The Boxing Day Horse Races which came to a premature end because of heavy rainfall will continue on January 19, President of the BVI Horse Owners Association Lesmore Smith has said.
Only two of the seven races of the day were held before inclement weather forced officials to postpone the remaining races at the Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay on Thursday.
GOD’S GREATNESS from St Thomas rode away with the first purse of $5,000 in the 6 ½ furlongs for Class D horses.
In the second race of the day, NADIAE’S IMAGE from the BVI’s Top Priority Racing Stables ran to victory to claim the $5,000 prize in the one-mile race for Class C and D horses for mares and fillies.
In the meantime, Smith said the new date January 19 date was considered to facilitate the horse owners and patrons from the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands (USVI).
“Having had discussions with the two horseracing entities – St Thomas (USVI) and Tortola (BVI) – also with the track handlers and the Chief Stewart, it (the postponement) was decided upon for safety.”
He said the jockeys also expressed that “they didn’t feel safe riding on the track with the amount of water and the level of saturation.”
He said the next race day would be planned around Martin Luther King Jr’s holiday which is scheduled for January 20.
“Knowing it would be a US holiday (on January 20), it would allow persons travelling from the US including the horse owners to have a smoother transition and not having to hustling back knowing that they would have to go to work (the next day),” he said.
Rymer will still be honoured
In the meantime, the order of the day that was planned for the Boxing Day caces will continue on the new date, Smith explained.
He said the honouree of the Boxing Day races, William Rymer, will still be honoured on January 19.
“Mr Rymer contributed immensely to the people of this country in keeping the sport alive and is blessed to reach the age of 104. He was a stalwart and a centenarian of the Horse Racing scene years ago,” Smith said.
“Mr Rymer, being honoured today was a gesture that I thought would have been fitting for him. I feel that he was duly deserving of the honour being bestowed to him to be able to come out.”
Rymer lives in Cane Garden Bay and is the grandfather of Minister for Transportation, Works & Utilities, Kye Rymer.
Meanwhile, patrons are asked to keep their wrist bands for the new date to enable them to enter the gate.
“However, if that is not possible, the other alternative would be to arrange to meet the needs of the people for the next planned event. We are hoping to have retribution in terms of the people can have a smoother transition to come in and see the races and don’t have that incurred cost,” the Horse Owners President said.
Smith also mentioned that the first two races that were held would not be repeated.
“We would just continue with the other five races,” he said.
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