Monthly Archives: January 2019

Bill on Expanding Casinos, Sports Betting In Va. Likely To Be Kicked To 2020

The following piece appeared on January 30th and was written by Graham Moomaw.

Proponents of casinos and sports betting may have to wait at least another year before Virginia lawmakers open the door to more gambling.

On Wednesday, a state Senate committee changed a major casino bill to require a state study and another vote in 2020 before any casino licenses would be granted. In its new form, the bill would prevent Bristol, Portsmouth and Danville from holding voter referendums on casinos until after the study is completed in the fall.

“I can’t understand on an issue of this paramount importance why we would not want to make an informed and deliberate decision,” said Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City.

The Senate Finance committee advanced the bill Wednesday on a 12-4 vote, dimming casino backers’ hopes as the legislative session nears its halfway point. The bill would order the state’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to conduct a comprehensive gambling study with a Nov. 1 deadline. “’It gives us kind of a time-out to take a breath and make sure this is going to work right,” said Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta.

The General Assembly is juggling several proposed casino projects from both commercial gambling interests and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which is pursuing a riverfront casino project in Norfolk. State lawmakers also filed several different bills to legalize and regulate sports betting.

Casino supporters has urged speed, arguing Virginia would run the risk of losing gambling dollars to other states if policymakers delay their projects. But Gov. Ralph Northam has made it clear he favors putting the bills on pause to allow for a study.

“There’s lots of discussion on financial regulation, the regulatory structure, how we’re going to do this, the social concerns and the unintended consequences,” Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne told the Senate committee Wednesday.
The House of Delegates has not yet taken up the casino legislation. House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, opposes the bills to expand gambling.

The deadline for both chambers to act on legislation is next Tuesday.
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Twitter: @gmoomaw


$427,944 In Bonus Monies Awarded To Virginia-Bred/Sired Owners From 2018 Mid-Atlantic Incentive Program

A total of $427,944 in owners bonus awards were distributed to 80 different owners of Virginia-bred or sired horses that won non-restricted races at tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region last year. The bonus dollar total was generated from 129 individual wins in 2018.

Topping the list of bonus money earners was Chester and Mary Broman, who accumulated $64,162 in bonuses from eight winners, seven of which were from Virginia-sired horses. Their Mr. Buff won four races and reached the award cap of $10,000 in all four. The 5-year-old Friend or For gelding captured them at New York tracks –three at Aqueduct and one at Saratoga. The New York-bred scored in an allowance optional claimer, an allowance race and in the Alex Robb Stakes at Aqueduct, and in an allowance optional claimer at Saratoga. The Broman’s also collected on Virginia-sired Cain Is Abel ($8,250), Under Suspicion ($8,250), and Call It a Truce ($4,812), and with Virginia-bred Base Jumper ($2,850).

Mr. Buff, who won four $10,000 awards in 2018, started off 2019 by winning the Jazil Stakes at Belmont. Photo by Elsa Lorieul.

Eagle Point Farm in Ashland, who bankrolled $26,088 from six awards, was second. Braxton, a now 5-year-old Virginia-bred Peak Dancer gelding, earned Karen Godsey and Donna Dennehy four of those bonuses. He captured a quartet of allowance races at Charles Town and earned rewards of between $3,645 and $4,495 in each. What the Beep provided the other two via a waiver claiming and an allowance win at Laurel.

Eagle Point Farm’s What the Beep wins an allowance race over Laurel’s turf June 8, 2018. Photo by Jim McCue.

Owners Eric Dattner and Barclay Tagg received two $10,000 bonus winning checks, and both came from now 6-year-old gelding Realm. The son of Haynesfield was bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm and like Mr. Buff, was successful in the Empire State. Realm captured the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga and an allowance optional claimer at Belmont. He is out of the Chief’s Crown mare, Shawnee Country.

Eric Rizer finished fourth by earnings with $14,820. His Gingeresk, who he co-bred with Nancy Rizer, won a trio at Laurel — a maiden claimer followed two claiming race triumphs. Rizer also cashed in on wins from When It Reigns and Seattle Ric giving him five total, good for a third place tie with Vermont Farms in that category standing.

Gingeresk captures one of her three Mid-Atlantic region wins for owner Eric Rizer. Photo by Jim McCue.

Sara Collette finished fifth courtesy of her 9 year old Xenodon gelding, Zanclus, a steeplechaser who won the Virginia Gold Cup at Great Meadow and the My Lady’s Manor Timber Stakes at Monkton. She was rewarded with respective $10,000 and $4,500 bonuses.

Next was Jerry Thurston, who earned all three of his awards with Fly E Dubai. The-5 year-old E Dubai gelding was bred by Carlos Moore and Gillian Gordon-Moore, and prevailed at different tracks — a claimer at Parx, a starter optional claimer at Laurel and an allowance effort at Penn National. The trio of successes provided $12,525 in bonuses.

Standing Rock Farm’s Divine Interventio, bred by the William Backer Revocable Trust, earned $12,397 from two allowance wins at Laurel. Danny Limongelli’s Up Hill battle also won a pair of allowance races, good for a bonus of $11,317. Bred by the Johnson Brothers Stable, the 6-year-old Street Magician mare was also a top three finisher in the Oakley, Camptown and Tyson Gilpin Stakes.

Late Action won a trio of races in 2018 for owner Robert Cole including this maiden claimer at Laurel in January. Photo by Jim McCue.

Nine horses earned three or more awards for their owners during the year, topped by Mr. Buff, Braxton, Miss Gray (Super C Racing) and Good Sport (Vermont Farms) who each had four. Once More For Love (Cannon Farms), Fly E Dubai, Gingeresk, Late Action (Robert Cole) and Divine Interventio each got three. The latter’s first win was for owner Jerry Durant.

Owners of registered Virginia-breds are eligible for a 25% owners bonus for winning non-Virginia restricted races at any racetrack in the Mid-Atlantic region (NY, NJ, PA, DE, WV, MD). Owners of Virginia-breds that win non-Virginia restricted races at National Steeplechase Association sanctioned meets in the Mid-Atlantic region are also eligible for a 25% owners bonus. More details are at

Virginia-Sired Mr. Buff Boosts Win Streak To Four With A Win In Jazil Stakes

Congratulations to Mr. Buff, a Virginia sired 5-year-old Friend or Foe gelding who won his fourth consecutive race and second consecutive stakes this past weekend. Mr. Buff’s sire Friend or Foe stands at Smallwood Farm in Crozet, VA.  Owned and bred by Chester and Mary Broman, Mr. Buff has now bankrolled $540,786 from 26 career starts. He has 8 wins, 6 seconds and 3 thirds. The recent four race streak has all come at Aqueduct and has occurred in a tight ten week window. He captured an allowance November 14th, an allowance optional claimer November 28th, the Alex Robb Stakes December 29th and the Jazil Stakes most recently on January 26th.  Here is a recap of the Jazil courtesy of The Paulick Report. 


Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred Mr. Buff improved his win-streak to four with a powerful front-running performance to capture Saturday’s $100,000 Jazil at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by John Kimmel, the New York-bred Mr. Buff arrived at the 1 1/8-mile test for 4-year-olds and upward with momentum, but in search of his first open stakes score after taking the restricted Alex M. Robb last time out.

Sent to post as the 7-2 second choice, Junior Alvarado worked out a prominent trip for Mr. Buff, who broke alertly and muscled his way to the lead through an opening quarter-mile in 25.05 seconds, while under light pressure from Thebigfundamental.

Mr. Buff won his fourth straight race in the January 26th Jazil Stakes at Aqueduct. Photo by Elsa Lorieul.

Sunny Ridge, the 1-2 mutuel favorite off of a good third in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, tracked Mr. Buff from third position, travelling wide down the backstretch, as the half-mile ticked off in 49.90 on the main track labelled fast.

Mr. Buff came under siege through the final turn as Sunny Ridge advanced and Title Ready followed, but the talented chestnut rebuffed all challengers and surged to a four-length lead at the stretch call.

Kept to task under Manny Franco, Sunny Ridge persevered the length of the lane, but there was no containing a strong performance from Mr. Buff, who earned a 5 1/4-length score in a final running time of 1:50.71.

Sunny Ridge completed the exacta, a half-length in front of Thebigfundamental. Hero’s Welcome, Title Ready and Holiday Bonus completed the order of finish. Backsideofthemoon was scratched.

Alvarado, taking over from David Cohen, said he let the horse dictate the pace.

“That’s his running style, to get to the lead. Thankfully, we got there without much trouble and he wasn’t pressured,” said Alvarado. “I just had to put him on the lead, and he knows what to do from there. He took me all the way around. I was just a passenger today. When I asked him for a run in the stretch, he was there for me and he gave me a great kick today. I was just a passenger to be honest.”

Mr. Buff, a Diamond member of the NYRA Starter Loyalty Program, banked $63,250 in victory while improving his record to 8-6-3 from 26 career starts. He paid $9.90.

Live racing continues on Sunday at Aqueduct with a nine-race card highlighted by the 42nd edition of the $100,000 Ruthless for 3-year-old fillies. First post-time is 12:25 p.m.

46 Virginia-Certified Horses Win $213,940 For Their Owners In 2018

A total of 46 Virginia-Certified horses won combined bonus monies of $213,940 for their owners in 2018 as the first batch of new residency program graduates made starts as two-year-olds. Combined purse winnings of the 46 was $876,044, and it came from $1,498,600 in purse monies available.

The first horse to earn an award was Larry Johnson’s Questionoftheday, who prevailed in a $33,000 waiver maiden claiming race May 28th at Pimlico. His Maryland-bred filly went on to win a second bonus August 2nd in a $42,000 allowance optional claiming race at Laurel.

Follow The Dog wins the Maryland Million Nursery Stakes October 20th. Photo by Jim McCue.

The largest single award of $10,000 went to Waldorf Racing Stables, whose Bandbox colt Follow The Dog captured the $101,000 Maryland Million Nursery Stakes on October 20th. Second highest was secured by Mihos in a $70,000 maiden special weight race November 24th at Aqueduct. Owner Centenial Farms received a $9,625 award for the effort and the Kentucky-bred colt began 2019 by winning the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream. Burnin Ring O Fire provided owner Ray Pennington with two bonuses from a pair of Charles Town stakes — $8,437 in the $75,000 Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders Classic and $7,500 in the Henry Mercer Memorial. Owner Eric Myer collected the fourth largest, $8,250, when his Show Prince captured a maiden special weight event December 16th at Aqueduct. Rounding out the top five are two that each collected $7500 — Scottish Man (James Casey) and Parisian Diva (Melinda Golden).

No Refunds was the second horse to win an Owners Bonus courtesy of the Certified Residency Program. Photo by Jim McCue.

The top bonus earning owner was Larry Johnson, who parlayed five winners at Maryland tracks — all trained by Mike Trombetta — into a bonus of $27,150. James Casey’s Taylor Mountain Farm was next with $24,570 from six victories. Casey, who trains them as well, saw Scottish Man bank the smaller of his two awards at Charles Town October 19th. Ray Pennington was third with $19,328 from a trio of Charles Town triumphs while Waldorf Racing Stables was fourth with $16,000 thanks to Follow The Dog. Bird Mobberley’s $14,700 bonus took was fifth best and came from a three-pack of wins, two of which were authored by No Refunds. Marla Salzman ($11,850) was next, followed by Melinda Golden ($10,920), John Casey ($10,320), O’Sullivan Farms ($10,299) and Centenial Farms ($9,625). Salzman’s Sip of Sunshine won three times in the last six months of 2018, most of any Virginia-Certified horse. Projections show that about 1.2 million will be distributed to owners of Virginia Certified horses in 2019.

Horseshoe Hill Farm in Ashland, Virginia is where No Refunds spent her residency..

Owners of Virginia-Certified horses are eligible for 25% Owners Bonuses for non-restricted Virginia wins at Mid-Atlantic racetracks (NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, WVA & VA). A Virginia-certified horse is a horse registered by the Jockey Club, conceived and foaled outside of Virginia that maintains residency in Virginia for at least a six month consecutive period prior to December 31st of its two-year-old year. The horse must maintain residency at a Virginia-Certified Farm or Training Center within the Commonwealth where the horse can be available for inspection by a VACTP official. A list of certified farms is at For more details, call Debbie Easter at 434-977-3716.

$650,000 In Breeders Fund Awards Distributed In 2018

A total of $650,000 in Breeders Fund award monies were distributed to the state’s breeders in 2018 courtesy of 209 wins and $3,197,080 purse monies won by their Virginia-bred and sired horses. $620,000 was dedicated to the breeders award and $30,000 to stallion awards. That figure is up $100,000 from $550,000 distributed in 2017.

Top award earning breeder was the William Backer Revocable Estate, whose $64,772 came courtesy of 19 wins. Both Paulita and Divine Interventio collected a trio of wins apiece for the Estate. The former captured a maiden special weight race at Monmouth May 12th followed by wins in the Brookmeade and the William Backer Stakes at Laurel. The latter, runner-up in the ’18 Punch Line Stakes, took a pair of allowance wins at Laurel and a claiming race at Saratoga.

Paulita won for the second time in her young career August 4th in the $75,000 William Backer Stakes. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

Morgan’s Ford Farm earned a dozen separate awards last year that totaled $45,502. River Gal’s win in the Jamestown Stakes resulted in a $8,207 bonus while Realm accounted for over $19,000 in awards by winning the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga and an allowance race at Belmont. Their River Deep, co-bred with F and F Stable, won a pair of Virginia-bred stakes — -the Hansel and Bert Allen. All Call, with a trio of wins, prevailed twice at Arlington and once at Hawthorne in his 50th career start.

Jockey Angel Cruz directed Virginia-bred River Gal to victory in the $75,000 Jamestown Stakes at Laurel Sept. 28. Photo by Jim McCue.

Chance Farm was third in bonus winnings with $28,865. Altamura accounted for that entire amount from four wins at Laurel, three of which were stakes. The 4-year-old filly scored $8,000-plus bonuses in the Oakley, Camptown and Tyson Gilpin Stakes.

Altamura captured her third Virginia-bred stakes win of 2018 when she prevailed in the September 23rd Oakley. Photo by Jim McCue.

Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds’ bonus winning bankroll of $28,764 came from millionaire horse Long On Value’s only two starts of the year. The now 8-year-old Value Plus horse scored in the Grade I Highlander Stakes at Woodbine and in the Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes at Churchill.

Long On Value is shown winning the Jamestown Stakes at Colonial Downs in 2013 when was two-years-old. Courtesy of Coady Photography.

Jim Fitzgerald & Katie Fitzgerald followed closely in fifth with $28,407. Elusive Mischief connected three times, all of which came at different tracks. The Into Mischief colt captured the Punch Line Stakes at Laurel, an allowance optional claimer at Woodbine and a maiden special weight at Fair Grounds.

Punch Line winner Elusive Mischief was bred by Jim Fitzgerald & Katie Fitzgerald. Photo by Jim McCue.

Other breeders with $20,000-plus bonuses include Albert Coppola, who received the biggest individual award of $25,000 (capped) for One Go All Go’s win in the $150,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (Gr. 2) at Keeneland. Three wins each from Moonlighting Majic and Once More For Love, along with Homespun Hero’s win in the Meadow Stable Stakes, pushed Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III’s award to $24,063. Lazy Lane Farms’ ($23,771) seven wins were highlighted by Tyfosha’s $8,374 bonus from a maiden special weight win at Oaklawn and Forloveofcountry’s $6,600 bonus score at Del Mar. Miss Gray’s four wins, which tied for the most along with Altamura, Good Sport and Braxton, helped boost Lady Olivia at North Cliff’s award total to $22,074. Sara Collette’s ($20,285) Zanclus collected a $13,027 bonus for winning the Virginia Gold Cup Timber Stakes. And Hold Me Black’s trio of wins got Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III to the $20,091 mark.

Homespun Hero was best in an exciting Meadow Stable Stakes August 4th. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

Other notable $8,000-plus individual bonus wins were recorded by Armoire (Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone) from the Nellie Mae Cox Stakes, Determined Vision (Althea Richards) from the White Oak Farm Stakes and Sticksstatelydude (Canyon Lake Thoroughbreds) from the Edward Evans Stakes.

Smallwood Farm’s stallion Friend Or Foe is shown at the Crozet, Virginia farm.

Three different breeders shared $30,000 in 2018 stallion awards from a total of 19 wins and $514,689 in purse money earned. Phyllis Jones scored the highest amount, collecting $16,711 from eight wins via their stallion Friend or Foe. Four of those victories were by Mr. Buff and a pair by Code Red. Lady Olivia at North Cliff was next with $6,935 from eight wins courtesy of their stallion Cosa Vera. Accountable and Zarbanda each got a pair of victories. Breeder Sara Collette was third with $6,353 from her stallion Xenodon.

Jonathan Thomas Named New Trainer Of Dual Grade I Winner Diversify

The following appeared in The Paulick Report January 23rd. Virginia-born Jonathan Thomas trained Catholic Boy, who won a pair of Grade I stakes in 2018 — -the Belmont Derby Invitational and Travers Stakes. He is the son of Virginia Equine Alliance Track Superintendent J.D. Thomas.  

Ralph and Lauren Evans’ Diversify will be trained by Jonathan Thomas in 2019, reports, succeeding the late Rick Violette. The two-time Grade 1 winner was most recently fifth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 29, and has been at Patricia Hogan’s Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge, N.J., since the fall.

“One of the criteria for choosing Rick’s replacement was finding a younger, successful, up-and-coming trainer, partly because my daughter Lauren is the heir apparent and we all thought that made the most sense,” said Ralph Evans. “After discussing several options, we decided to hire Jonathan, in large part because we know Rick really had a lot of respect for him and especially the job he did developing Catholic Boy.”


A 6-year-old son of Bellamy Road, Diversify won 10 of his 16 starts for Violette. His major victories include the 2017 edition of the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the 2018 Whitney at Saratoga. Current plans call for the gelding to resume training in Florida on Feb. 1.

Jill Byrne Named Vice-President Of Racing At Colonial Downs

Colonial Downs Group (CDG) welcomes Jill Byrne home as she joins the team that will be returning Thoroughbred racing to the Commonwealth of Virginia through the resurgence of Colonial Downs. The Charlottesville native will be vice president of racing with the Colonial Downs Group.

Ms. Byrne joins Colonial Downs from Breeders’ Cup Limited where she served over the past two years as senior director of Industry Relations focusing on the promotion and coordination of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series connecting owners, trainers and horses to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and with industry constituents and fans. She additionally produced the Player’s Show, the official Breeders’ Cup World Championships simulcast signal along with the Morning Works show. Prior to Breeders’ Cup, Ms. Byrne was the director of Broadcast and Programing at Churchill Downs Racetrack for nearly a decade, overseeing broadcast and production of Churchill Downs race product including the Kentucky Oaks & Derby.

Jill Byrne with Victor Espinoza, farm manager of Brookdale Farm, and trainer D. Wayne Lukas

“Jill is the perfect addition to help our team market racing opportunities to horsemen, demonstrate wagering value to handicappers and establish Colonial Downs elite boutique meet”, said John Marshall, senior vice president of Colonial Downs Group. “Jill’s innate ability to cultivate interest in horseracing in such a genuine way is unmatched.”

Prior to working at Churchill Downs, Ms. Byrne was a host, racing analyst and reporter for TVG. Growing up in a Virginia horse family, she spent countless hours in the stable area galloping and caring for thoroughbreds trained by her father Pete Howe, who conditioned Eclipse Award winners Soothesayer and Proud Delta. These are the beginnings of her passion for horseracing, launching an era working with then husband Patrick Byrne, trainer of 1997 Horse of the Year and Eclipse Award winners Favorite Trick and Countess Diana as well as 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again.

“I’m excited for this fantastic opportunity to join the Colonial Downs Group and be a part of the return of horse racing to my home state of Virginia, which has a deep history and strong connection to the horse industry”, said Ms. Byrne. “Colonial Downs is a wonderful facility with arguably one of the best turf courses in the country. I look forward to working with all the horsemen and women and industry stakeholders in not only supporting racing in Virginia but the sport in its entirety.”

She added, “I’m very appreciative of the valuable relationships and knowledge I’ve gained by working with everyone at Breeders’ Cup and grateful for their shared passion and support of the horse industry.”
“Everyone at Breeders’ Cup wishes nothing but the best for Jill as she takes on this incredible opportunity”, said Dora Delgado, senior vice president, Racing & Nominations for Breeders’ Cup Limited. “We were fortunate enough to benefit from her experience, professionalism and passion for the game over the past two years and by gaining Jill’s enthusiasm and extensive industry knowledge and relationships, Colonial Downs can only succeed in their quest to bring great racing back to Virginia”.

Her responsibilities at Colonial Downs Group will include industry relations, oversight of full card simulcasting across Rosie’s network, preparation, production and operation of the live race meet, marketing racing opportunities to horsemen and wagering to fans on-site and on-line.

Colonial Downs continues to build its industry partners and seasonal racing team as the New Kent track approaches opening day on August 8, featuring the Virginia Oaks and Derby August 30 & 31.

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Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.

Virginia-Breds Well Represented On Oaklawn’s Opening Day Card Jan. 25

Virginia-bred horses will be well represented on Oaklawn’s opening day card this Friday, January 25th. Both Forloveofcountry and Boldor will compete in the featured race — the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes — which is one of four key Derby preps they host in their prestigious winter/early spring meet. The former was bred by Lazy Lane Farm and is fresh off an allowance optional claiming win at Churchill. The latter, bred by Carlos Moore & Gillian Gordon-Moore, captured a maiden special weight race at Keeneland October 25th. The stakes has attracted a field of 9 and will go to post as the 8th race at 4:52 PM.

Passion Play, another three-year-old Virginia-bred colt, will compete in a $77,000 maiden special weight event which will close out Oaklawn’s opening day card. Bred by Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, the son of Hold Me Back will face a dozen others.

Here is a preview courtesy of Oaklawn’s website.  

Virginia-bred Forloveofcountry will return to stakes action in the $150,000 Smarty Jones for 3-year-olds Jan. 25 at Oaklawn, said trainer Jimmy DiVito.

A son of Sky Mesa, Forloveofcountry is coming off a 1 ¼-length first-level allowance score at a mile Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs. Forloveofcountry has already had two stakes starts, but both of those races were on turf.

“I think he can do both,” DiVito said. “The first time he ran, he ran on the dirt and ran a good race at Churchill Downs. I think he’s fine on the dirt.”

After finishing third in his June 21 career debut at Churchill Downs – a sprint taken off the grass because of rain – Forloveofcountry made his next three starts on turf, the first two at Del Mar. He broke his maiden July 28 and finished fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes Sept. 2. Forloveofcountry returned to dirt after finishing ninth in the $250,000 Bourbon Stakes (G3) Oct. 7 at Keeneland.

“He’s shown some promise from the beginning,” said DiVito, who trains Forloveofcountry, a $300,000 OBS March 2-year-old in training purchase, for Doubledown Stables Inc. (Richard Templer).

DiVito said Joe Bravo will have the mount on Forloveofcountry in the 1-mile Smarty Jones, Oaklawn’s first of four major preps for the Kentucky Derby. Post positions for the Smarty Jones will be drawn Friday.

The Smarty Jones offers 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby.

Other locally based 3-year-olds pointing for the Smarty Jones include Long Range Toddy and Bankit, 1-2, respectively, in the $400,000 Springboard Mile Dec. 16 at Remington Park for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen; Gray Attempt winner of the $74,250 Sugar Bowl Stakes Dec. 22 at Fair Grounds for trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs; Six Shooter, winner of the $75,000 Big Drama Stakes Jan. 5 at Delta Downs for trainer Paul Holthus of Hot Springs; and Super Steed, fourth as the favorite in the Sugar Bowl for trainer Larry Jones.


And here is a handicapping note on the other Virginia-bred running in the Smarty Jones Stakes. 

#5 Boldor – It is always dangerous to throw out any Asmussen runner, which is why this horse lands in the exotic plays category. He is definitely the trainer’s third-best colt in the race; however, Asmussen’s horses have a way of outrunning their odds at tracks like Oaklawn Park. With just two starts under his belt, the son of Munnings lacks experience, but he should run well at this flat mile distance. With a little bit of improving, he will have a shot to hit the board at a decent price.


And They’re Off: Hampton Council Approves Off Track Betting Facility

The following appeared in January 9th and was written by Lisa Vernon Sparks.

A near 24-hour off-track betting facility is coming to Hampton as soon as late summer.

Hampton City Council Wednesday evening approved a use permit, plus an amendment for extended hours, to allow Colonial Downs Group to build a satellite wagering facility, dubbed Rosie’s Gaming Emporium.

The amusement center brings fresh entertainment to the city’s Power Plant of Hampton Roads shopping district and makes use of some long vacant properties, including the spaces formerly occupied by Luckie’s and NASCAR Sports Grill.

The Rosie’s in Hampton will be in the Power Plant complex next to Bass Pro Shop

With an investment of $30-$35 million, the group, partnering with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment LLC., plans to build a full-service restaurant and gaming facility, — on a combined 38,000 square feet of space — to offer historic horse racing via electronic gaming devices similar to slot machines.

The facility would have 700 gaming units and would offer simulcast horse races.

City planners voted last month to recommend the use permit and extended the operating hours Monday through Sunday, from 8 a.m.-2 a.m.
But security will be tight and the center will have additional police presence during its peak operational hours, expected to be from 8 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday, Aaron Gomes, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment LLC’s chief operating officer, said.

Hampton Economic Development Business Manager Steven Lynch, left, speaks with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment LLC. Chief Operating Officer Aaron Gomes, January 9, 2018, Hampton City Council meeting (Lisa Vernon Sparks/Daily Press)

“We take security very seriously. No customer wants to go to a gaming facility and not feel secure,” Gomes said.

The center would have a minimum of seven security guards at all times, with more as needed after midnight, using Hampton’s police’s extra duty program, Gomes said. Additionally, the company plans to install 200 surveillance cameras.

The center would be open to all persons 18 and older, but Rosie’s gaming expects to be female-dominated, with “75 percent of our guests are over the age of 50,” he said.

In addition, the company brings a promise to add as many as 200 jobs to Hampton as soon as it’s open and some $2 million in annual tax revenue to the city.

Gomes said Peninsula Pacific is a 20-year-old company that owns restaurants, hotels and gaming casinos.

The company is partnering with Chicago-based Revolutionary Racing on the endeavor, and acquired Colonial Downs for more than $20 million, after Virginia embraced historical horse race betting.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed new legislation in April. State racing officials have established a preliminary cap on the number of historic horse racing units allowed in Virginia at 3,000.

The company is poised to open other facilities in New Kent, including a new race track, and satellite operations in Richmond, Vinton, outside of Roanoke, and a fifth property, Gomes said.

The group expects to break ground on the new facility in a few weeks.

Colonial Downs To Donate $500,000 Over 5 Years To Richmond Elementary School

The following appeared in The Paulick Report January 9th.

The Colonial Downs Group today announced that it will donate $500,000 over the first five years of its active operations in the city of Richmond to Miles Jones Elementary School. The school is located near the soon to open Rosie’s Gaming Emporium on Midlothian Turnpike. As a symbol of this new relationship, representatives of the Colonial Downs Group presented school leaders with a $20,000 contribution at a ceremony at the school today attended by Colonial Downs Group representatives, 9th District City Councilman Michael Jones, school administrators, teachers and students, and miniature horses that participated in the first ever “horse race” held at a Richmond elementary school.

Racegoers file into Colonial Downs in 2013, the last year thoroughbred racing was conducted.

John Marshall, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Colonial Downs Group, remarked, “We believe strongly in being a full and positive partner in the communities in which we operate. This relationship will help ensure the students of Miles Jones Elementary gain access to even more innovative and dynamic learning opportunities in the years ahead. We are honored to begin this partnership with Principal Sonya Shaw, her wonderful staff and teachers, and the entire Jaguars student body.”

Speaking about the contribution, and the partnership between Colonial Downs and Miles Jones Elementary, City Councilman Michael Jones noted, “You’ve heard it said that the children are our future, but this partnership shows that the children are our present. As city councilman of the ninth district I am committed to finding resources and opportunities for the children that I represent. I’m excited about this partnership with Miles Jones Elementary school and the possibilities in learning that lie ahead.”

Colonial Downs’ bright future features the return of live Thoroughbred racing and full card simulcasting with the excitement of innovative historic horse racing (HHR) gaming technology. In collaboration with the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC) and Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA), Colonial Downs is set to bring competitive horse racing back to New Kent County and the Commonwealth with the re-opening of the best turf track in the country and a future network of satellite HHR facilities branded as “Rosie’s”.

Colonial Downs Group is making a $300 million investment in the Commonwealth of Virginia creating 800 new jobs by the end of 2019. This effort will generate $25 million annually in state tax revenues, $17 million annually in local tax revenues and $25 million annually to Virginia’s horse industry. The project is not receiving any tax credits or government incentives.