Have Turf, Will Enter: Colonial Entry Box Flooded

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.

A few weeks ago, track officials said they expect to have plenty of horses available, and that proved to be the case. For the first three days, 379 horses were entered for the 30 races. On June 23, four events each have 20 entrants listed on the overnight.

Colonial Downs, located in New Kent County, Va., just east of Richmond, has made its mark with grass racing. The Colonial Downs turf course is sweeping and very wide, which in effect makes for two grass courses depending on where the rails are placed.

The track will allow up to 14 starters in races this season, up from 12 in previous years.

Opening weekend includes two stakes for Virginia-bred or -sired horses. Daily purses will average $200,000; maiden special weight events will go for a healthy $24,000.

More than 90 trainers are expected to stable horses at Colonial Downs, which operates as part of the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit. Live racing in Maryland will shut down during the Virginia meet, which extends through July 23.

Racing will be held on a Friday-through-Tuesday schedule. Post time Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays is 1 p.m. EDT. On Mondays and Tuesdays, first post is set for 4 p.m.