Lesmore Smith’s Ghostingyou wins St Thomas Carnival Governor’s Cup

Lesmore Smith, 4th left, receiving the Governor’s Cup from USVI Governor Albert Bryan, his fourth since 2011 PHOTO: Andre “Shadow” Dawson.

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway.

Lesmore Smith’s Ghostinyou, won Friday’s St. Thomas Carnival Governor’s Cup, overhauling early leader Protector down the stretch, to win the Mile and 70 yards race in one minute 43.2., in the return of horse racing in St. Thomas at the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack, after a seven-year absence. The race had a record $43,000 purse.

It was Smith’s fourth Governor’s Cup victory, after wins in 2011 and 2012 with Good Prospecting and in 2016 with Giant Valley.

“It’s a good feeling and to know you’re blessed to be in that position of winning,” Smith told Island Sun Sports. “It was a challenge. It was tough knowing that you literally had to incur all the costs because there was no way out, no help, there was no other way to do it. It was rough but the victory was rewarding.”

When his horse lined up for the race, Smith said he had no fear because his horse isn’t a quitter. He could be four, five lengths off the pace but at the finish line, he’ll be there.

“He’s not afraid of a challenge or to be in any awkward position, because the horse can finish,” Smith said. “I knew Ghostinyou had run against tougher horses than those on the card and we were confident with the training he had been giving us and we knew he would do well.”

Smith’s Risk vs Reward finished second to Purple Speight in the Albert “Boysie” Benjamin Cup, over 1-1/16 miles, with Anegada’s Kenny Francis Alabama Jamma, finishing sixth in the race that offered a $25,000 purse. He said that the horse could have performed better.

“He got a bad break and the jockey said he was literally racing the other horses in front of him, because he didn’t realize that the other white horse was that good at what he was doing, otherwise, he would have gone earlier at him,” Smith noted. “However, it’s one of those things that in any preparation, you find that you miss one and the one you miss, will cost you—that’s what it is. But we’re going at the June 30 races and we’re taking Risk right back at that horse and we’ll be running for the Lt. Governor’s Cup.”

Smith said he’s hoping that Purple Speight would stay in that race but his handlers are trying to throw the challenge at his Ghostinyou.

“To me, I need a replay to see whether or not you can beat me fairly and squarely,” he said of Purple Speight. “You beat me but, if we had a better chance at it—evenly drawn—I think it would have been a different race as well.”

Smith attributes his Governor’s Cups success in winning four of them to ‘blessings.’

“When I go among others abroad, I feel that with my competitive spirit, I feel that I’m more blessed, receive and I’m more fortunate than when I’m at home—not saying that at home I haven’t had some success—but I find when I’m going into the races in St. Thomas, especially the Governor’s Cup,” he said. “I feel to have some favor and blessings that overpowers and overshadows and I’m grateful to God in every capacity of it, for his blessings.”

Smith has won more Governor’s Cups than any BVI horse owner but is still chasing lifting that elusive Premier’s Cup and said that he doesn’t know when that’s going to happen. “I think that I’m in a better position for striking and obtaining, with the caliber of horses that I have, but the issue is, when will that come on stream? I don’t know when that would be,” he said, after being honored for his victory on Saturday following his return from St. Thomas. “I’m hoping that they will get things in place very soon. We need to get ourselves up and running because they (St. Thomas horsemen) are asking us when we would be able to do something in Tortola. I’m telling them that we can’t do anything because we don’t have the facility. So, I’m hoping that things could shift a bit—things could change a bit—and we could get things put together.”