Monthly Archives: March 2020

Colonial Downs Stakes Schedule Includes Stakes, Handicap Races For Virginia-Bred, Sired & Certified Horses

Dates for the second annual thoroughbred racing season under ownership of the Colonial Downs Group are set for 2020. An 18 day campaign set over a six week period will run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from July 23 – August 29. Post time has been moved back 30 minutes from last year, to 5:30 PM (EDT). An average of $500,000 in purse monies will be distributed daily.

Virginia Derby Day will again highlight the 2020 stakes schedule. The 18th running of the $250,000 Grade 3 turf stakes for three-year-olds will close out the meet on Saturday August 29. A trio of under card stakes will all return — the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (3 YO fillies), $100,000 Rosie’s Stakes (2 YO, 5.5F) and $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes (2 YO, 1 1/16th miles). 2019 Rosie’s winner Four Wheel Drive went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, Derby winner English Bee prevailed in the Parx Fall Derby, and Kitten’s Joy winner Doc Boy won the Columbia Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs March 7.

Colonial Downs VP of Racing Jill Byrne at a morning workout last summer.

Colonial Downs has been added to the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series lineup this summer in an event that will create another high impact day. Seven participating tracks in the series will take turns hosting a slate of five stakes monthly between April and October. The five pack of $100,000 stakes at Colonial, scheduled for August 15, includes the Victory Gallop, Chesapeake and Seeking The Pearl — which will all be on dirt — and the Da Hoss and Old Nelson which will be on grass. In all, 35 MATCH Series stakes will be held in 2020 with $3.75 million in purses on the line.

River Deep won the 2019 Edward P. Evans Stakes at Colonial Downs. Photo by Coady Photography.

Virginia-bred/sired horses will once again be showcased on two separate evening programs — opening night (July 23) and on the Friday of closing weekend (August 28). A four pack of $100,000 stakes will be run at each event. The Camptown, Nellie Mae Cox, Meadow Stable and Edward P. Evans Stakes will populate the season opener’s schedule and the Tyson Gilpin, Brookmeade, Bert Allen and Punch Line Stakes will help kick off Virginia Derby weekend.

The $100,000 Jamestown Stakes, a 5.5 furlong turf sprint for Virginia-bred/sired two-year-old colts and fillies, will complete the nine event state-bred slate on August 1.

In addition to stakes competitors, graduates of the VTA’s Certified Residency program will have additional money earning opportunities at New Kent this summer. In the program format, any horse that was conceived and foaled outside of Virginia and spent a minimum six month stay at a Virginia-Certified farm or training center before December 31 of its two-year-old year currently receives an extra 25% bonus when it wins a race in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Colonial Downs’ 2020 summer season will begin July 23.

Come mid-July, the number of Certified horses racing will be near 1,700. In an effort to help lure some of those graduates back to the State where they spent time being raised, VTA Executive Director Debbie Easter, HBPA Executive Director Frank Petramalo, Colonial VP of Racing Jill Byrne and Racing Secretary Allison De Luca recently introduced a slate of twelve restricted handicap races.

The restricted races are open to Virginia-Bred, Sired and Certified horses and will be held on both dirt and turf. When nominations are received, the Racing Secretary will handicap the entrants and assign weights. Restricted races go with seven horses versus Virginia-Bred/Sired ones which go with six.

“We wrote these races with the Certified horse owners in mind,” said Easter. “Since so many horses spent at least six months at our Virginia farms and training centers and have become eligible for the Residency bonus, it only made sense to offer these opportunities at Virginia’s only pari-mutuel thoroughbred track.”

Six different $60,000 Restricted Handicaps will be carded on the weekend of July 24-25: The Miss Oceana, William M. Backer, Quarter Path Road, Van Clief, Hansel and White Oak Farm Handicaps. Four more, with a purse of $75,000 each, will be run the weekend of August 20-22: The Andy Guest, Newstead, Bailes and Rokeby Handicaps. Another pair at $75,000 will be included on closing weekend: The Hickory Tree and Keswick Stables Handicaps.

Four Virginia-Breds Score Recent Wins; Three Compete In Stakes March 7

Four Virginia-bred horses reached the winners circle recently and another trio will be vying in stakes races around the country on March 7.

A pair bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm won races in late February at Fair Grounds Racecourse in New Orleans. Chess Chief, a 4-year-old Into Mischief colt, was best by 4 3/4 lengths in a $46,000 allowance optional claimer. The Dallas Stewart trainee covered the 1 1/16ths miles distance in 1:43.57. With a $314,830 bankroll from 15 starts, Chess Chief won for just the second time but has a resume that includes top three finishes in the Oklahoma and West Virginia Derby, a fourth in the Indiana Derby and a fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. He is out of the Mineshaft mare, Un Blessed.

Chess Chief wins a $46,000 allowance at Fair Grounds. Picture courtesy of Hodges Photography.

Bear Trappe’s win was a bit tighter than Chess Chief’s. The 4-year-old Trappe Shot gelding edged Two Mikes N Doc G by a nose in a 1 mile, 70 yard claiming event. Ridden by Robby Albarado, the winner crossed in 1:49.94. Bear Trappe, out of Fluxx by Bluegrass Cat, has bankrolled $85,165 to date and his four wins have each come at a different track — Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Charles Town and most recently at Fair Grounds.

Bear Trappe (inside) edges Two Mikes N Doc G at Fair Grounds. Picture courtesy of Hodges Photography.

Great Quest, bred by Quest Realty, broke his maiden recently at Charles Town. The 3-year-old Flatter gelding won handily in a $17,000, 7 furlong test. The Susan Cooney trainee finished four lengths the best in 1:31.26. Out of the Dehere mare, Stay Here, Great Quest has earned $19,630 in six starts and recorded a runner-up finish January 25 in addition to the recent win.

Susan Cooney trained Great Quest breaks his maiden at Charles Town. Picture courtesy of Coady Photography.

Bevolution closed February out with a gate-to-wire win at Turf Paradise. The 5-year-old Pioneerof the Nile gelding won by three in a $7,000 claiming race at the 6 1/2 furlong distance. Bred by Jim Fitzgerald & Katie Fitzgerald, Bevolution crossed in 1:17.44 and earned his 9th “in the money” finish. He is out of Aronia by Mutakddim.

Sheldon Russell directs Elusive Mischief to victory in the Meadow Stable Stakes. Photo by Coady Photography.

Looking ahead, a trio of Virginia-breds will be competing in stakes Saturday (March 7). Attachment Rate, fresh off a maiden special weight score at Gulfstream, is in Aqueduct’s $300,000 Gotham Stakes, a key Derby prep. The Dale Romans trainee was bred by Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin. 2019 Punch Line Stakes winner Boldor will battle in the $150,000 Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn. The Steve Asmussen trainee was bred by Carlos Moore and Jill Gordon-Moore. And, 2019 Meadow Stable Stakes winner Elusive Mischief is in the $75,000 Silks Run Stakes at Gulfstream. The Ian Wilkes trainee was bred by the Fitzgeralds.

Rappahannock Hunt Point-To-Point Kicks Off Spring Racing Action On March 7

In a sure sign that spring has arrived, Virginia’s annual Point-to-Point season kicks off this Saturday March 7 with the Rappahannock Hunt at The Hill in Boston, Virginia. Five races are on tap including the feature — a 1 1/4 miles Open Flat with a field of 14.

Rosbrian Farm has four horses entered in the feature. Top money earner of the quartet is Good And Proper with $128,663, much of which came from four wins at Gulfstream Park. Veneer of Charm is next with $119,395 from four wins as well including a Delaware Park allowance score last July. Sixty Five, who has bankrolled $114,382, reached the winners circle at Great Meadow in 2018 during the Virginia Gold Cup’s spring card. And Officer Sydney’s four wins includes victories at Foxfield in 2018 and Middleburg’s Glenwood Park in 2017.

Menacing Dennis (ridden by Shane Crimin) and Feisty (ridden by Jacob Roberts) compete in the Orange County Point-to-Points’s Open Hurdle in 2019. Photo by Douglas Lees.

Also in the field is Bodes Well, a 5-year-old Rock of Gibraltar gelding who won at Colonial Downs last summer. Rounding out the full field is Georgie Hyphen, Classical Art, Conquest Falcon, Noah And The Ark, Zarski, Salix, Benevolentdictator, Hishi Soar, and Emerald Rocket. This race is scheduled as the fourth on the card.

Action kicks off at 1 PM with a Maiden Timber, followed by a Lady Rider Timber and Amateur & Novice Rider Timber, all at the 2 1/2 miles distance. A Maiden Flat, with a field of 11 scheduled, will close out the afternoon festivities.

General admission is $7 and a book of ten tickets is $50. For ticket and parking space information, contact or call 540-229-7752. Food trucks and concessions will be on site. Exact address of The Hill is 13257 Durantes Curve, Boston, VA 22713.

Orchestra Leader, Storm Team and Special Skills jump successfully in the Open Hurdle race March 16th, 2019 at the Warrenton Hunt. Photo by Douglas Lees.

The Point-to-Point season continues every weekend thru April and a schedule can be found at The Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point follows next on March 14 and the Piedmont Fox Hounds event is on March 21.

In order to help stimulate entries, the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) implemented a Starter Rewards program in 2019 and based on its success, returns this year. Every time a Virginia-owned or Virginia-trained horse makes a start in any Point-to-Point race, the owner will receive a $200 starter reward bonus. In 2019, a total of $31,800 in rewards were paid out from 159 Virginia horses that participated in seven scheduled spring meets.

“The VEA recognizes that the Point-to-Point circuits are a vital element of steeplechase racing and we want to do everything we can to promote and support the Point-to-Points in Virginia,” said VEA Executive Director Jeb Hannum. “The Point-to-Points are an important first step for many horses. They also give young riders an opportunity to compete before going to the sanctioned meets.”