The regulatory body for local horse racing, the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) has decided to offer some level of assistance for members of the occupational groups at Caymanas Park to help cushion the financial impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. In a release on Thursday, the Jamaica Racing Commission said it will be waiving 100 percent of its licensing and registration fees for all new and renewing applicants of the occupational groups.
It said this decision was arrived at after careful consultation with the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC, trainers, assistant trainers, jockeys, jockeys agents, exercise riders, stable assistants, grooms and farriers. The horsemen had written to the JRC seeking assistance.
The JRC says the full waiver of the licensing and registration fees will only be applicable to all those who have regularized their applications for the period May 1 to August 31 of this year. It's understood that the horsemen have been given the month of April as a grace period, given that racing is currently suspended.
However, the JRC added that the insurance portion must be paid by the respective individual member. The total licensing, registration and insurance fee for a trainer currently amounts to $50,200 with the licensing and registration totalling $4,000. President of the United Racehorse Trainers Association (URTA) Ryan Darby wanted a greater level of assistance for his members. There are presently 150 licensed trainers operating at Caymanas Park.
President of the Jockeys Guild Shane Ellis said the assistance will offer a small degree of help, but noted that jockeys who do not earn much will still find it challenging to pay the remainder of the fee. The 110 licensed jockeys are required to pay a total of $39,600 for licensing, registration and insurance with $3,600 going towards licensing and registration.
Approximately 300 of the 560 grooms are licensed with their total fee being $18,600. The JRC waiver will see them being required to pay $2,000. The JRC is also hoping to offer additional assistance to two groups in the short term.
In the meantime, the JRC is encouraging all unlicensed participants to take advantage of the opportunity to regularize their operations.