Opening day of the third Colonial Downs racing season under ownership of the Colonial Downs Group attracted a full entry box when the draw for Monday’s (July 19) card was conducted Wednesday afternoon.
A total of 111 horses are slated to compete in nine pari-mutuel races, five of which feature 14-horse fields and another with 13. Of the nine, all but one will be contested over the Secretariat Turf Course including four $100,000 stakes. Post time is 1:45 PM. A pair of non-betting steeplechase races will kick off festivities at 12:15 PM prior to the pari-mutuel program.
The Meadow Stable and M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes, both Virginia-restricted, boast fields of 14 and will run at 5 1/2 furlongs. The stakes are open to Virginia-bred, sired and certified horses.
Lothenbach Stables’ Elusive Mischief, winner of the 2019 Meadow Stable Stakes during Colonial’s “Racing Revival” campaign, looks to make it two straight in the event, which was not run in 2020. The 6-year-old Into Mischief gelding sports a bankroll of $214,409 and will be ridden by Chris Landeros. Ed and Susie Orr’s Boldor is a three-time stakes winner with earnings of $360,517. The 5-year-old Steve Asmussen trainee captured the 2019 Punch Line Stakes for Virginia-breds. Paco Lopez will ride. Louis Ulman & H. Neil Glasser’s Kenny Had a Notion also is a three-time stakes champ and is 4-for-8 lifetime.
Virginia-Certified and Maryland-bred sensation Street Lute headlines the Gilpin field. The 3-year-old Street Magician filly is 8-for-11 with seven stakes wins on her resume. The John Robb trainee, owned by Lucky 7 Stables, has yet to race on turf. She will be ridden by Xavier Perez. 2020 Gilpin winner Virginia Beach will try to defend her title. Country Life Farm’s 4-year-old Twirling Candy filly is conditioned by Michael Trombetta and will have Julian Pimentel up top. A pair of Kentucky-breds — Sally Thomas & Olga Payne’s Momentous Miss and David Ross’s Larimar — are in as well. The former has raced only twice, but had a successful career debut in a maiden special weight at Keeneland last fall. The latter, who broke her maiden last summer in New Kent, invades from Charles Town fresh off back-to-back allowance wins.
A third Virginia-restricted stakes showcases 5-year-old Into Mischief horse, Chess Chief. The Dallas Stewart trainee has amassed $688,920 in earnings and plans to use the Bert Allen Stakes as a prep for the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. The Virginia-bred won the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic Stakes in March and finished fifth most recently in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill. Jockey Florent Geroux will direct Chess Chief from post five in a field of seven. Troy Johnson, Charles Lo and Jagger Incorporated’s Forloveofcountry brings an impressive four-race win streak into the Allen, though all have come on dirt. The Jamie Ness trainee will be ridden by Jaime Rodriguez.
The Nellie Mae Cox finishes off the stakes four-pack and is open to Virginia-bred and sired fillies & mares. Newtown Anner Stud Farm’s Tasting The Stars, 4-for-6 lifetime and 2-for-3 on grass, leads the field of 11. The 5-year-old Bodemeister mare started her career with three straight wins in 2019, finished sixth in the Virginia Oaks that year, then raced twice in 2020. Her most recent out was a triumph in the Brookmeade Stakes last October at Laurel. Winchester Place Thoroughbreds’ Urban Fairytale is fresh off a pair of respectable third place finishes in the Lady Canterbury Stakes and a turf allowance at Churchill. Florent Geroux will be in the irons.
“We’re thrilled with the enthusiastic response and support from the horsemen,” said Jill Byrne, Colonial Downs VP of Racing Operations. “The entry box was overflowing for the opener and we look forward to offering full fields for fans to wager. Kudos to Allison DeLuca and her race office staff for doing such a great job.”
The Colonial Downs season will continue through September 1 with racing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:45 PM. All races during the summer meet will be broadcast on TVG. Highlight of the meet is the $250,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby (Gr. 3), scheduled for Tuesday August 31.