The BVI Horse Owners Association is moving full speed ahead to get the Ellis Thomas Downs ready for the August Tuesday races, which are roughly three weeks away.
Association President Lesmore Smith told BVI News some 20 new stables are being built and the project is nearly complete.
The project started almost a week ago and is expected to become complete today, July 13.
Prior to hurricanes Irma and Maria last year, there were a total of 40 stables primarily for local horses and another 14 for foreign competitors. However, none of those stables withstood the category-five winds of the aforementioned hurricanes.
According to Smith, the reconstruction project came to fruition with the help of volunteers, a donation of building materials, and a pledge of $6,000 from members of the public.
While the facility is government-owned, the association is the body spearheading the repairs. Smith said a Go Fund Me account is also to be set up to enable persons to donate via that platform.
“The end goal is to make the track even better than it was before over a period of time,” he said.
The grandstand, which was also destroyed during the 2017 hurricanes will soon receive attention. Smith said a major heavy equipment company has volunteered to clear the stand’s damaged metallic frames as well as other pieces of metal discarded at the Sea Cow’s Bay-based facility.
That project is slated for this weekend, which will then be followed by a major clean-up.
This year will also mark the association’s 20th-anniversary and fans can expect a packed programme on August Tuesday, Smith said.
He said Tuesday’s event will include a minimum of three horse races, musical entertainment, and a generally fun-filled day. He said there are a limited number of races because the available horses are not fit to compete as a result of no training for almost a year.
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