By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
For Kelsey Camarillo—just the second woman behind Tessa Gunter to race and win at the Ellis Thomas Downs—the BVI now holds a special place in her heart.
In her BVI debut on debutant Motion To Appeal on Sunday, Camarillo guided the 2-year old colt to victory over 6 Furlongs in one minute 20.4, to finish ahead of Orithyia, Miss Homer and LB Thunder.
“This was my first win ever so it was amazing,” said an elated Camarillo who has ridden on tracks at Del Mar, Santa Anita, Los Alamitos and Hollywood Park in her home state of California, as well as in Seattle, Washington and St. Thomas. “It’s a great track. They guys are very professional. I love it. I’ll come back again.
She said that it was her first experience in the BVI and it was Motion To Appeal’s first race. “I had no clue what to expect. She broke out of the gate, she was really professional and I sent her to the rail, which was open and I sent her to the front. I looked back a few time and didn’t see any horses coming. I was shocked—absolutely shocked,” she reflected on the run after the card ended. “I didn’t think it was going to end up that way. The team did an awesome job getting her ready for this race and I really appreciated that. It’s a lot of work. I only started racing last year and have done 26 races. I got injured in my second race so I had some time off.”
Camarillo met Felicia Trant who’s now her agent and Wasi Charleswell of BW Racing in Santa Anita after they claimed Great Friends Rule. Her husband worked for the trainer—she didn’t—but was doing her own thing.
“They told me ‘if you ever want to come to the Virgin Islands and ride, let us know,”’ Camarillo recalled. “I said ‘anytime,’ but I didn’t think they were serous. Felicia called me up last year and asked if I wanted to come out and I said yeah. I was riding races Seattle, Washington this year and I wasn’t having much fun up there, so she called again and I said, yes please. So I came down and rode for them. They take awesome care of their horse. They are great people, they’re really professional and I like working with them.”
Charleswell said fans have to get use to seeing her racing in the Virgin Islands.
“To be honest, she’s part of the family, so whenever one of our horses is running in St. Thomas or Tortola, she will be right here to represent,” he said. “While this is her first time in the BVI, she rode in St. Thomas in June. She got a bad break but still came back and ran second on Fair Command. So, fans have to get use to seeing her. And the horse’s name says it all, ‘Motion To Appeal’ so one can put in all the motions they want, it will get dismissed—case closed.”