Full fields are expected when Colonial Downs opens its doors Friday. Colonial's 30-day meet runs through July 22nd on a Friday through Tuesday schedule with 1 p.m. post times on Saturday and Sunday and 5 p.m. post during the week. There is a special Thursday card on July 3.
Friday's featured event is a $35,000 allowance for three-year-olds an up at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The morning line favorite is a main track only entrant Smashing Beau, who is also entered in Saturday's Punch Line Stakes. If the race remains on the turf, Certantee is the likely favorite. A stakes winning half-brother to Foufa's Warrior, Certantee will be making his seasonal bow for owner Sondra Bender and trainer Lawrence Murray. Horacio Karamanos, last year's leading jockey, has the mount.
Karamanos could get off to a quick start in his title defense with eight mounts on the day, including the morning line favorites in the early daily double. Hamilton Smith, last year's leading trainer, is also looking for a quick start with three entrants.
An even 100 horses have been entered for the opening card, not including also eligibles or main track only entries.
The 2002 Colonial meet averaged 9.29 starters per race, among the best in the nation. Friday's card includes three 14 horse fields. Eight races will be contested on the Secretariat Turf Course, which hosted 92 percent of Colonial's races last year.
The first 2,000 paid admissions on Friday will receive a free calendar magnet with Colonial Downs' 2003 schedule.