Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), operators of Caymanas Park, is in mourning at the passing of industry stalwart Christopher Armond. The iconic former commentator turned administrator died on Wednesday after a short illness at the age of 67.

SVREL Chairman Solomon Sharpe was naturally saddened by the passing of the man whom he considered a dear friend.

 “I have many fond memories of working with Chris from the early days and was always impressed by his vast knowledge,” Sharpe said.

“He has done so much for Caymanas Park and the horseracing industry in general. I offer my condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”  

Armond, who was the Director of Racing at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) enjoyed an illustrious career spanning more than 40 years and was held as the standard for horse race commentary throughout the region.

In 1984, he was awarded the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Golden Microphone Award for his commentary. Armond also commentated in Detroit, Michigan and served as an administrator in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados.

“For many Jamaicans, Armond is the voice of horseracing,” SVREL said in a statement Wednesday.

“From 1975 to 1985, Chris Armond established a new level of excitement and accuracy in race commentary with his distinguished vocal delivery. He provided colourful commentary in his distinctive voice, bringing horseracing into homes across the island.

“Even today, he remains the gold standard of commentating in the industry, not just locally but also for fans overseas.”

In addition to Armond’s iconic commentary, he also served as an administrator in the industry for many years and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Thoroughbred Racing in June 2017 under the category of “Other Racing Personalities”.

It was seemingly natural for Christopher Joseph Armond to have a professional life as part of the racing industry. His father, Joseph, a Hall of Fame inductee, was co-managing director of Caymanas Park Limited, and his grandfather Altamont was the founder of the promoting company, Jamaica Turf Club. Armond carried on this family legacy and served as Director of Racing until his retirement on Sunday, December 27, 2020.

“Armond has left an indelible legacy in the sport of horseracing. His accomplishments are insurmountable and his contribution to the sport will never be diminished,” SVREL’s statement said.

“Our thoughts are with his family and dear friends during this difficult time.”

Noted racing administrator and commentator Chris Armond has died after an extended battle with illness.

Armond, who was 67, was one of regional horse racing’s premier executives and served the sport in various capacities for some 40 years before retiring in 2020.

Armond, who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a racing administrator, first shot to prominence as a commentator in the late 1970s.  Rated as one of the best in the business he was awarded the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Golden Microphone award in 1984.

Armond went on to have a commentary stint in Detroit, Michigan before heading into administration.  During his time as an administrator, Armond served as Director of Racing at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), in his home country Jamaica, Executive Officer of the Arima Race Club in Trinidad, and a chief executive at the Barbados Turf club for eight years.  Armond was celebrated for longstanding service at a ceremony, at Jamaica’s Caymanas Park in December 2020.

Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited today signed a historic agreement establishing themselves, along with Trinidad’s Arima Racetrack, as the first two Caribbean Track and Pool Operators to participate in The Caribbean Pool. 

The Caribbean Pool is a Caribbean inter-island commingling platform that allows for Caribbean Tote operators to bet into each other, thereby creating bigger pools, bigger profits for its member partners, and most importantly, bigger payouts to its punters. 

The Pool will also facilitate greater cooperation and participation between the Caribbean Pool Operators with the aim of growing local racing both regionally and internationally.

 Chairman of SVL Gary Peart outlined what this agreement means for the company. 

“As we have been able to do for many of our other SVL brands, our goal for SVREL in 2022 is to continue our revenue growth through local, regional and international expansion. The Caribbean Pool aligns perfectly with our vision for the company and as such we are happy to participate as lead partner,” he said. 

With the two largest regional racetracks onboard and an expectation that the Barbados Turf Club will sign on as early as January 2022 and the Royal St Lucia Turf Club joining in as soon as they resume racing in 2022, the Caribbean Pool is set to delight Caribbean racing fans. 

Founder of The Caribbean Pool Kimani Robinson of the Kisero Group also reacted to the agreement.

 “Our vision was to create a new and exciting regional simulcast portal that would generate greater returns for the Caribbean track and pool operators as well as their punters,” Robinson added. 

Robinson, who noted that he first discussed the idea with SVL’s Chairman Peart where both men hammered out the constructs of the legal and technical structure required to make the platform a reality, added that regional merging is the future of horse racing in the Caribbean. 

“Regional commingling is the future of Caribbean horse racing. A regionally commingled platform will create greater relevance and awareness for the sport which means greater economic benefits for all. There is no reason why the Caribbean Pool shouldn’t replicate for horse racing what West Indies Cricket did for regional cricket,” he said. 

In terms of awareness, The Caribbean Pool has formed an alliance with the perfect regional media partners, the Caribbean's Home of Champions, SportsMax, who have agreed to become the home of all things Caribbean Pool and Caribbean Horse Racing.  

SportsMax CEO Nicolas Matthews confirmed that “racing fans will be in for a treat as SportsMax beefs up its Caribbean horse racing coverage via the Caribbean Pool. Given our regional strength, especially in the participating Caribbean Pool countries being contemplated and our ambition of providing our audiences with more of what they want, the Caribbean Pool is a perfect fit for us”. 

Along with coverage on their linear channels SportsMax and SportsMax2, SportsMax will include a dedicated channel within the SportsMax App called "SportsMax Racing" that will provide most of the Caribbean Pool’s racing content. 

“Our team has worked side by side with the Kisero Group for months in making the Caribbean Pool a reality,” commented SVREL CEO Lorna Gooden. 

“We are aggressively on a growth path for 2022 and though we have made significant headway in simulcasting our content internationally, we believe that regional growth for us will be faster and more responsive due to existing familiarity,” Gooden added, before expanding further on what the agreement demonstrates. 

“This agreement is a further demonstration of the commitment and drive of the Board and management at Caymanas Park to expand the product offering available to our punters, to promote and establish Caymanas Park as the horseracing mecca of the Caribbean,” she said. 

The Caribbean Pool is set to start in short order and is hoping to get all clearances and approvals granted for a soft launch over the Christmas holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

Veteran jockey Shane Ellis stylishly completed his 21st Classic triumph as the unfancied colt Calculus swept to a commanding upset win in Saturday’s Jamaica St Leger in his first run for trainer Gary Subratie.

The 4-5 favourite Miniature Man was a disappointing sixth as Calculus rebounded from a seventh-place finish in the early June 2000 Guineas to land the Betmakers JA$4.5 Million (US$30,126) St Leger by 6-3/4 lengths. He scored at 7-1 odds and handed Trinidadian owner Chevan Maharaj his second St Leger win at Caymanas Park in three years.

As Ellis surged to his fifth St Leger success and trainer Subratie his second in a row, the 3-2 second favourite Further and Beyond was second and the Fillies Guineas winner She’s a Wonder (9-2) third a further length and a quarter behind.

“Number five is very very sweet,” said Ellis after triumphantly reuniting with Maharaj, whose colt Supreme Soul had given the ex-champion jockey his first Triple Crown victory in 2019.

It was Ellis’s first race aboard Calculus as the colt, bred by Sensational Slam out of the Bernardini mare Trinket, recorded his third win from eight lifetime starts.

Out of the starting gates, the 2000 Guineas champion Miniature Man cruised out of the three-box to lead and went to the mile pole in front, chased by the 93-1 outsider Simba the Lion and last year’s champion two-year-old Further and Beyond.

Ellis made a sharp move forward leaving the six-furlong marker and in a flash had surged from seventh to fourth on the heels of the front running trio.

Calculus and Further and Beyond quickened away from a fading Miniature Man for a duel leaving the half-mile while She’s a Wonder accelerated into a challenging third position coming off the final bend.

Ellis was off the rail as he engaged reigning co-champion jockey Dane Nelson aboard Further and Beyond on his outside while She’s a Wonder darted to the rail for her homestretch challenge.

The battle was brief as Calculus responded to a few left-handed cracks of the whip and pulled clear for the big win that Ellis thinks makes him favourite for the August 6 Jamaica Derby.

“He’ll be the one to beat for sure,” said Ellis, who already has five Derby wins.

Calculus clocked two minutes 08 and 4/5ths of a second for the 10-furlong trip.

“It feels very good, I love my fans because they know when it comes to big races, Shane Ellis is the man,” added the 47-year-old who also won St Leger races aboard Typewriter (2012), Relampago (2014), Marquesas (2018) and Supreme Soul two years ago.

Subratie, who won last year’s St Leger with 31-1 outsider Nipster, only took charge of Calculus – coming from the Anthony Nunes stables -- in recent weeks. The colt arrived at his stables on June 7 when Maharaj purchased him from another T&T owner Shivam Maharaj.

In spite of Calculus’s failure to win from three starts since his Sir Howard Stakes Guineas prep victory in mid-March, Subratie said he anticipated a strong St Leger effort.

“I expected him to run very well because he has beaten those horses, some of them before. He had some issues, it took a couple of weeks to kind of figure it out,” Subratie said, adding that Calculus will be the horse to beat in the Derby. “Most definitely he just showed it.”

Jamaica’s Minister of Sports Olivia Grange and the State Minister Alando Terrelonge, have expressed sadness at the death of veteran racehorse trainer Wayne DaCosta who died today after battling the Covid-19 virus for the past few weeks.

He was admitted to the hospital in intensive care in February.

A major player in Jamaica’s horseracing industry for more than four decades, DaCosta won 18 trainer’s titles at Caymanas Park, the most ever by any trainer in Jamaica.

His death cast a pall over the country’s sporting fraternity including Minister Grange.

"I join with the family, the racehorse industry, and wider national sports family in mourning the passing of trainer, Wayne DaCosta. We had been praying for his full recovery and I had heard through his son, Jason, that Wayne was regaining his strength; so I was shocked to receive this very sad news today,” Jamaica’s Sports Minister said.

“Wayne DaCosta served horseracing with distinction. His contribution has been mammoth and his impact will continue to be felt for a long time.  Wayne DaCosta is simply one of the greatest trainers that Jamaica has produced and he quite rightly won the trainers’ title a record 18 times. If horseracing is indeed the sport of kings, then Wayne wore his crown with distinction.

“I offer deepest condolences to his widow, his children, and other members of the family.  I ask that we keep them in our prayers at this time.”

Terrelonge, the Member of Parliament for the constituency where Caymanas Park is located in St Catherine, was equally moved by the news.

“The King is dead. But long shall his legacy live,” he said.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of stalwart trainer and 18-time champion racehorse trainer, Wayne DaCosta. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the racing community.

“The sport of kings will never be the same without the majestic contribution of this giant of a man. He gifted us the likes of the unforgettable She’s A Man Eater and Stranger Danger who have decorated and electrified horse-racing in Jamaica.

“The track at Caymanas, located in my constituency of East Central St Catherine, is where I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Mr DaCosta. The constituency will be forever in his debt for helping to provide jobs and a livelihood to many residents.”

He continued: “We mourn this tremendous loss to the racing community but are encouraged that his legacy will endure for generations to come. I join with the family, the racehorse industry, and wider national sports family in mourning the passing of trainer, Wayne DaCosta.”

Veteran Jamaican racehorse trainer Wayne DaCosta, who was hospitalized in February, has died.

For an outsider looking in, it would appear top jockey George HoSang was living the dream, in the 1970s, dominating his sport at a young age had afforded him luxuries many at the time dared only dream of.

On the inside looking out, however, Hosang’s battle to hold steady reins during a tumultuous period, not only for Jamaica's top race track Caymanas Park, but the country on a whole, more closely resembled the stuff of vivid nightmares.

Unfortunately, in addition to being handsomely paid for booting home, at times, a seemingly endless caravan of winners, his rewards also included threats at gunpoint, verbal abuse from the stands, and even kidnapping, as part of painstaking efforts to navigate a system rife with corruption.  In the end, it simply proved too much.  This is his story.

 

#Editor’s note

The following podcast contains brief instances of explicit language.  We, however, felt it appropriate to give HoSang the opportunity to air an unfiltered account of the horrific instances of abuse he suffered during the period and found it to be an integral part of his story.

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