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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsPhoto Focus: Horse Racing Returns to Clinton E. Phipps for Carnival 2024

Photo Focus: Horse Racing Returns to Clinton E. Phipps for Carnival 2024

GhostInYou from the British Virgin Islands, making his debut appearance at the 2024 Carnival races, won the Governor's Cup on Friday. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)
Parks, Sports and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White, far right, prepares to drape GhostInYou with a garland after he won the Governor’s Cup race on Friday at the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack on St. Thomas. Hailing from the British Virgin Islands, it was his debut appearance. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

As the last lap of Carnival 2024 approaches, a grand tradition of horse racing brought the crowds out to the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack. Horseracing fans appeared delighted as they stepped through the wrought iron gate and onto a revitalized racing venue.

The greater Virgin Islands (including the BVI) has not seen a live race card for several years, and as he approached his final year as USVI governor, Albert Bryan Jr. vowed there would be races for Carnival on St. Thomas.

Almost a year to the day of its official groundbreaking, there was a brand new grandstand, a refurbished track and facilities, although one official said there is still work to be done.

“Horse racing is back with a bang!” said Sen. Carla Joseph. “It’s a very good establishment. It’s not complete yet but it has the potential to be the gem of racing in the Virgin Islands.”

Crowds at the Clinton Phipps Grandstand (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Hundreds of spectators filled the grandstand to catch the action on the track. Among the featured races was the Delegate’s Cup sponsored by V.I. Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett.

The delegate said she had long been a horse racing fan. In her earlier years she would come to Clinton Phipps and visit the horses in their stable, just to admire them.

Sports, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White said seeing the first races run at the revitalized racetrack left him feeling emotional. “It’s been seven years and a lot of work went into this,” he said. “Look at the crowd here; we put on a great show for the people.”

Calvert White and Gov. Bryan display the trophy for the winner of the Governor’s Cup Race on Friday. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Sen. Angel Bolques looked around and compared the old Clinton Phipps to the new one. The grandstand was once wood and steel, now it’s all aluminum and concrete, he said. It has ADA access for use by the disabled, and there were private air-conditioned viewing suites that were not there before.

Looking around, it seemed as if every seat was filled for the start of the 2024 St. Thomas Carnival Govenor’s Cup race. It was won by GhostInYou, making his debut appearance.

Along with the win came a $40,000 cash prize.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. stands with the jockeys that took part in Friday’s Carnival races at the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack on St. Thomas. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)
One of Friday's competitors takes a lap around the track Friday to cool down after a race. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)
Alabama Jamma from the Francis Family Farm on Anegada takes a lap around the track to cool down after the race. According to a Facebook post by. his owners, he is “the first Anegada horse on the track in the USVI. We are beyond proud and believe we’ll be back again and better than ever.” (Source photo by Judi Shimel)
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