Colonial Downs Wagering Off to Strong Start

At the conclusion of Colonial Downs' second full week of racing, overall handle at the central Virginia racetrack is up 18.36% over the same period last year.

Bettors have wagered $12,870,239, up $1,996,694 over the first ten days of last year's meet, tipping the daily average over $1 million.

On-track attendance is down 25.6%, averaging 1,651 daily. Average attendance last year was 2,218 during the same period.

"Overall, our handle is doing very well. Our out of state signal is up 26% over last year," said Colonial Downs President Ian Stewart. "Our track attendance is down, but it's too early to tell. We have several strong events at the back end of the meet this year, where last year we peaked on Virginia Derby day. That's not the case this year."

Colonial opened June 16 with 42 days of racing through Aug. 12.

"The quality of our product gets more known all the time which makes our handle stronger. Our product is in more markets, and we have more diversity in where our horses are coming from," said Stewart. "I just hope it stops raining."

Handle may have even been higher if torrential rains had not forced racing off the Secretariat Turf Course on Monday and Tuesday of the past week, days that Colonial relies heavily on out of state simulcast wagering of turf races with full fields.

On June 24, a day that featured the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup and $200,000 All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT), the track totaled $3,602,203 in wagering.

"It was an excellent day, up over 60% over last year's Turf Cup. We did phenomenally well, and there was a nice story with the race," noted Stewart.

The winner of the Turf Cup, Showing Up, is owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stables who also own Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro.

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