Christopher Joseph Armond, popularly known as “Mr Horse Racing”, died on Wednesday morning after a short illness. He was 67.
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather Altamont and his father Joseph, Armond spent his entire working career in the horse racing industry in Jamaica, Barbados and T&T.
Armond, the legendary commentator and administrator, who for more than four decades made a significant impact to horse racing in the Caribbean, died after a brief illness.
He had two stints as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Arima Race Club (ARC). His first stint was in 1999 and ended in 2001. He moved to Barbados to serve as the CEO of the Barbados Turf Club for eight years. He later returned to Jamaica before serving another stint in T&T (2012-14). From 1975-1985, Armond’s impact came in the form of commentary. Even today, his commentary of the 1984 Jamaica Derby when Thornbird, under the stick of Emilio Rodriguez, surprised a field made for a mile and a half, is still talked about.
Armond’s name has been resonating across the length and breadth of Caribbean racing countries for over 40 years. He graduated from commentary to racing administration during which time his unique innovation style was seen to great effect. He rose to the top in Jamaica and took up senior roles in T&T and Barbados.
On December 27, 2020, Armond retired from his position of Director of Racing with the promoting company, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Ltd. It was also the day when the “Chris Armond Sprint Trophy” was run in his honour at Caymanas Park in Jamaica.
Champion trainer John O’Brien, on his late friend, said: “Chris was a good friend of mine. He will be sorely missed his knowledge is remarkable. Chris always had great ideas and he implemented so many wonderful things in racing over the years that his work will not be forgotten. Chris was instrumental in having Adoring Groom and My Friend Rich go to Jamaica for the Jamaican Superstakes. He ensured our Trinidad Horses came to Jamaica and compete and this continued the inter-island rivalry. Christopher Armond is an Icon in West Indian Racing. His contributions will not go unnoticed. May he rest in peace.”
The gently increasing pace of his delivery was spot on, not to mention his devotion to explaining the position of every horse along the way, while still coming back to the pulsating climax of four horses—Thornbird, Falcon Quest, Time Limit, and My Apology—making all the running.
For his work as a commentator, because he was also integral as a horse racing administrator, Armond received the Press Association of Jamaica’s Golden Microphone Award in 1984.
On his retirement as Director of Racing at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Ltd, he said: “While I commentated I liked it, travelling around the Caribbean and working at the various racing offices in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Barbados.”
Armond was also inducted into the Jamaica Racing Commission’s Hall of Fame in 2017 and in 1993 was the recipient of the Caymanas Track Limited’s Chairman’s Award.
He leaves to mourn wife Alyson, son Jordan and grandchildren Tia and Tyler.