THE tourism sector is hitting up a lot of positives on the golf course, with tournaments geared towards some of the leading players in the travel industry.The latest instalment took place towards the back-end of last week, with the 21st renewal of the Baxter’s Golf Tournament, also referred to as the Canadian Travel Industry Golf Tournament, at Sandals Golf and Country Club in Upton District, St Ann.For Miguel Arthurs, the club’s general manager, the long-established endeavour is aptly described thus, “win-win”.”We get the opportunity to sell Jamaica, golf and the Sandals product,” he explains. “The travel industry professionals get to experience Jamaica, particularly as it relates to golf. When the travel pros come it enhances the tourism product, the tourism golf product and after the experience they can go back and offer it to other packages.”Kevin Percy, Jacques Gilbert, Bob Wakeford and Daniel Murray were the leading competitors in the two-day tournament, while Joe Grind DeMarinis, Enzo DeMarinis and Leo Sgovio headed the other contenders.Traditionally, there are added components to the championship, specialised segments that form part of its fundraising drive.”The tournament not just focused on the travel industry, there’s a charitable segment to it,” Arthurs outlined. “There is the Closest to the Pin, Longest Drive and Putting and Chipping contests and the competitors pay to enter these contests. The proceeds go to the Sandals Foundation.”The Ladies Closest to the Pin was won by Joanne Fillion, while Joe Grind DeMarinis took the men’s Closest to the Pin contest.Danny Murray won the men’s Longest Drive, while Sherry Scott took the women’s equivalent. Enzo de Marinis won the Putting and Chipping contest.”Those prose proceeds go directly into our junior golf program. It’s the only way to secure the program and continue the development of the youth,” Arthurs stated of the Sandals Golf and Country Club youth program.Wesley Brown, now a pro on the United States circuit and Romaine Evans, the current Caribbean amateur champion, were products of the system funded with proceeds from the yearly Travel Golf Tournaments.
The Supreme Ventures 2-Y-O Triple Crown Series will kick-start an exciting last quarter of racing at Caymanas Park this Saturday with the first of the three races, the $2.95-million Cash Pot ‘Only One For Me’ Trophy over 1200 metres taking the spotlight. Details for the $11.4-million series, which marks its 12th staging, were outlined by representatives of SVL and Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) at yesterday’s launch at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston. Denzil Miller Jr, CTL’s racing secretary, expects a field of 12 to face the starter, among them the unbeaten stable companions SHE’S A MAN EATER and ARMAGEDDON from the stables of 15-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta; MONEY MAGNET, VERY CLASSIC, AWESOME SAUCE and a third DaCosta runner, MR UNIVERSE. Paul Hoo, chairman of SVL, the company that will soon take over Caymanas Park – following approval of their divestment bid by government – said the series will continue on Saturday, November 26 with the $3.6 million Pick-3 Challenge Trophy over 1400 metres, culminating on Boxing Day, December 27, with the SVL Jamaica 2-Y-O Stakes over a mile, with a purse of $4 million. Any 2-y-o good enough to win all three races will receive a million-dollar bonus by SVL. Hoo added: “This year the 2-y-o series happens while other exciting things are taking place on the racing landscape, chief among them, for us, our pending new role with Caymanas Track. The work continues in earnest to finalise that negotiation and the final takeover date,” he informed. “It is our intention to continue in the future our investment in the series, as it reinforces our commitment to horse racing in Jamaica. It is our plan to revitalise racing for the benefit of all stakeholders through new marketing and markets, thereby increasing much needed revenues.” He was quick to add that SVL wanted to do something a little different this year, presenting special awards to the top trainer (Wayne DaCosta with 11 wins, including Fatty Bum Bum, Perfect Neighbour, Future King) over the past 11 years; Ruth Hussey (top owner), Shane Ellis (top jockey with five wins, including Miss Ruth, All Correct)) and Byron Murray of Princess Popstar fame (top groom) with all three wins by the outstanding filly when she swept the series in 2013. Also speaking were Simone Clarke-Cooper, SVL’s assistant vice-president, corporate communications, who highlighted a range of promotional activities on the day, and CTL’s managing director, Shane Dalling, who hailed the contribution of SVL as the foremost sponsor in local racing, with five major races, including the Lotto Classic (Governor’s Cup) and the ultra-rich Diamond Mile to be run in December. OUTSTANDING FILLY