May 5, 2005 — Horse racing enthusiasts have a new state-of-the-art facility to view and bet on Saturday's Kentucky Derby. On Wednesday the Winner's Circle simulcast facility, located at the Randall N. "Doc" James Racetrack, was opened for business. The smoke-free facility has automatic betting machines and 16 television screens which can show up to 20 races at a time from tracks all over the United States. Besides watching the Derby, the facility will be open seven days a week from12:30 p.m. to midnight.
Dennis Brow, general manger of TRAXCO, called the new simulcast facility a "first-class approach to developing the sport of horse racing." TRAXCO Inc. is a subsidiary of Treasure Bay V.I. Corp., the company that manages the Divi Carina Bay Casino.
Brow said the current simulcast area is temporary. Brow said Wednesday TRAXCO is awaiting the final permits to allow for construction of a 6,000 square foot entertainment facility which will have areas for simulcasts, a restaurant and sports bar.
Barbara Shattels, a TRAXCO, Inc. board member and Divi Carina general manager, said the existing 4,000 seat facility is underutilized and could be available to host music festivals and other community events.
The larger proposed facility can also be used to host graduations, flower shows and other community events, she said. Shattles is encouraging the community to call the facility and schedule their event.
Devin Carrington, a member of the Casino Control Commission, who was on hand for the opening, said Divi is raising the level of horseracing on St. Croix. "They are making the sport of horseracing classier," he said. Carrington said upgrading the race track facility will ease the fears of people who have a negative attitude toward horse racing or think gaming is for "hooligans."
For those who always wanted to place a bet on the races but don't know how, you can attend a betting class, according to Brow. "We will teach the whole betting process to anyone who wants to learn," Brow said. The classes will begin on Friday, May 20 and continue every other Friday. Classes will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Brow is looking for individuals or companies who have ideas on entertainment for kids. He said the racetrack is over 60 acres and there is room for separate youth entertainment facilities. "We are thinking about water parks, mini car racing tracks," Brow said "We are exploring these things."
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