Colonial Downs will offer $1,755,000 in purse money for its 16 stakes in 2013. The meet is highlighted by the 16th running of the $500,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT).
For the third straight year, director of racing Tyler Picklesimer has bundled many of the stakes into three high profile days during the five-week summer campaign, headlined by the Virginia Derby Day program July 13. (See 2013 stakes lineup today)
That card will feature four undercard stakes headlined by the 10th running of the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT). Also on the card is a trio of $75,000 stakes: the Kitten's Joy, Chenery, and Tippett. The later duo is for 2-year-old colts and fillies, respectively.
The ninth running of the $300,000 Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIT) is slated for June 22, along with a trio of undercard stakes. The Turf Cup undercard includes the $100,000 Edward P. Evans All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT), the $75,000 Da Hoss Stakes, and the $30,000 Old Nelson Starter Handicap.
The third and final race bundle is a grouping of five $50,000 Virginia-bred stakes July 6. Billed as the $250,000 Commonwealth Turf Fest, the quintet includes the Punch Line, Oakley, Bert Allen, Brookemeade, and Jamestown, all of which will be contested over the Secretariat Turf Course.
Rounding out the stakes slate is a jump event on opening day, the $50,000 "Zeke" Ferguson Memorial (NSA-III), and a Ladies Night stakes June 29, the $75,000 Buckland Stakes.
There are several changes to the 2013 stakes program from past years. Purses for the Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby have been reduced to help boost the level for overnight races. The Turf Cup will drop to $300,000 from $500,000 while the Derby will have a $500,000 purse as opposed to $600,000.
Two local stakes, the Daniel Van Clief and Chesapeake, will be on hiatus for 2013 while another pair will see their distance increase. The Brookemeade, at the request of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, increases to 1 1/16 miles from one mile, while the Kitten's Joy increases from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/2 miles.