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UPDATE: Horse races called off; Funday planned- Lesmore Smith

The September 18, 2022, horse races are definitely off, says President of the VI Horse Owners Association Mr Lesmore Smith. Photo: VINO/File
Despite the recent ban on the use of Ellis Thomas Downs by the Thomas family, there still exists the possibility that the horse races rescheduled to Sunday, September 18, 2022, could be run off at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay. Photo: VINO/File
Despite the recent ban on the use of Ellis Thomas Downs by the Thomas family, there still exists the possibility that the horse races rescheduled to Sunday, September 18, 2022, could be run off at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay. Photo: VINO/File
Horse racing fans have been told to keep in mind that horse racing is likely for Sunday, September 18, 2022. Photo: VINO/File
Horse racing fans have been told to keep in mind that horse racing is likely for Sunday, September 18, 2022. Photo: VINO/File
SEA COWS BAY, Tortola, VI- The September 18, 2022, horse races are definitely off, says President of the VI Horse Owners Association Mr Lesmore Smith.

Mr Smith said he had tried to get permission for the use of the track from the person who is the legal authority for the Thomas family; however, since the Thomas family and Government were at a stalemate, permission could not be granted for use of the land under contention.

“I was hoping that since the horses were already here from St Thomas and we went through the process of asking the local vets to get the quarantine extended and that was given to us. So, I was asking can we, since the horses are still here, just a few days to go, she said unfortunately she cannot help us,” Smith said.

Fundraising funday

He explained that having informed all the stakeholders, a decision was taken to hold an event on Sunday September 18, 2022, to raise funds to cover some of the expenses of the horse owners, especially for feed.

“We are looking to have a nice funday to raise funds, not on the track but on the area where the stadium is, as that section is owned by the government. The VI Horse Owners Association is going to have the bar. We are going to have other people with the food concession, but we are going to have the bar. That’s the way we are going to make a few dollars to help the owners of the horses to at least get some feed for the horses because they depend on the purses to help maintain their horses and with no races they are losing big time.”

Mr Smith explained that among the entertainment will be a bikini competition and a large water sport section, inclusive of large slides.

“I am reliably told that Monday will be a holiday so we don’t have to worry about going to work the next day so persons can come out in their numbers and let's have a grand time,” Mr Smith said on September 13, 2022.

He also said that he has since had a conversation with the Rotary Club of Tortola to go ahead with the drawing of their Grand Raffle of $20,000 at the event.

Meanwhile, Virgin Islands News Online will be providing an exclusive article today, giving the Thomas family’s side of the story.

See previous article published September 13, 2022

The possibility of horse races this weekend ‘still exists’- Lesmore Smith

Despite the recent ban on the use of Ellis Thomas Downs by the Thomas family, there still exists the possibility that the horse races rescheduled to Sunday, September 18, 2022, could be run off at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay.

This is according to the President of the VI Horse Owners Association, Mr Lesmore Smith.

“Based on my last information received the possibility still exists that it can happen. I am in dialogue with persons around the negotiating table and I was advised not to rule it out as yet,” Mr Smith told Virgin Islands News Online on September 12, 2022.

The Government of the Virgin Islands had advised the public via a press release on September 8, 2022, that “effective immediately and until further notice the portion of land at the Ellis Thomas Downs which is owned by Thomas family may not be utilised in any way by the Government, its agents and/or assigns. This includes the Horseowners’ Association, and any person connected thereto.”

The ban also meant that the horse races rescheduled for September 18, 2022, would have been in jeopardy.

‘The possibility still exists’- Lesmore Smith

The races were initially carded for September 4, 2022, but was postponed due to inclement weather.

“The possibility still exists, so I am asking our fans and the general public to still keep it in mind as races may still be on Sunday, God spare life. There are five races planned and we want them to come out and support us,” Mr Smith emphasised.

Mr Smith explained that the rescheduling of date was based on the weather, not on the negotiation that is now being held. “That came in after the fact, so we still hold that date.”

The VI Horse Owners Association President also noted that the four horses that came over for the races that were eventually postponed are still on Tortola.

14 Responses to “UPDATE: Horse races called off; Funday planned- Lesmore Smith”

  • Xxx (13/09/2022, 10:54) Like (6) Dislike (10) Reply
    They need to back off the Thomas fam
  • Why Not? (13/09/2022, 12:34) Like (20) Dislike (2) Reply
    acquire the land by Compulsory Acquisition. As per the procedures outlined in the Land Acquisition Ordinance, Cap 222, Laws of the Virgin Islands, Government was guided by the provisions outlined in Sec 3.
  • Tropical Disturbance (13/09/2022, 13:01) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    Somebody please tell Lesmore Smith to check the weather out first before making any final race day decission. There is another Tropical Disturbance heading our way this weekend and this time its one behind the other. See what happened the last time.
  • reality (13/09/2022, 15:00) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    NO IT DOESN'T!.. Just wstched the weather channel and from Thursday evening itll be raining cats and dogs til MONDAY!.. Horserace never stood a chance in September.
  • ..... (13/09/2022, 17:54) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Monday a holiday hold it den let people go church
    • no no no (14/09/2022, 10:13) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
      I dont think the government will accept that. The holiday was given for the Queen funeral not a fun day.
  • WOW (14/09/2022, 08:31) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just shows how far out of touch the organizers are.. with impending flooding this dude talking about funday ????????????????????????
  • Irvin (14/09/2022, 09:16) Like (5) Dislike (11) Reply
    Time to setup a Para mutual with the horse owners, Thomas and Forbes family to manage the race track. Make it a IBC and allow individuals to invest in the company. Take this opportunity to cleanup the track and repair the remaining structures. PS put back the statue of Mr. Ellis Thomas and the horse.
    • @ Irvin. Bad idea. (17/09/2022, 05:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      How you going to put money lovers, haters of people to manage. Stop it..
  • FEO GOMEZ (14/09/2022, 09:59) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
    I'm glad it got cancelled the nerve of some idiot people come threatening the family over the use of their land. You could give you all all the coke money but you can't buy civility. Most you guys got money and can't even read idiot.
  • bvi (14/09/2022, 10:29) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    To hell with horse race we need schools water roads fixed.
  • NezRez (14/09/2022, 13:05) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    I'm waiting to hear the Thomas's side of the story.


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