The Virginia Derby was originally slated to be worth $500,000. The Colonial Turf Cup carried a $250,000 purse before the increase. Colonial Downs opens its 9th annual Thoroughbred season June 24. The 40-day meet will continue through Aug. 16 on a Friday through Tuesday schedule. Post time is 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
Based on the approval of the 2005 Thoroughbred racing and stakes schedule by the Virginia Racing Commission at its February meeting, Colonial Downs and the Virginia Thoroughbred horsemen have agreed to increase the purses for Colonial's two marquee stakes events. The purses for the Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) and the new Colonial Turf Cup will be increased for the 2005 runnings. The Virginia Derby will be worth $750,000 and the Colonial Turf Cup purse has been increased to $500,000."Our intention is to make these two races attractive to horsemen around the country, to continue to improve our racing product, and to get grade I status for the Derby and graded status for the Colonial Turf Cup," said general manager John Mooney.