In what clearly has become one of most interesting race meets in North America, Colonial Downs will kick off its 2002 season the weekend of June 21-23 with 30 races, all of them scheduled for the turf.
With a little more than a week remaining until the start of the 2002 Thoroughbred meet, and stall assignments nearly completed, the Colonial Downs racing office is expecting more than 90 trainers to stable horses at the New Kent County, Va., racetrack.
Hill 'n' Dale hires Willard...NYTHA donates to TRF...Colonial Downs open for training.
Medaglia d'Oro heads a group of 57 early nominees for the fifth running of the $500,000 Virginia Derby, which will be contested at 1 1/4 miles over Colonial Downs' Secretariat Turf Course on July 13.
Davy Jones, a Thoroughbred owner and former teen idol from the 1960's television classic "The Monkees," is the official spokesman for Colonial Downs in Virginia this season.
Miscellaneous news from around the racing industry
The Virginia Racing Commission has approved a request that would allow Colonial Downs to become a guarantor of the debt of its parent company, Gameco. The proposal is part of a long-range plan that increases the purse of the Virginia Derby to $500,000 for at least three years.
The purse for the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs could rise to as much as $500,000 from $200,000 based on a plan presented to the Virginia Racing Commission March 20.
Dates for the sixth annual Thoroughbred meet at Virginia's Colonial Downs have been confirmed, and for the second straight season racing will occur in the summer months.
Broad-based legislation on racing issues passed the House of Delegates General Laws Committee Feb. 28 after two sets of amendments were discussed. The bill patroned by Sen. Kenneth Stolle passed with a 16-3 vote late in the afternoon.
The Virginia Racing Commission on Feb. 20 approved a contract between Colonial Downs and the Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, and also discussed a decline in handle at off-track wagering facilities in the state.
Broad legislation that removes impediments to the pari-mutuel industry cleared a Senate committee by a 7-1 vote Jan. 23. Introduced by Sen. Kenneth Stolle, the bill delegates regulatory control of racing dates, provisional licensing, and account wagering to the Virginia Racing Commission.
The Maryland Racing Commission deferred action Wednesday, Jan. 23, on two crucial issues after representatives of the Maryland horsemen's organization and Maryland Jockey Club clashed, often heatedly, on nearly every point.
Colonial Downs reported to the Virginia Racing Commission on Wednesday that the plan to privatize Colonial Downs was approved Jan. 10 by shareholders of the company that owns the Virginia track and its off-track betting facilities.
The Virginia Racing Commission may take a more active role in regulating horse racing if the recommendations of a blue-ribbon committee are implemented. The panel suggests a need for more off-track wagering facilities, elimination of a law that mandates 150 live racing dates by 2006, and addition of account wagering.
Colonial Downs was awarded 26 Thoroughbred dates for 2002, and the Virginia track will again race in the summer.
At the Aug. 30 Maryland Racing Commission meeting at Ocean Downs, commissioner Terry Saxon erupted in anger over a letter from Colonial Downs president Ian Stewart in regard to the Virginia track's plan to apply for another summer meet next year.
Fresh off a successful 2001 summer meet at Colonial Downs, members of the Virginia Racing Task Force are looking forward to the 2002 Thoroughbred meet. They told the Virginia Racing Commission Wednesday they hope to race again in the summer.
Colonial Downs showed increases in attendance and handle for its first ever summer Thoroughbred meet that ended Tuesday.
For the fifth consecutive season, Ferris Allen has won -- or at least tied for -- the leading trainer title at Colonial Downs.
The plan to privatize Colonial Downs moved a step closer to fruition Tuesday when the Virginia Racing Commission, after a public hearing and about an hour of deliberation, voted 3-2 to allow the acquisition of Colonial Holdings Inc. by Gameco Inc.
Beverly R. Steinman's homebred Colstar rallied from mid-pack to win Saturday's $150,000 All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) on firm turf at Colonial Downs. The $90,000 winner's share of the purse takes Colstar past the $1-million mark for career earnings.
Jockey Mario Pino hit double figures for wins in the last two days of racing at Colonial Downs by following his six-win performance on Monday with four wins Tuesday. For the first five days of the meet that opened July 3, Pino has 15 wins, and by the way, he spent one of those days at Monmonth Park.
Racing and breeding news
Opening day at Colonial Downs was deemed a success at the mutuel windows and on the track.
Only weeks before the scheduled opening of its Thoroughbred meet, Colonial Downs still hasn't secured a loan to fund purses for its summer meet. It appears, though, that track owner Jeffrey Jacobs and some horsemen are prepared to provide the funds in the interim.
Bits and pieces from around the industry
Colonial Downs will offer more races on the dirt this summer, according to a marketing plan presented Wednesday to the Virginia Racing Commission. Live racing returns to Virginia on July 3.
The Virginia Racing Commission on Monday approved a revised live racing schedule for Colonial Downs that dovetails with dates in neighboring Maryland. For next year, one racing official has floated a plan to create a three-state circuit -- Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware -- designed to capitalize on each state's assets.
Under the plan approved Wednesday by the Maryland Racing Commission, Thoroughbreds will cease racing in the state from July 8 to Aug. 7. During that period, Colonial Downs, the track in Virginia managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, will run its 25-day meet.
There was little discussion by the Virginia Racing Commission Wednesday about the planned June-July meet at Colonial Downs even though it remains possible there could be racing in Maryland as usual during that period. Colonial Downs gets about 75% of its horses from neighboring Maryland.
Bits and Pieces From Around the Industry
In a tense meeting that exposed deep divisions within Maryland's racing community, the state racing commission on Wednesday rejected a plan for ceasing Thoroughbred racing for five weeks this summer so that horses can compete in Virginia. The commission voted 6-2 against the proposal advanced by the Maryland Jockey Club and a task force representing segments of the racing industry in Maryland and Virginia. The plan called for Pimlico and Laurel Park to close for racing from June 10 to July 14 while Colonial Downs, the struggling track near Richmond, conducted a 25-day summer Thoroughbred meet.
On Wednesday, representatives of the Maryland Jockey Club will ask the state's racing commission for permission to cease racing at Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park for parts of June and July so that Thoroughbreds can race at Colonial Downs. The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association doesn't support the plan.
Virginia horsemen have two weeks to secure a loan that will allow Colonial Downs to pay an average of $200,000 in purses daily during a summer meet. The two-week deadline also applies to resolving a racing dates conflict between Virginia and Maryland.
The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has reiterated its position that live racing shouldn't be suspended in the state in June and July, and that Colonial Downs in Virginia should continue to offer Thoroughbred racing in September and early October.
With Colonial Downs in Virginia planning to hold its Thoroughbred meet from June 10-July 14, the Maryland Racing Commission hasn't yet awarded the customary summer dates to Laurel Park. Commission officials said the issue will be resolved at a March meeting after track officials and horsemen agree on a schedule.
The Virginia Racing Task Force believes it will obtain a loan to fund purses for the proposed spring-summer meet at Colonial Downs this year, but regulators are concerned there won't be enough money or horses to support the plan.
- By Nick Hahn
Colonial Downs reported Wednesday to the Virginia Racing Commission that the track plans a wide range of capital improvement projects, some of which are in preparation for its spring/summer meet. Projects include construction of a $200,000 bathhouse on the backstretch and establishing vegetation for drainage as well as erosion and sediment control throughout the facility. Opening day for the 2001 meet is June 10, with racing continuing through July 14.
Veteran racing executive Leonard (Lenny) Hale has left his post as vice president of racing for the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Racecourse. According to a statement from MJC, the organization reached an "amicable parting" as of last Saturday, Jan. 20.
Colonial Downs has received approval to race in June and July this year, but the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association voted earlier in January to maintain the status quo: race in Maryland in June and July, and in Virginia in September. The head of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association says that position hasn't changed, but a board member contends the majority of Maryland horsemen wouldn't mind spending June and July in the Tidewater region.
The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has recommended that Maryland's racetracks maintain a schedule whereby there is a shutdown in September. That throws the decision on Colonial Downs dates back to the Virginia Racing Commisssion.
A task force representing a diversity of racing groups in Virginia has reached an agreement on the industry's future over the next two years. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the agreement provides for a decrease in the number of live Thoroughbred racing dates and an increase in purses at Colonial Downs.
A task force made up of a number of horse organizations is likely to propose moving Colonial Downs' fall meet to June and July of 2001. The task force includes representatives of Colonial Downs, the Maryland Jockey Club, the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, the Virginia Horseman's Association, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horseman's Association, and the Maryland Horse Breeder's Association. The task force proposal will be presented today to its member groups.
Colonial Downs' third quarter results show the Virginia track continues to struggle. Earnings per share dropped 22.2% to a loss of 11 cents per share for the three-month period ending Sept. 30.
John and Rhonda Holland plan a multi-purpose track that would offer Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and steeplechase racing in Nelson County.
Two top officials with Colonial Downs have been subpoenaed by the Virginia Racing Commission to appear at a meeting Wednesday.
Lightning Paces lit up the board with an upset victory in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.
Management at Colonial Downs has reportedly told shareholders it will consider closing its four off-track betting centers in Virginia and rely upon other revenue sources, such as management of video lotteries at truck stops in the state of Louisiana, to help supplement purses at the track.
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