History of Jamaica Racing Commission

From as early as the 1800's the Jockey Club, a private members' club had responsibility for organizing and controlling horse racing in Jamaica. The rules of racing were formulated by the Jockey Club and race meetings were supervised by Stewards of the Club. Government's involvement came in 1965 with the legalization of bookmaking on horseracing under the Betting, Gamming & Lotteries Act. In that Law (Part III Sec. 16) provision was made for monies received from the levy on bookmaking to be applied to any or all of the following as prescribed by the Minister of Finance.

a) the improvement of breeds of horses;
b) the advancement or encouragement of veterinary science or veterinary education
c) the improvement of horse racing
d) the improvement of athletic games and sports

With the growth and expansion of racing came the need for stricter controls, for rule governing complaints by aggrieved persons against other industry personnel as well as appeals against decisions made by Stewards of the Jockey Club. These concerns were brought to the attention of the Minister of Finance in 1970, who contracted a team of Canadian experts on horse racing to investigate the concerns and make recommendations to the Government on how a growing industry could be structured to ensure integrity and confidence in the system.

Among the recommendations made by the expert group was the establishment of a strong Racing Commission to govern, direct, control and regulate horse racing in Jamaica. The Hon. Edward Seaga in the latter part of 1971 announced that he had appointed Sir John Mordecai to be the Chairman designate of the Racing Commission. The following persons were, along with Sir John, named as a preparatory committee of 5 members appointed for the purpose by the Minister of Finance between the Act coming into operation on the 4th February 1972 and the Commissions' formal institution in December 1972. During that period the committee, apart from its preparatory work, functioned as the Commission.

Members were:

- Sir John Mordecai - (Chairman)
- Hon. P.W. Beckwith (Financial Secretary)
- Mr. Gordon Langdon (Former Commissioner of Police)
- Mr. Cecil Langford (Retired Commissioner of Lands)
- Mr. F.A. Durity (Legal Draftsman, Ministry of Legal Affairs)

The 1972 Act effectively transferred racing from control by the jockey Club, a private members club to a statutory regulatory body.

Name 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Unpl
1. MR. ANTHONY THOMAS 75 51 58 49 32 20 54
2. MR. DICK CARDENAS 54 61 39 28 35 33 78
3. MR. SHANE ELLIS 45 46 35 31 19 17 37
4. MR. OMAR WALKER 36 40 33 22 15 15 53
5. MR. ONIEL SCOTT 44 33 25 23 33 17 73
6. MR. AARON CHATRIE 21 33 26 25 27 27 60
7. MR. LINTON STEADMAN 30 23 25 23 21 14 54
8. MR. DANE DAWKINS 21 19 38 35 40 24 96
9. MR. ROBERT HALLEDEEN 19 22 12 16 8 8 37
10. MR. GARY RICHARDS 16 21 20 23 21 28 60

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