As I had no pictures of Eugene I had to try and build a picture of him based on whatever information I could find in the Gleaner. Not long after I began searching for information about him I came across a letter of his to the editor of the Gleaner in which he mentioned that he had written a history of horse-racing in Jamaica. This intrigued me and I set about trying to find the book, without success. It then occurred to me that perhaps he had deposited a copy of the book in the National Library of Jamaica, and sure enough he had. I emailed their reference section, told them I was a relative of Eugene’s and asked if it were possible to get a copy of his book. The reference librarian I dealt with very kindly offered to photocopy it for me, for a modest cost, and there it was … a book written by my cousin, Eugene!
Eugene’s reminiscences about horse-racing in Jamaica covered the years 1874 to 1934, and described the early racing days at the Kingston Race Course and then the move to the racecourse at Knutsford Park in St. Andrew.
The earliest vital information I could find on him was his marriage on March 26, 1899, to Catherine Rebecca James. At the time he gave his address as Bog Walk, St. Catherine and his occupation as clerk. He and Catherine were married by Father Patrick F. X. Mulry at St. George’s College. They had no children and according to Eugene’s brief obituary in 1951 his wife had predeceased him. I have not been able to find a record of her death.
I found a story in the Gleaner of May 31, 1911, which stated that the City Council had granted Eugene an application for use of the site on the Kingston Race Course to hold a race meeting on two Coronation holidays, June 22nd and 23rd. There were several other stories concerning Eugene and horse-racing in general, as well as numerous letters written by him to the editor of the newspaper about the state of horse-racing in Jamaica. He was somewhat of a combative nature as he was involved in at least two lawsuits, both of which he won.
The closest I got to a picture of the man is this clipping from the Gleaner of June 22, 1939:
A brief story in the Gleaner of December 28, 1945 described Eugene’s visit to Trinidad. Here it is:
“The pari-mutuel turn-over in Trinidad in a single day is better than we in Jamaica can do in a single year.”
He went on to say that Trinidad had the power behind it to become one of the best racing centres in the world. “’On the first day of the meeting”, said Mr. Da Costa, ‘the promoters made a net profit of 60,000 dollars’”.
Eugene died July 3, 1951. Here is his obituary from the Gleaner of July 5th: