Dec. 27, 2004 – The tradition continued at at Randall "Doc" James racetrack on Sunday. The horses were running, the vendors were selling food and souvenirs, politicians were taking credit for making it happen, and about 3,000 people were in the grandstands or milling around. The only thing missing was the betting.
Dennis Brow, general manager of TRAXCO, Inc., the company taking over the operation of the track, said it was no surprise to anyone that there was no betting. He said the betting machines are being shipped and they are expected to be in place for races at the end of January. Brow said TRAXCO officials were meeting Tuesday to determine whether those races will be held Jan. 23 or Jan. 30.
At that time not only will bets be taken for the local races but for races from 20 other racetracks whose races will be simulcast on St. Croix. Fifteen of those tracks will be thoroughbred racing, three will be harness racing and two will be dog racing.
The simulcast won't be at the racetrack for at least six months. Brow said Monday that TRAXCO was in the process of constructing a 2,000 – square-foot building at the racetrack to house the simulcasts and a sports bar. When the building is finished simulcast will be at the track 365 days a year. Until that time simulcasts will be shown at the Divi Casino. The parent company of Divi Casino also owns TRAXCO.
Brow said an agreement TRAXCO has with the Casino Control Commission will allow those broadcasts from Divi but they can't be there for more than a year. The main hub for simulcast betting must be a racetrack.
After the January races, Brow said the track will be closed for two months. He said drainage problems in the stable area need immediate attention and also electrical setups need to be inspected. He said in recent years there have been electrical problems in the stable areas and some independent work was done. He said, "It's a mess."
Even with the two months closure, TRAXCO expects to get 16 races in this year.
Brow said the company has big plans for the future. He said the company hopes to establish a Triple Crown on the island. He said Hovensa and the Lottery Commission have both indicated potential support for such an endeavor.
TRAXCO officials also hope to have stake races attracting participants from St. Thomas and Tortola. He said this could be a boost to the St. Croix economy. He said, "When island people have a favorite horse, they will follow that horse."
The Sunday race was run by the Horseowner's Association. TRAXCO supplied the base purse of $23,000.
Brow said, "The day was a success, very festive."
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.