Monthly Archives: September 2019

Golden Having Too Much Fun With Parisian Diva

The following appeared in The Paulick Report September 12th.

Melinda Golden of Hancock, Md., has owned horses since 1969 but has never had as much fun as she’s currently enjoying with her homebred filly Parisian Diva.

The 3-year-old West Virginia-bred by Freedom Child out of Paris Heiress, by Wildcat Heir, has won seven races from 11 starts with three seconds and a third for earnings of $191,845.

On top of that, she’s won $36,700 from the Virginia Thoroughbred Association’s Virginia-Certified Program.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said of the program that she first learned about reading the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine. “My filly was on a farm in West Virginia with no other babies around, and I thought, this baby needs to be in a field with other babies, run around with them, learn to push her way into the feed tub, things like that. They are social animals.”

Parisian Diva wins at Charles Town August 24th. Photo courtesy of Coady Photography.

Golden called Brooke Royster at Chance Farm in Gordonsville, Va., and arranged to send the filly there. She spent eight months at Chance Farm (one of more than 125 farms and training centers certified for the program), more than the six-month requirement before the end of a horse’s 2-year-old year, and was registered in the Virginia-Certified Program. Then it was off to the races with trainer Stacey Viands.

Parisian Diva won her debut at Charles Town by 7 ¼ lengths last Sept. 8 in a harbinger of things to come. After a second- and third-place finish in a pair of stakes at the West Virginia track, the little bay filly (Golden says she weighs in at just 954 pounds) ended her 2-year-old campaign with a victory in the Eleanor Casey Memorial Stakes at Charles Town.

After a winter break, Parisian Diva returned to the races at three and has won five of seven, including two stakes at Charles Town. In her only racing venture outside of West Virginia, Golden’s filly was a closing second to odds-on favorite Please Flatter Me in the Alma North Stakes at Laurel Park in Maryland on June 16. With each victory, checks from the VTA arrive like clockwork at the end of the month.

“It’s just lovely to have that money coming in,” Golden said.

Next up for her star filly is the $300,000 Charles Town Oaks on Sept. 21. The Grade 3 race usually attracts top-class fillies from around the country.

“I may be embarrassed, but I think she deserves a chance,” Golden said.

In the meantime she has two other West Virginia-bred “divas,” Bronze Diva and Magician’s Diva, who are 2-year-olds and registered in Virginia’s program. Golden is hoping a yearling full brother to Parisian Diva can follow in her older sibling’s footsteps.

“I have had offers that were fairly substantial (to buy Parisian Diva), and I didn’t take the money,” Golden said. “I’m just having too much fun.”

Rebirth Of Virginia’s Colonial Downs A ‘Feel-Good Story’

The following appeared in The Paulick Report and was written by Natalie Voss.

It’s a rarity in horse racing to find a place, be it physical or conceptual, where people can agree. It’s also unusual to hear about a track opening in 2019, which has already seen the closure of Portland Meadows and a likely mortal blow to Arlington Park. Colonial Downs, which is preparing to wrap up its first season of Thoroughbred racing since 2013 under new ownership, is an anomaly in more ways than one. 

“When I met [the new owners], I was very, very impressed with a very comfortable and positive feeling that this wasn’t just all about gaming,” said Jill Byrne, who left a job with Breeders’ Cup to become vice president of racing operations at Colonial Downs. “I felt they had a genuine interest in community, in horse racing. There is a real, genuine desire to make an impact.”

The last races in 2013 were run with the track under the ownership of Jacobs Entertainment, a group which had been hoping to see Virginia’s legislature approve historical horse racing during its tenure. When there was no movement on the issue among key politicians in a socially conservative state, the track sought to cut days and run a two-weekend meet. Horsemen balked, and the two sides were at odds for much of the track’s last few seasons. 

Virginia-bred races were largely shifted to Maryland with a few flat races being held here and there at steeplechase meets throughout Virginia. The state’s breeding program dwindled. Then, two important changes happened – the state legislature, to the surprise of everyone involved, approved Historical Horse Racing (HHR), and the Virginia Thoroughbred Association put the finishing touches on its Virginia-Certified residency program. The Virginia-Certified program opens horses to purse bonuses if they spend at least six consecutive months at a Virginia-Certified farm prior to the end of their 2-year-old year, and the easy money quickly had training centers and farms filling up again.

#6 Charmn Charlie Ray, who leads early, went on to win the first race back at Colonial Downs after a six year absence. Photo courtesy of Coady Photography.

The approval of HHR was a requirement to complete a pending purchase deal from Jacobs Entertainment to Revolutionary Racing, which has since joined with other investors and been renamed the Colonial Downs Group. The $20 million deal saw the track transfer to people with racing and gaming backgrounds – Revolutionary Racing chairman Larry Lucas formerly chaired, and Peninsula Pacific also became involved in track ownership, bringing in former Peninsula Gaming chairman and CEO M. Brent Stevens. John Marshall, executive vice president of operations, comes with management backgrounds from Calder and The Meadows. In turn, the new owners hired Byrne and directed her to hire the best in the business, including Tampa Bay Downs racing secretary Allison De Luca, veteran Colonial track superintendent Ken Brown, and a slew of others from Tampa Bay, including the crew of starters and outriders.

The track recently hosted the Grade 3 Virginia Derby for the first time in six years (though the race had been run in Maryland as the Commonwealth Derby in the interim to keep its grade). The evening was the most important one of the meet for new management. Hospitality seating indoors was sold out weeks in advance, with all the important Virginia/Maryland faces in attendance (and several from Kentucky). General admission reserved seats were filled, and the apron/paddock fence were once again crowded with families and casual race fans patting outrider ponies and calling out to jockeys. Most of the grandstand’s first floor is now taken up with HHR machines, which stayed humming throughout the night. From the parking lot to the elevators were track personnel ready to direct racing and gaming patrons alike.

Byrne said the meet has not been completely without hiccups. One night, patrons had to be evacuated from the building after a smoke alarm went off (there was no fire). Elevators will occasionally become finicky. All of it is to be expected from a facility that sat empty for the better part of six years. 
The track did host limited Standardbred racing dates while the Thoroughbreds were gone, and Byrne said the track’s dirt surface had been reworked to suit harness racing. Besides being packed down, the grading was also nearly opposite of what’s required for Thoroughbreds. In the end, the track spent six figures pulling it up and replacing it completely, then brought in surfaces expert Dr. Mick Peterson to review it. Now, the dirt track – which had a weak reputation in the region – is better than ever.

“One morning, a girl was jogging the wrong way and her horse spooked,” recalled Byrne. “She fell off. She was fine, the horse was fine. She came back and said, ‘That’s the softest landing I’ve ever had.’”

So far, Byrne said she’s satisfied with the attendance and wagering numbers. Attendance is averaging 2,000 to 4,000 per night, and wagering has been around $1 million per card, which other track administrators have told her are solid figures for a track of Colonial’s stature. Neither is readily compared to 2013 figures, given how much the national landscape has changed with regard to on-track attendance and handle in the past six years.

Frank Petramalo, executive director of the Virginia HBPA,  said HHR machines at Colonial and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Richmond and Vinton are outperforming their original projections. They were predicted to return $175 a day but are instead bringing in $235 per day. Another emporium is due to open in Hampton next month. But there’s a catch – based on the way the HHR law was structured, the track and the horsemen won’t see HHR boosts until 2020. 

The expense of refurbishing the frontside and backstretch facilities, the new track surface, the $500,000 per race card that’s offered in purses – it all adds up. Byrne said many people may not realize how much Colonial is spending, operating on faith that this cash and more will come back through HHR machines. 

“I think a lot of people think we have the HHR money now,” she said. “We don’t even get the residuals until April of next year, and don’t even get the full effect until 2021.”

While Colonial management waits for that HHR cash, it pledged a $500,000 gift to Richmond’s Miles Jones Elementary and has distributed $10,000 checks to a handful of other family-focused regional charities. Byrne said giving back to the local community is part of the new owners’ corporate philosophy, too.

And what about the horsemen, who were so eager for a longer racing meet catering to local connections? Petramalo said they’re willing to play the long game, in part because they’re confident Colonial is, too. 

“In the old days, we were running for $200,000 a day so it’s quite an advance,” he said. “Our maiden special weights are $50,000. That’s unheard of, for us. We used to run for $26,000 or $28,000. 

“[Senior track management are] all experienced, dedicated racetrackers. That was not necessarily the case under the old administration. But more importantly, the company they’re part of is dedicated to bringing racing back. They care about racing. The horsemen are delighted.” 

Petramalo acknowledged the meet is still too short from the horsemen’s perspective, but he expects that to change in the coming years as HHR revenue grows.

“Our rule of thumb is they’ve got to have anywhere from six to eight weeks to make it economically viable to come up here,” he said. “You’ve got to get at least two starts out of a horse and it’s tough to do that in five weeks.

“I don’t think we’ll quite make 30 days next year if we stay at $500,000 and no one wants to go below $500,000.”

The culture, so far, seems to involve management making themselves good listeners. Murals painted in staff stairwells implore employees to ‘Make someone’s day’ and ‘Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.’ The track got special permission from the Virginia Racing Commission to offer reduced takeouts of 16 percent on win/place/show wagers and 12 percent on the Pick 5. Safety and biosecurity protocols were stepped up, as management was aware of the growing public concerns there. The track is one of the only facilities requiring health paperwork to be dated within 72 hours, rather than the usual 30 days in an effort to catch and isolate horses with fevers before a contagious disease outbreak begins.

Cooperation is also part of the status quo at Colonial. 

“We’ve had great support in meetings with the whole Mid-Atlantic racing group with Monmouth, Delaware, Parx, Maryland, New York,” said Byrne. “I think people would be surprised that yes we’re all competitors, but at the end everybody wants to work for the same thing, which is to not cannibalize the same horse population.” 

And next year? Byrne expects the track to make the meet a bit longer – the most it’s agreed to is 30 days, after 15 dates this year – and keep purse levels high. The meet could also shift later in the calendar in hopes of catching turf horses traveling from Saratoga to Keeneland or Florida. 

“I think it’s been a feel-good story,” she said. “Even though we’re kind of in competition with each other, I think people are happy to see a track that’s coming back instead of one that’s closing.”

Stakes Winners Carry Rouse Highweights In Steeplechase Stakes Sept. 7 At Colonial

Courtesy of National Steeplechase Association website; written by Don Clippinger

Stakes winners Bercasa and Wigwam Bay will carry the 155-pound highweights for Colonial Downs’ $50,000 Randolph D. Rouse Handicap for fillies and mares on Saturday.

The 2 ¼-mile Rouse Handicap attracted a field of 10 and will help to bring down the curtain on the final program of the reborn Colonial Downs meet near Richmond, Va. Kicking off the program will be a $30,000 maiden hurdle. First post time is 5 p.m.

With the windup of the five-week Colonial meet, 10 jump races will have been run on its spacious Secretariat Turf Course.

The race honors the memory of Virginia horseman Randy Rouse, who was awarded the National Steeplechase Association’s F. Ambrose Clark Award for lifetime achievement in 2016 and died the following year at the age of 100.

Bercasa is a new member of Irv Naylor’s stable and will be making her first U.S. start for trainer Kathy Neilson. A four-year-old, she earned her stakes victory in Galway’s Tote Account European Breeders Fund Hurdle, which she won by 3½ lengths on July 31. Sean McDermott will ride the Irish-bred.

Owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Wigwam Baby won the 2019 edition of the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley by 1¼ lengths. She most recently lost her rider when she landed awkwardly in Saratoga Race Course’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes on Aug. 7. Darren Nagle has the mount.

Wigwam Bay will compete in the inaugural Rouse Stakes.

Carrying 151 pounds will be Beverly R. Steinman’s homebred Market Alley, who won the Mrs. Phipps by 3¼ lengths. A maiden winner at Foxfield Spring in April, Market Alley finished fifth in the Henley.

Another member of the Steinman stable, Bullet Star, finished third in the Mrs. Phipps and will carry 143 pounds in the Rouse Memorial. Trainer Doug Fout named Barry Foley to ride Market Alley and gave the call to Kieran Norris aboard Bullet Star.

Also at the 151-pound level is owner-trainer F. Hill Parker’s Get Ready Set Goes, the 2016 novice and female champion who will be making her first start of the year. She most recently finished fourth in the 2018 Margaret Currey Henley. Richard Boucher will ride.

Parker will also saddle Riverdee Stable’s Snowie Hill, a full sister to Get Ready Set Goes who scored her maiden victory on the Colonial course on Aug. 17. Assigned 143 pounds, Snowie Hill will be ridden by Jack Doyle.

Joseph Fowler’s Down Royal, second in the Henley and Mrs. Phipps, will carry 147 pounds. The five-year-old Alphabet Soup mare is trained by Kate Dalton and ridden by Bernie Dalton, the co-breeders of Down Royal in New York.

Also at 147 pounds is owner-trainer Bethany Baumgardner’s Mavourneen, who finished fourth in the Margaret Currey Henley on May 11 and was third two weeks later in Fair Hill’s Iris Coggins Memorial. Graham Watters will ride the nine-year-old who was bred in Maryland by Mimi Voss.

The Fields Stable’s Dawn Wall, also bred in Maryland by Voss, will carry 143 pounds. Winner of the 2018 Coggins Memorial, she was fourth this year before finishing fifth in the Mrs. Phipps. Ross Geraghty will ride for trainer Elizabeth Voss.

Completing the field is KMSN Stable’s Inverness, who finished second to Snowie Hill in the Colonial maiden hurdle on Aug. 17. Trainer Keri Brion named Michael Mitchell to ride.

Here is the field for Saturday’s $50,000 Randolph D. Rouse Stakes for fillies and mares at 2 ¼ miles. The horses’ handicap weights are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.

Dawn Wall. 2013 b. m., Not For Love—Guelph, by Sky Classic. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Mimi Voss (Md.). 2019 record: 2-0-0-0, $5,500. 2018 record: 2-1-0-0, $30,000. 2017 record: 2-0-0-0-1, $3,600. Finished fifth in Saratoga’s 2019 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes. Never a factor in Fair Hill’s 2019 Iris Coggins Memorial and finished last of four. Won Coggins Memorial in final 2018 jumps start. Foal of two-time female champion Guelph, who also was the novice champion in 2005. (143)

Inverness. 2014 dk. b. or br. f., Giant’s Causeway—Fareena, by Point Given. Owner: KMSN Stable. Trainer: Keri Brion. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Spirit Lake Enterprises (Pa.). 2019 record: 4-0-1-1, $9,800. 2018 NSA record: 4-0-1-2, $17,500. Just beaten in 2019 Colonial Downs maiden hurdle. Finished third in 2019 The Cup Runneth Over maiden hurdle for fillies and mares, then was seventh in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley. Finished second in 2018 Margaret Currey Henley in second start over fences. Maiden winner on flat at Penn National. (143)

Snowie Hill. 2015 b. f., Run Away and Hide—Ready to Goes, by Lord Avie. Owner-trainer: F. Hill Parker. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: F. Hill Parker (Oh.) 2019 record: 3-1-0-0, $20,300. 2018 NSA record: 1-0-1-0, $3,600. Won 2019 Colonial Downs maiden hurdle. Opened 2019 with fifth-place finish in The Cup Runneth Over maiden hurdle for females. Finished second in first start over fences, a 2018 maiden hurdle for three-year-olds at Shawan Downs. Full sister to Get Ready Set Goes, stakes-winning champion novice and female in 2016. Her name honors owner-trainer-breeder’s mother, Frances Snowden Hill Myers, the breeder of Get Ready Set Goes who died in 2014. (143)

Market Alley. 2014 ch. m., Flower Alley—Skirmish, by War Chant. Owner: Beverly R. Steinman. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Barry Foley. Breeder: Beverly R. Steinman (Ky.) 2019 record: 4-2-0-0, $60,000. 2018 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $2,750. Won Saratoga’s 2019 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes. Won 2019 Foxfield Spring maiden hurdle after fourth at The Cup Runneth Over, then was well-beaten fifth in Iroquois’ Margaret Currey Henley. Had two fourth-place finishes to open her jump-racing career in 2018. (151)

Bercasa (Ire). 2015 ch. f., Casamento—Berocco, by Danehill Dancer (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeders: Old Carhue and Graeng Bloodstock (Ire). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Failed to finish in Galway’s Guinness Galway Tribe Handicap in August after victory in Tote Account EBF Hurdle. (155)

Wigwam Baby. 2011 b. m., Langfuhr—Tepee Tot, by Waquoit. Owner: Jonathan Sheppard. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeders: Bill Pape and Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2019 record: 3-1-0-0, $30,750. 2018 record: 5-0-1-0, $4,800. 2017 NSA record: 4-0-1-1, $22,250. Won Iroquois Steeplechase’s 2019 Margaret Currey Henley before losing rider in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes. Finished sixth in The Cup Runneth Over ratings handicap. Finished second in 2018 Montpelier handicap. Finished sixth in Life’s Illusion Stakes at 2018 Carolina Cup, then fell in Margaret Currey Henley Stakes and was seventh in Fair Hill’s Iris Coggins Memorial. Finished second in Saratoga’s 2017 Mrs. Ogden Phipps. (155)

Get Ready Set Goes. 2012 ch. f., Run Away and Hide—Ready to Goes, by Lord Avie. Owner-trainer: F. Hill Parker. Jockey: Richard Boucher. Breeder: Frances Hill Myers (Ohio). 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $4,500. Champion, novice and female, 2016. Finished seventh in Carolina Cup’s 2018 Life’s Illusion Stakes, then was fourth in in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley. Reigned as 2016 female champion after winning Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes and Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes, and also seized novice title by earnings. (151)

Bullet Star. 2014 dk. b. or br. m., Bullet Train (GB)—Ptarmigan, by Unbridled Jet. Owner: Beverly R. Steinman. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Magalen O. Bryant (Ky.). 2019 NSA record: 2-0-0-2, $10,000. 2018 record: 3-1-0-0, $14,000. 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,200. Finished third in Saratoga’s 2019 Mrs. Ogden Phipps after third in Daniel Van Clief Memorial. Finished fifth in Fair Hill’s 2018 Iris Coggins Memorial. Her dam was champion steeplechase female in 2010. (143)

Mavorneen. 2019 ch. m., Langfuhr—Rowdy, by Malibu Moon. Owner-trainer: Bethany Baumgardner. Jockey: Graham Watters. Breeder: Mimi Voss (Md.) 2019 record: 2-0-1-0, $7,000. 2018 record: 3-2-0-0, $27,000. Ran solid race to be second in 2019 Daniel Van Clief Memorial at Foxfield Spring, then was fourth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley and third in Fair Hill’s Iris Coggins Memorial. Closed 2018 season with back-to-back wins in Foxfield Fall maiden hurdle and Montpelier allowance hurdle. (147)

Down Royal. 2014 gr. or ro. m., Alphabet Soup—Miss Crown, by High Yield. Owner: Joseph F. Fowler Jr. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeders: Bernard and Kate Dalton (N.Y.) 2019 NSA record: 2-0-2-0, $22,500. 2018 record: 3-0-1-2, $13,400. 2017 NSA record: 3-1-1-0, $24,000. Finished second in Iroquois Steeplechase’s 2019 Margaret Currey Henley and Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes. Began 2018 with second in Carolina Cup allowance hurdle, then was third in similar races at Middleburg Spring and Iroquois. Awarded second place in Far Hills’ 2017 Gladstone Stakes after sustaining interference from first finisher, then won a Charleston allowance hurdle. (147)

Five-Pack Of $100,000 Virginia-Bred Stakes Races Highlight Colonial Downs Closing Night Card Saturday Sept. 7

(NEW KENT, VA — 9/3/19) —-  The first season of the “Racing Revival” at Colonial Downs comes to a close Saturday night (September 7) with a stakes-laden card focusing on Virginia-bred runners. All five stakes races are to be run over the Secretariat Turf Course which has gotten rave reviews from the horsemen competing here this season. 

Three of the events are 5-1/2 furlong-dashes with the other two to be run over a mile and an eighth distance of ground. Two-year-olds get their first state-restricted stakes chance in the $100,000 Jamestown Stakes at 5-1/2 panels. The 3-year-old and up distaff set will compete in the $100,000 Camptown Stakes (5 1/2f) and in the $100,000 Brookmeade Stakes (1-1/8m) while the remaining two stakes are open to 3-year-old and up of either sex – the $100,000 Punch Line Stakes for sprinters and the $100,000 Bert Allen Stakes for routers.

Tryon Summer (#6) beat Braxton to win the Nellie Mae Cox Stakes. Photo courtesy of Coady Photography.

Something Special Racing and Stewart A. Smith’s Tryon Summer, wire-to-wire winner of the one-mile Nellie Mae Cox on Aug. 10, will attempt to extend her speed an extra furlong in the mile and an eighth Brookmeade. J. D. Acosta will again ride the Discreetly Mine filly for trainer Vickie L. Foley.

Runner-up Durven, who races for the Big Lick Farm of trainer Sarah Nagle, returns hoping the extra distance will work in her favor as she was closing on the winner last month. Jorge Ruiz gets a return call aboard the homebred daughter of First Dude. Another exiting the Nellie Mae Cox is the Susan Cooney-bred, -owned and -trained Fionnbharr, the 8-5 beaten favorite last out.

Of the new faces here, Ann Backer’s Ferdinanda is coming in off a runner-up finish in a second-level allowance at Saratoga on Aug. 1. Four for five in the money this year, the Barclay Tagg-trained Giant’s Causeway filly will have the services of Forest Boyce.

Initial runner-up River Deep was bumped up to the winners circle after Speed Gracer was DQ’d and placed fourth in the Edward P. Evans Stakes. Photo by Coady Photography.

Quest Realty’s Speed Gracer looks for redemption in the Bert Allen after having his number taken down in the Edward P. Evans Stakes on August 10. The Susan Cooney-trained gelding was disqualified and placed fourth for stretch interference as the 9-5 favorite. Jorge Ruiz retains the mount Saturday.

Morgan Ford Farm’s River Deep, the adjudged victor last month, seeks the repeat for trainer Phil Schoenthal and jockey Sheldon Russell. Big Lick Farm’s Black Prong, third through the line but moved up to the place spot, also returns for the Bert Allen.

Also returning is the veteran campaigner Two Notch Road, owned by James Hackman and Glenn Thompson, who has more than half a million dollars in earnings from his 45 race career that includes seven victories including four in Virginia-bred stakes.

Two Notch Road (outside) just edged Tiz Our Time (inside) to capture the $75,000 2017 Meadow Stables Stakes at Laurel. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

Seven of nine horses that competed in the August 10 Meadow Stable Stakes, including winner Elusive Mischief, return to battle again in the 15th running of the Punch Line Stakes. The 4-year-old Into Mischief colt won by a length over Braxton with Sheldon Russell in the irons. Russell also piloted Elusive Mischief to victory in the 2018 Punch Line at Laurel in a race that was taken off the turf and contested over a sloppy dirt track. The Ian Wilkes trainee is owned by Lothenbach Stables and was bred by Jim and Katie Fitzgerald.

Boldor, a Steve Asmussen trainee, is a former TDN “Rising Star” based off his maiden breaking triumph at Keeneland last October.  The 3-year-old Munnings colt finished a tight third in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn this past January and followed three weeks later with a sixth in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. He has been idle since. 

Tyson Gilpin Stakes winner What The Beep returns to action in the Camptown Stakes for Eagle Point Farm’s Karen Dennehy. The 4-year-old Great Notion filly gave Dennehy, whose locally based farm is in Ashland, an emotional opening week win. Jockey Forest Boyce, fresh off her third Virginia Oaks score on Saturday, gets the mount aboard What’s The Beep.

What The Beep captured the $100,000 Tyson Gilpin Stakes August 10th at Colonial Downs. Photo by Coady Photography.

Kent Desormeaux will make a rare appearance in New Kent when he directs Holly and David Wilson’s Holly Hundy in the same race. The 3-year-old Yes It’s True filly had back-to-back wins at Santa Anita earlier this spring in respective maiden special weight and allowance optional claiming events. Nine fillies and mares will go to post in the 8th race.

Always one of the meet’s most interesting races, the Jamestown Stakes is for 2-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs. Dare To Dream Stable’s Embolden impressed opening night when he powered to a ten length, gate-to-wire victory in a $50,000 maiden special weight race. Trevor McCarthy will ride the Michael Stidham trainee.

Country Life Farm’s Belle Aurora won a similar turf sprint at Laurel August 16th. The Mike Trombetta conditioned filly won by two lengths after finishing a solid third in her career bow July 26th. Nine freshman participants will go to post in the sixth race.    

Also on closing night’s program are two steeplechase events topped by the $50,000 Randolph D. Rouse Steeplechase over 2-1/4 miles which has been carded as the third race. Post time for the first is at 5 PM.