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Iconic Ellis Thomas Downs sits dilapidated & overgrown

Iconic Ellis Thomas Downs sits dilapidated & overgrown

Once the hub of comradery and a rich culture of horse races in the Virgin Islands (VI), the Iconic Elis Thomas Downs on Tortola now sits dilapidated & overgrown with vegetation.

A visit to the Sea Cows Bay facility has revealed an overgrown running surface now home to small livestock where grass and shrubs has reclaimed the grounds that was once the focal point of some of the greatest horse races over the years.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on social gatherings have reduced the demand for the sport, the facility has been in disrepair since after the 2017 hurricanes.

The statue, a symbol of the name change from Little A Race Track to Ellis Thomas Downs; which was damaged after the hurricanes of 2017 has still not been restored.

A visit to the Sea Cows Bay facility has revealed broken statues and an overgrown racetrack now home to small livestock where grass has reclaimed the grounds that was once the focal point of some of the greatest horse races over the years.


Hon Julian Fraser lone voice on state of facility


During the 11th Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on Monday, August 16, 2021, Opposition Member Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) queried from Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) about his plans for Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay.

“Mr Speaker, while there are no arguments that horse racing is our number one national pastime, we also know that the Ellis Thomas Downs was decimated by Hurricane Irma and gained no government attention since.” Hon Fraser said.

Hon Fraser had asked of the Premier, “As Minister responsible for development can the Hon Premier and Minister for Finance, please tell this honorable House (a) if it is in his plans to rebuild the grandstands at Ellis Thomas Downs; (b) if the answer is yes, when and if the answer is no, why not.”

During the 11th Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on Monday, August 16, 2021, Opposition Member Hon Julian Fraser RA  queried from Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie  about his plans for Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay.


Premier commits to repairing faciltiy


Premier Fahie said that while he agrees that that horse racing in the VI is a national pastime and that Ellis Thomas Downs was decimated in the 2017 Hurricanes of Irma and Maria, he said the government was currently in evaluation on how best to complete the repairs.

During the 2022 Budget presentation on November 11, 2021, Premier Fahie had committed funds to repairing sport facilities and resuming popular sporting events in 2022.

Efforts to reach the Executive Director of the Recreational Trust, Mr Eustance C. Freeman aka 'Boss' proved futile. While some repairs were made to the hurricane-damaged grandstand of the racing facility, is also still in need of roof repairs, as well as overall maintenance.

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