Colonial Downs in Virginia opens June 11 for a 34-day meet that again will feature extensive use of the facility's turf course.The highlight of the meet, which runs through July 26, is "Virginia Million Day" on July 10. That program will feature the $500,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT), the $200,000 All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT), and the $200,000 Virginia Oaks.During the meet, there will be seven $50,000 stakes for Virginia-breds, as well as four open stakes and a steeplechase stakes.The opening-day program of 10 races, six of which are carded for the grass, lured 107 entries. The feature, a $35,000 allowance event on the turf, lured Bowman Mill, a grade II stakes winner who was defeated by only a head in the Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) in his last start last year.Colonial Downs will race on a Friday-through-Tuesday schedule. Post time Fridays, Mondays, and Tuesdays is 5 p.m. EDT, while the first race Saturdays and Sundays is set for 1 p.m.Colonial Downs, located just east of Richmond, switched to a summer Thoroughbred meet a few years ago. The session has proven extremely popular with horsemen given the fact turf races are written for all levels and distances. During the Virginia meet, Maryland racing shuts down.
Officials tracking an unusually high number of horse deaths at Colonial Downs said an ongoing investigation hasnâ€™t indicated problems with the turf course or dirt track at the Virginia racetrack.