(Edited Colonial Downs press release)
Colonial Downs will host the first-ever "Virginia Million" July 10, which is highlighted by a trio of turf stakes and will be the richest day of racing in the state's history.
The highlight of the "Virginia Million" will be the seventh running of the track's traditional feature, the $500,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT). The Virginia Derby was awarded graded status this winter after a strong 2003 edition that included grade I winner Kicken Kris, graded stakes winner Senor Swinger, and graded stakes placed Silver Tree. Early nominations for the Virginia Derby close June 1.
Two $200,000 turf stakes for fillies and mares will support the Virginia Derby. The $200,000 All Along Breeders' Cup (gr. III) has been a Colonial Downs fixture. The nine-furlong test for turf has been captured in recent runnings by grade I winners Dress to Thrill and Colstar. Completing the stakes trifecta of the "Virginia Million" is the inaugural edition of the $200,000 Virginia Oaks, a 1 1/8 miles test for three-year-old fillies.
The weekend is supported by "Abbey Road at the Races," a three-day music festival featuring three of the nation's top Beatles tribute bands. American English, British Export, and Hal Bruce will perform after races July 9-11. The Sunday card includes the New Kent oval's top steeplechase race, the $50,000 David L. "Zeke" Ferguson (NSA-III). The concerts are free with the regular $2 general admission.