in giving her company's commitment to the race day, said that SVL's contribution to the sponsorship of the Diamond Mile is $5 million.

“The Supreme Ventures Group is proud to be the white diamond sponsor for the third year, for the most prestigious racing event on the calendar in Jamaica, if not the region – the Diamond Mile. Our heart has been in this project since it was first staged in 2015.

“However, this year we are even more vested, given the fact that the event will now be staged at Caymanas Park, the home of our wholly owned subsidiary – Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited.

“We want to see horse racing return to its former glory. To do that, we need more prestigious events like the Diamond Mile to bring out a wider cross section of patrons, engage more sponsors, and make the track one that all stakeholders can be proud of,” Young Sang said.

Samuel McKenzie, ATL Automotive Group Operations Manager, said that it was an easy decision for his company to be a part of the 2017 Diamond Mile Race Day.

“When we got the invitation to partner with Diamond Mile, based on the success of last year, it was not a problem to be on board.

“It [Diamond Mile] was a lifestyle event, it was fun, it was food, it was laughter and importantly, it was also business. ATL, which is a lifestyle product, decided that the Diamond Mile was the best brand to partner with, and so this year it was a no-brainer for us,” said McKenzie.

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