By Dean The Sportsman Greenaway
Patsy Lake has been at the forefront of several areas of the territory’s development. She’s a prominent businesswoman, former Little A. Racetrack manager and freedom fighter.
Lake, in whose honor the 2015 BVI Festival Village was named, has reiterated a call she made more than 20 years ago, for the territory to introduce parimutual wagering and said the time is right.
She encouraged the government to ‘bite the bullet.’ Before renovations were completed for the track to opening 1998, Lake managed the facility then known as the Little A Racetrack. She rebuilt stables and stands opposite to their current location. She said everyone saw how the facility could be developed into what it has become today.
“It was that move that I made that was able to make the government of the day to put some money into horse racing and give us the track that we have,” she reflected, after her horse My Pal Shawn won during the August Festival races. “We know there’s some work to be done on it and I’m sure Hon. Myron Walwyn is going to pour some money into it through his government, to do whatever improvements need to be done. I’m really looking forward to seeing further improvements.”
During her tenure managing horse racing in the territory, she also owned horses and headed the Family Affair Stables. After being out of the business for a number of years, the family returned with Town Hall.
“I enjoy horseracing,” Lake, 70, said. “I took pleasure in being able to move horse racing forward. I’m happy I could have played that part at that time, but, it’s now time for the younger people as they are now doing, to take the torch and run with it. There’s a time when we the older people must know when to back out.”
Lake who first made the call or parimuteul wagering to become part of the industry when the track was being rebuilt, reiterated the call yet again. “I would like to see the government be brave enough to say we’ll do parimuteul—if only for the track,” she said. “I know that there are some people that are opposing it, but, in order to make profitable and it is a very expensive sport, especially for the horse owners. The purses are most times are very small—too small to even keep you going. But, the people who love the sport is just holding on to it, not holding on for the money, because, it’s a lot to maintain a horse.”
Lake said she thinks the time has come now for parimutuel to be introduced into the territory. “I’m sure Karen (Aaron, BVI Horse Racing Association president) will tell you she’s finding it difficult apart from the government support, to get sponsors for the various races,” Lake said. “It is something that can boost the economy and I hope this government who always likes to bite the bullet, will bite that bullet and go with it.”