Sun | Mar 24, 2019

Major changes to Diamond Mile qualification

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2019 | 12:28 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
From left: Major Hugh Blake, chief executive officer, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL); Clovis Metcalfe, chairman of the Betting; Gaming and Lotteries Commission; Director of Racing at SVREL Christopher Armond and Solomon Sharpe, chairman of SVREL, show off the Diamond Mile trophy at the official launch of this year’s race. The launch was held at Caymanas Park yesterday.

In an effort to make the Diamond Mile race more balanced and competitive, Supreme Venture Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) has made a number of adjustments to the conditions of the race for 2019.

At yesterday’s launch of the event at Caymanas Park, Chris Armond, director of racing at SVREL, said the purpose was to ensure that the race is run by horses who are more suited to running long distances, instead of sprinters.

“This year, we have made changes to the qualification to the Diamond Mile. For horses in the grade-one and stakes categories their earnings will be calculated on races six furlongs or more. No longer will five straight (1000 metres straight), five round (1000m round) or five-and-a-half-furlong (1100m) races be part of their qualification,” he said.

“In the open and overnight allowances, the distance is seven furlongs (1400m) or over, so a five straight, five round, five and a half, six (1200m) and six and a half furlongs (1300m), the earnings derived from races in those categories will not allow you to qualify for the Diamond Mile. The whole idea is to have a level field of horses running over one mile, instead of horses who are basically sprinters but who earn enough money (in sprint races) and keep out horses who are better suited for a mile race,” he explained.

The winners of the Jamaica Derby, the Superstakes, the Caribbean Sprint Championship, the Caymanas Invitational Mile and the Gold Cup will receive automatic qualification for the Diamond Mile, and Armond expects a more competitive field of horses.

“Before (the changes), the winner of any race, over any distance in those three categories, would qualify, but we believe the changes will give us a better-quality field of horses, and hence the reason why the changes were made. So once they earn the stakes in the categories over six and seven [furlongs] they will get in [the race],” he said.

The Diamond Mile, the race with the largest purse (approximately J$15 million) in the English-speaking Caribbean, will be run in November this year. This is a month earlier than usual.

In explaining this yesterday, Clovis Metcalfe, chairman of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission, said: “Diamond Mile 2019 will be held on Saturday, November 9. This is a month earlier in order to enable horses from the Caribbean to be able to participate at the Caribbean Classic in Florida in December.”