In a potential boon to horse racers, Sen. Kurt Vialet has drafted legislation to have the government set aside land for a “bush track,” a makeshift track to be used for unofficial and informal racing.
In the bill — Bill 33-0371 — Vialet calls on the government to designate seven acres of government-owned property for the track, while authorizing the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation to issue a license to the Flamboyant Horsemen Association of St. Croix to operate the track on government property.
That license will make the association an “equine activity sponsor” as per the V.I. code and require its membership to develop a plan detailing how they will prepare, maintain and manage the track, along with associated costs and a safety plan.
The bill allows the government to suspend or revoke the license if the association violates applicable law. It also requires the association — not the government — to carry liability insurance and assume legal responsibility for any injury, loss or damage to riders or their horses.
The bill comes two months after Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. ordered the shutdown of Williams Delight Downs on St. Croix as an unregulated and illegal track that posed too many risks to riders and their horses — a decision that upset St. Croix riders and owners.
Today, starting at 9 a.m., the Senate Committee on Youth, Sports, Parks and Recreation is scheduled to receive a status update on the V.I. Horse Racing Commission and the promulgation of rules and regulations for the horse racing industry.
Invited testifiers include V.I. Horse Racing Commission Chairman Hugo Hodge, Flamboyant Horsemen Association President David Brewster, and Sports, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White.
Consideration of Bill 33-0371 is not included in the agenda, however the topic is expected to arise.