THE 74th running of the Bigga Jamaica Oaks (GR 1), the third Classic of the season, is set for Caymanas Park on April 27. A tentative field of 15 runners will face the starter in the event restricted to native-bred three-year-old fillies.
The announcement was made by Caymanas Track Limited CEO Cedric Stewart with racing details outlined by secretary of racing Denzil Miller Jnr at a press launch in the Trainers’ Room at Caymanas Park on Thursday.
Francois Chaulifour, director of marketing for the Wisynco Group Limited, also expressed his company’s delight to continue sponsorship of the fillies Jamaica Oaks through the Bigga brand.
“Wisynco has been sponsoring events at Caymanas Park on and off for between 20 and 25 years, and for the past six years involvement has been through the Bigga brand. We also sponsor through the Boom brand and we found it to be a good and profitable way to connect with our consumers who like to come out and enjoy the racing, especially the contest between the younger horses.
“This is an occasion that provides a great deal of fun and entertainment and with the good crop of fillies around at present, this should heighten the competition of this year’s event,” Chaulifour observed.
Extolling the virtues of the Oaks going 2,000 metres as a forerunner to prepare the fillies for the gruelling Jamaica Derby distance of 2,400 metres, Stewart briefly retraced the early beginnings of the Oaks event from the late 1930s.
“The Oaks,” he asserted, “has long been regarded as a major testing ground for the leading three-year-old fillies in Jamaica. It was a race that was initially run at Knutsford Park and which has continued at Caymanas Park since 1959.”
Stewart further pointed out that the prestige event “had its genesis deep in the tradition of colonial days when it was fashioned on its counterpart in Great Britain”.
Today, the Oaks boasts a total purse of $3.3 million that will be run in honour of Hilma Veira, a former general manager of the Jamaica Racing Commission, and an inductee into the Hall-Of-Fame.
Miller said that after the running of the first Classic of the season “it is back to the drawing board for some and high hopes for others”.
The secretary of racing also pointed to the fact that “there is also a very interesting situation on the horizon for racing fans, as strong competition between the nation’s top native-bred three-year-old fillies will unfold as they venture over the longer distance of 2,000 for the first time in the season”.
Miller also reported that the outstanding filly and Triple Crown contender, Selectabook, owned by Elias Haloute, John Goode and Stephen Narinesingh, and trained by Anthony Nunes, continues to train well, following her gutsy victory in the 1,000 Guineas (Gr 1) at odds of 5-1.
Possible entries for the Oaks include Selectabook, Argentina, Perfect Day, Lady Abihijita, Rhea’s A Superstar, Go Go Train, Shamrock, Lady Sharvani, Fierceandfabulous, Zacapa, Official Report, Fantabulous, Princess Sassy, Elusive Dream and Mama Blossom.