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.Based on dramatic increases in both on-track attendance and handle in 2001 when Colonial's season was moved to summer for the first time (from a traditional fall meet), the New Kent oval will usher in the 2002 campaign June 21st and continue a 26-day session thru July 23rd.Post time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be 1:00 PM. (EST), while Monday and Tuesday cards will begin at 4:00 PM. A special holiday card will take place on Thursday July 4th at 5:00 PM, and post time for the Friday July 5th program will be moved to 5:00 PM. Colonial Downs celebrated the Independence Day holiday last year with successful back-to-back race cards, which were followed by a concert and fireworks, and the same will hold true this July 4th and 5th.
Daily average purse structure will again be at the $200,000 level and racing secretary Clayton Beck expects the Secretariat Turf Course to get a similar amount of use as it did last year. Colonial's grass surface is the widest in North America and accommodated 81% of the races during the 2001 season.The fifth annual $200,000 Virginia Derby will be held on Saturday, July 13th in conjunction with the Grade III All Along Stakes. A complete stakes schedule will be announced in late March and the first condition book will be available in early April. Colonial Downs will host its 5th annual harness meet from October 11th-November 5th, a 17-day campaign that will follow a 14-day session at Oak Ridge Racecourse in Virginia's Nelson County, which extends from September 14th-October 6th.