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After 18mths, Horse Races return to Tortola on Boxing Day 2018

- Last race day was at Ellis Thomas Downs on June 17, 2017
After some 18 months without, Horse Races is finally returning to the Virgin Islands (VI) on Boxing Day, 2018. Photo: VINO/File
With the tracks at Ellis Thomas Downs somewhat cleaned, the surface is ready for the horses. However, it still remains unclear when the government or even the alternative Recovery and Development Board (RDB) will make the restoration of the Ellis Thomas Downs a priority. Photo: Facebook
With the tracks at Ellis Thomas Downs somewhat cleaned, the surface is ready for the horses. However, it still remains unclear when the government or even the alternative Recovery and Development Board (RDB) will make the restoration of the Ellis Thomas Downs a priority. Photo: Facebook
The five races all have a purse of $5000.00 and it is believed that outside of sponsors, Horse Owners President, Mr Smith took money from his pocket to keep the sports alive, just like the previous President, Ms Pasty C. Lake had done. Photo: Provided
The five races all have a purse of $5000.00 and it is believed that outside of sponsors, Horse Owners President, Mr Smith took money from his pocket to keep the sports alive, just like the previous President, Ms Pasty C. Lake had done. Photo: Provided
SEA COWS BAY, Tortola, VI - After some 18 months without, Horse Races is finally returning to Tortola on Boxing Day, 2018.

The last time there were Horse Races on Tortola was on June 17, 2017.  Following that, the ‘August Tuesday’ 2017 races were cancelled due to flooding that affected Ellis Thomas Downs.

Soon after, came the killer storms Irma and Maria of September 2017 that destroyed all stables, flattened the bleachers, killed some of the racehorses and undermined the running surface at the track.

According to Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL)—in answers to questions in the House of Assembly (HoA)—with no money left, the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government did not have enough financing to fix the race track.

Due to that, there was no Boxing Day races in 2017, Easter Races in 2018 or the traditional ‘August Tuesday’ races in 2018. This was despite some promises by the new Horse Owners President, Lesmore Smith about having 'August Tuesday' return this year.

Races back after 18 months

However, the races are scheduled to be back after some eighteen months, this Wednesday, December 26, 2018, at Ellis Thomas Downs, Sea Cows Bay on the main island of Tortola.

According to President of the BVI Horse Owners Association, there will be five races and he confirmed that the St. Thomas horses, some eleven of them, “Will be on Tortola for the return of Horse Races.”

While there are no bleachers for fans to sit in, many residents, persons from the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and visitors are expected to turn out in numbers just to be part of what many consider the return of a great cultural event.

Who will fix the race track?

With Ellis Thomas Downs somewhat cleaned, the surface is ready for the horses to run.

However, it still remains unclear when the government or even the alternative Recovery and Development Board (RDB) will make the restoration of Ellis Thomas Downs a priority.

There is expected to be some fifteen horses making their debut, and post time is 2:00 PM.  

The five races all have a purse of $5000.00 and it is believed that outside of sponsors, Horse Owners President, Mr Smith took money from his pocket to keep the sports alive, just like the previous President, Ms Pasty C. Lake had done.

10 Responses to “After 18mths, Horse Races return to Tortola on Boxing Day 2018 ”

  • ... (23/12/2018, 17:07) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    somebody went shopping
  • ... (23/12/2018, 17:32) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    at least somewhere to go from dead tola
  • one eye (23/12/2018, 20:29) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
    Lesmore and his 1 man show
  • Ssmh (24/12/2018, 06:57) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    Well tha money from Ms Lake pocket kill the sport even before the hurricane so dont see what a small fry like Lesmore can accomplish.
  • SMH (24/12/2018, 07:26) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why can't the Horse Racing Community come together and fix the Venue. Have Fun Raising events from time to time. (Fish Fry, Walkathons, Donations, etc.) Contractors could donate materials or their time. We have to start looking out for ourselves instead of relying on Government or any other mediocre funding. It's going to take time, but we must start from somewhere.
  • SMHH (24/12/2018, 09:30) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Them wait for the actual day of Horse Race to "RAISE FUNDS" ???? REALLY ! they could of do Fundraising a long time . An organization like this should have money aside to deal with things, this isn't the first horse race money should be somewhere but aside ...
  • Windy (24/12/2018, 12:54) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The track is in better shape than the roads.
  • SMH (26/12/2018, 15:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Any horse owners who abandoned their horses after the storm to starve should be banned from purchasing new and racing again.
  • Smah!! (26/12/2018, 17:31) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The horses were left to be killed in those stables...locked and left for dead...then the survivors led to starve....the country children don’t even have schools to learn in, the roads are atrocious and GOVENRMENT should fix the track???? Stop the cruelty to these beautiful Animals!!!! Drug yourself but leave the animals out of it!


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