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 79 53 61 50 35 27 60
2. MR. DICK CARDENAS 67 67 42 33 36 35 84
3. MR. SHANE ELLIS 48 51 40 37 20 19 42
4. MR. OMAR WALKER 43 50 39 28 18 18 61
5. MR. ONIEL SCOTT 47 37 31 24 34 17 79
6. MR. AARON CHATRIE 23 35 29 33 30 29 65
7. MR. LINTON STEADMAN 34 25 28 26 21 18 55
8. MR. DANE DAWKINS 24 27 39 39 42 26 105
9. MR. ROBERT HALLEDEEN 21 22 12 16 10 9 40
10. MR. GARY RICHARDS 16 21 21 27 24 31 63

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