Local trainers will have extra motivation when they saddle up for the 97th running of the Boom/Jamaica Derby on June 24 at Caymanas Park. A purse of $7 million was already set aside prior to the start of the press launch at Caymanas Park on Tuesday. However, during the briefing, Wysinco chairman William Mahfood, revealed that an agreement had been reached to increase the purse by a million dollars to $8 million. “In an earlier conversation with Supreme Ventures CEO, Paul Hoo, I said ‘let us increase the excitement a little more …’ I have a lot of friends in the racing community, and in conversations with them I told them, I would like to increase or suggest to Supreme Ventures an increase in the purse for the main race. “Wysinco agreed to increase their sponsorship by half million and Supreme Ventures decided to match it, so an extra million dollars will be put in the pool,” he explained. Brando Hayden, COO, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), hailed the move as great news for everyone. “It’s a great surprise for everyone, but great for the sport. The purse is fuelled by contributions from the punters, so again this (increase) will lift the sport and speaks to our commitment,” he commented. Trainers Wayne DaCosta, Anthony Nunes and Dwight Chen were all encouraged by the increase. MONEY RUNS SPORT “Purse money makes the sport run and if we are going to get investors and people in the ownership aspect of racing, we need to put more money into it, and SVREL has done a good job of getting Boom to come on board and we are very appreciative of it,” Nunes stated. Chen was very happy. “It is always a motivation because horse racing needs sponsors and we are glad Boom has come on board … . So I am elated, it makes me feel like when I was a child coming here with my parents,” he said. Although the prize money is a big incentive, just winning the derby is enough motivation for master trainer DaCosta. “You always want to win a derby. This year, we have the privilege of having Boom on board and they have helped to increase the purse from seven to $8 million, that is a good incentive for owners and trainers to get the job done,” he said. The derby will showcase Jamaica’s best three-year-olds over a distant of 2400 metres. The top contenders for this year’s race are SHE’S A MANEATER, FEARLESS SAMURAI, MARKET FORCE, SOTOMAYOR, MARLENE MY LOVE and HENRY THE SECOND.