USVI Welcomes Kentucky Derby Contest Prizewinner Gretchen Christanell to St. Croix

U.S. Virgin Islands (August 1, 2013) – The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is thrilled to welcome Gretchen Christanell, winner of the USVI Kentucky Derby vacation sweepstakes, for her first visit to St. Croix on July 31. Gretchen attended the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, for the first time on May 4, 2013, with her husband Corey. Seated at a table with several other guests, Gretchen decided to try her luck at the USVI sweepstakes, which the Department of Tourism held at the race in support of the two USVI Derby contenders – Kevin Krigger, riding Goldencents and Victor Lebron, riding Frac Daddy.

“Only a few of us (in our party) put our names in for the drawing. I never win anything, but I said why not, maybe I will be lucky for once,” said Christanell. “When I got the call that I won, I had to ask if this was real!”

Gretchen, a full-time stay-at-home mother, is traveling with her husband Corey Christanell, a marketing executive. The couple hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and they have two young sons.

“We have been to St. Thomas a few times and St. John once, so I’m super excited
for a getaway to St. Croix,” said Christanell. “I’m ready to relax on the beautiful beaches, eat
some amazing food and explore some of the island’s history.”

Gretchen’s prize package includes a four-night stay for two at The Buccaneer; $900 in certificates that may be redeemed at local restaurants, retailers, activity operators and attractions; two Crucian hook bracelets; transportation for airport transfers and a spa treatment for her and Corey. In addition, the Department of Tourism will provide the couple with a welcome bag full of island guides and branded souvenirs.

“Given the fact that not one but two jockeys who competed in the race are from the USVI, it made sense for the Department of Tourism to make its promotional debut at the races to give away a USVI vacation,” said Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty. “We’re thrilled that Gretchen is so excited to finally see St. Croix and we look forward to welcoming her!”

The largest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix is perfect for travelers who enjoy a laid-back, culture-rich Caribbean experience. Visitors become immediately immersed in St. Croix’s distinct Danish heritage as they explore the historic towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted. In addition to the plethora of art galleries and craft boutiques, visitors will find Danish colonial architecture and eclectic restaurants, many of which serve local cuisine. Activities on St. Croix are plentiful. Visitors can horseback ride past 18th century sugar mills, take a swing on one of the island’s three scenic golf courses or sail and snorkel the coral-filled waters that surround Buck Island. Diving, hiking, kayaking, kite boarding and stand-up paddle boarding are all popular activities available in St. Croix as well.

For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to, follow us on Twitter (@USVITOURISM) and become a fan on Facebook When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel—including on-line check-in—making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever.  As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.



Photo Caption: Prize winner Gretchen Christanell and her husband Corey arrive at The Buccaneer Resort on St. Croix.



Irving Clara

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