(Brad Benson Photo)

Last week, the Virginia Racing Commission approved the dates for live Thoroughbred racing in 2012 at Colonial Downs.

Per the request made by Colonial Downs, and supported by the Virginia HBPA and the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, the Commission approved a 32-day schedule for next summer.

The meet will run eight weeks from June 2nd (the week before Belmont) through July 28th, with a 7 pm post on Thursday through Saturday, and a 1 pm post on Sunday.  The new night post times are being made available by lighting the CLN turf courses. 

The project moving the lights from the dirt course to the turf course should start within the next few weeks. The track is also working to improve the drainage on both turf course turns where it’s usually very soft after a good rain.

Any card rained out will be run in total the following Wednesday. There is no racing on Sunday, July 22nd. That date is being held open in case the July 21st Virginia Derby card is postponed due to wet conditions.

The meet will open on Saturday, June 2nd, with the Strawberry Hill races starting at 1 pm (6 races for jumpers) to be followed by six flat races.  The Strawberry Hill tailgate crowd which usually parks on the dirt track base will be relocated to other areas around the track.

In spite of falling total handle numbers in 2011, it is hoped that the 100% Virginia-bred bonus program will remain intact.