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The earliest organised race meets, or match races, in Jamaica were probably taking place in Spanish Town in the decades after the arrival of the English in 1655.
 



Revels in Jamaica, Richardson Wright, 1937

 

p 12-3

 

Horse racing appears to have been transplanted early by the English settlers. In 1687 the autocratic governor, the Duke of Albemarle, dissolved the Assembly 'because one of the members, John Towers, in a debate repeated the old adage salus populi suprema lex, in protesting against the speaker's refusal to grant him permission to attend a race meeting.' The races were held every March on the savannah to the west of Spanish Town. Breeders along the south shore competed with one another in raising the standard of horses for the track.


The History of Jamaica, Edward Long, 1774.
Book II, Chap. VII
long_on_sp_tn_edited_2.jpg


 
The racecourse on the 1804 map by James Robertson, shown below, does not appear to be located on 'the savannah to the west of the town' mentioned in the earlier text.
 




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