BVI News

Getting set to race | Work underway at Ellis Thomas Downs

Horse stables being reconstructed at the Ellis Thomas Downs.

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.

Grand Stand

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.

President of the BVI Horse Owners Association, Lesmore Smith.

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  1. Reality says:

    so relieved to see we have our priorities right!

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    • SMH says:

      First of all the Government in not financially supporting this initiative. The Horse Owners Associations and volunteers are working hard through their labour and fundraising to get this done. If persons wish to use their personal monies towards this project, then why are you concerned about their priorities. This is one of our oldest and most cultural events, please be encouraging or just remain quiet.

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    • Good says:

      Its good to see an association take full responsibility for their issues. Nowhere said govt is involved. The horse racing committee priority should be what? Roads and agriculture? We are so in a rush to play politics that we end up looking stupid!

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  2. LoveMyBVI says:

    Excellent job Mr Smith. You love our BVI and always giving back to the community and doing positive things that one and all can be blessed. I pray God’s. continued Blessing on you and your family… You!!
    May your cup always overflow.

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  3. poorhorses says:

    Where was the BVI horse owners association after the storm when the horses were just left to suffer and starve?

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  4. bubun says:

    Only now?? strupes . waste of money and time and have other important things to do .

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  5. Please says:

    The egos in this country is really something else. We dont even have schools before we just have one good parade we are doing foolishness.

    There even isn’t anywhere down there to sit. This country needs some serious leadership the Government has failed.

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  6. Sam the man says:

    Stupid waste of money ! Horse racing in a tropical climate is wicked and cruel but since when did we care about animal welfare?

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    • Sam the Man-Liker says:

      Are you capable of saying anything that means to positivity? An inexhaustible supply of negativity. Sheeeeeesh!

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  7. Bvi says:

    Instead of finding reasons to complain we should all find ways to contribute to rebuilding this country. We need to move on from Irma. Anything we can do to have visitors return is a must.

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  8. Love for my Country says:

    Too much negativity! Damned if you do and damned if you don’t! Instead of complaining and criticizing others for doing something positive, others should try to assist the rebuilding of the country by offering their services. If people like a sport and wish to use their own personal resources to build it back, then kudos to them. It is not the Government’s money.

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  9. Windy says:

    And our children are going to be in tents for school. So tird world

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    • ok........ says:

      if children are goin to school under tents you should speak with the Minister of Education and find out whats the delay (its almost a year now)……….Meanwhile back in the USVI, they are full speed ahead with their horse track…….

  10. Fowl foot says:

    its a start let all the haters shusssss

  11. Expat says:

    Sam is 100% right no amount of financial benefit to our economy justifies racing horses in a tropical climate – sheer cruelty and for those that encourage and support it their moral compass is broken. I agree also with those that say we should be repairing schools firstrather than promoting gambling and betting- I thought Tortola was a bible promoting country ?

    • God first? says:

      I suspect God left the BVI long ago when the politicians and pastors put greed,power and money foremost and questionable morals! too busy falling out with each other and fighting over grasping power for their own personal gain….

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