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Transportation for inter-islands horse races a challenge-Lesmore Smith

- Says St. Croix does not need Tortola and St. Thomas for horse racing
President of the Virgin Islands’ Horse Owner’s Association, Lesmore Smith told ‘Sports Talk’ that when St. Thomas does not attend races on Tortola some may see it as a boycott, however, the cost of transporting their horses to Tortola are most often the real issue. Photo: VINO/File
President of the Virgin Islands’ Horse Owner’s Association, Lesmore Smith. Photo: VINO/File
President of the Virgin Islands’ Horse Owner’s Association, Lesmore Smith. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The President of the Virgin Islands’ Horse Owner’s Association, Lesmore Smith, told local talk show 'Sports Talk' that transportation via barge for horses to get from one island to another has become another challenge to inter-islands horse racing.

Mr. Smith, who is in his final two months of his one year term as President, was at the time calling into the sports show which was aired on Saturday November 3, 2012 on a local radio station.  The show ‘Sports Talk’ was at the time hosted by Paul ‘on the ball’ Hewlett, with co-host David ‘Cannon’ Fahie and Nelson ‘Joe Jack’ Hull.

Mr. Smith said the cost to ship horses via barge from St. Thomas  to Tortola is around  thirty three hundred dollars ($3300.00) so it’s cheaper for St. Thomas to go to St. Croix to participate in races there than to come to Tortola.

The President and owner of Top Priority Stables told the sports talk show that when St. Thomas does not attend races on Tortola some may see it as a boycott, however, the cost of transporting their horses to Tortola are most often the real issue.

St. Croix can do without both islands

Meanwhile, Mr Smith also told the listening audience that St. Croix has over one hundred (100) horses and does not need either St. Thomas or Tortola to have races.   He said it is vital for Tortola to cooperate more with St. Thomas so both islands can help each other in terms of encouraging more races.

Mr. Smith said its time to sit with his committee and the barge owners to work out better rates so that inter-islands horse races can survive, along with the other issues of lack of horses and the controversial issue of pari-mutuel wagering.

He confirmed that the next races on Tortola at Ellis Thomas Downs is Boxing Day, however, they are still negotiating with St. Thomas on the race card and horses to come over for the races.

President Smith also announced that the 2nd annual Triple Crown races between St. Croix, St. Thomas and Tortola will start in January of 2013. 

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