Monthly Archives: February 2022

Churchill Downs to Acquire Colonial Downs, Casinos in $2.4B Deal

Colonial Downs and its authorized parlors can add further gaming devices.

Churchill Downs Inc. announced Feb. 22 that it had entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, a series of gaming properties that includes Colonial Downs in Virginia.

The transaction is for total consideration of $2.485 billion, according to a release from CDI.

Besides Colonial Downs, the properties involved in the deal include del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, N.Y., and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City, Iowa. All three properties operate traditional casinos or slot-like historical horse racing devices.

Colonial Downs Racetrack has a 1 1/4 miles dirt oval along with the Secretariat Turf Course — widest grass racing surface in the country.

“This unique set of assets expands our geographic footprint and provides additional scale,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “(Peninsula Pacific Entertainment) has done an exceptional job developing and managing this collection of assets, which we are very excited to acquire and plan to strategically grow in the years ahead.”

The transaction, dependent on usual and customary closing conditions, including approvals from regulators, is expected to close by the end of 2022.

Colonial Downs, located in New Kent, Va., operates six lucrative “Rosie’s Gaming Emporium” HHR facilities across Virginia. These facilities currently have approximately 2,700 HHR gaming machines.

The Rosie’s Hampton location opened in October, 2019.

Under Virginia law, CDI will have the opportunity to develop up to five additional historical racing entertainment venues in Virginia with collectively up to approximately 2,300 additional HHR machines. As part of the Peninsula Pacific Entertainment transaction, CDI will also acquire the rights to build a large gaming resort, the Dumfries Project, with up to 1,800 HHR machines in Northern Virginia. Peninsula Pacific Entertainment previously announced plans to invest up to $400 million to build the initial phase of the Dumfries Project, which is scheduled to open in 2023.

CDI also will acquire the rights to develop Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Emporia, Va., the seventh historical racing entertainment venue under Peninsula Pacific Entertainment’s Colonial Downs license. The Emporia facility, located along I-95 near the North Carolina border, will have 150 HHR devices and is expected to open in 2023.

Under the terms of Tuesday’s announced transaction, Pinnacle is expected to reach a definitive agreement to sell the real property associated with Hard Rock Sioux City to a third party, and CDI will acquire the operating company and lease the Sioux City Property from that party. In the event Peninsula Pacific Entertainment is unsuccessful in reaching a definitive agreement with a third party to purchase the Sioux City Property by a certain date, the Sioux City Property will be included in the Peninsula Pacific Entertainment transaction and the total consideration will increase to $2.75 billion.

Rosie’s locations feature both smoking and non-smoking HHR sections, a higher limits area, and an OTB area.

Also, included in the Peninsula Pacific Entertainment Transaction are the rights to Peninsula Pacific Entertainment’s ongoing effort, in partnership with Urban One, to develop ONE Casino + Resort, a $565 million destination casino in Richmond, Va.

Peninsula Pacific Entertainment’s gaming license in Louisiana, and its casino development rights in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are not included in the transaction.

Virginia Businessman David Ross’s Extravagant Kid Retired From Racing at Age 9


Captured 2021 Group 1, $1 Million Al Quoz Stakes in Dubai

Extravagant Kid, owned by Virginia businessman and Colonial Downs’ all-time leading owner David Ross, has been retired from racing at the age of 9.

The Kiss the Kid gelding finished his brilliant career with $1,704,683 in purse earnings from 54 starts which includes 15 wins, 18 runner-up finishes and 7 thirds. Ross claimed the horse four years ago and has earned about $1.5 million of that purse money under his stewardship.

Extravagant Kid wins the Al Quoz Stakes in Dubai in March, 2021.

Ross noted that in Extravagant Kid’s two most recent starts at Gulfstream — the Janis Stakes December 31 and an allowance on February 2 — that his prize horse may have lost a step and flattened out just a bit. 

“We had him scanned and it looked like he was starting to get the beginning of a bone spur,” said Ross. 

After the diagnosis, Extravagant Kid was retired and is now at a training center in Ocala temporarily where Ross keeps his young horses. He will be based there until a permanent home is found. 

Ross — whose stable name is DARRS’s Inc —- along with trainer Brendan Walsh and Racing Manager James Bredin are all committed to finding the right next home for Extravagant Kid.

Extravagant Kid won the 2019 Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs. Photo by Coady Photography.

“We are on a mission to find him the perfect place because he has brought so much joy to everyone who has been a part of his life,” said Ross. “He will thrive in his second career, possibly as a riding horse because he loves to do trails. We want to make sure he is happy and productive going forward.” 

Ross, who has had graded stakes winners with Scuba, Honorable Duty and Proforma, said his biggest thrill as an owner was Extravagant Kid’s victory in the $1 Million, Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint Stakes last March in Dubai. 

“I’ve had a lot of nice horses over the years but none have been able to do what this one did — -win a Grade 1, or in this case a Group 1 stakes. He’s been an unbelievably great horse to be associated with and has thrived on new adventures.”

Virginia-Certified Horses Score 10 Wins at Laurel in Feb. 10-13 Race Week

Congratulations to 10 different Virginia-Certified horses that won a race at Laurel Park the race week of February 10-13 alone — yes, 10 in one week! 

Leading the group was 4-year-old filly Proper Attire, who was best in a $67,392 allowance optional claimer February 10 which she won in gate-to-wire fashion. The daughter of Imagining won her second straight race — both in 2022 — and overall, has 6 wins from 15 races with earnings of $198,077. In 2021, she put together a three race win streak in Maryland from mid-winter to early spring. The Jamie Ness trainee is owned by Jagger, Inc.

Proper Attire pushed bis bankroll to the $198,000-plus mark with a Feb 10 victory. Jim McCue photo.

Two other big winners were Rookieoftheyear, a Graham Motion trainee who won a $44,415 waiver maiden claiming event and Ain’t Da Beer Cold, who had a $51,360 allowance score that pushed his bankroll over the $145,000 mark. 

The former is a 3-year-old Madefromlucky colt who came 5-wide in the final turn of his 1 1/16ths miles race to rally successfully as the betting choice. Owned and bred by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds LLC, the winner was guided by rider Jorge Ruiz. The latter is a 4-year-old Freedom Child gelding who has finished in the top-3 at Laurel four different times since Thanksgiving weekend. Owned by Matt Spencer, Kelly Jo Cox and Bonuccelli Racing, he has bankrolled $145,518 to date.

Six of the other winners broke their maiden. Florida-bred Red Mesa won at 5 1/2 furlongs as betting choice in his fourth try. The 3-year-old He’s Had Enough gelding is owned by Tim Frietag. 

Ain’t Da Beer Cold’s win Feb. 13 was his 4th straight “in-the-money” finish. Jim McCue photo.

The other five, all Maryland-breds, were led by 5-year-old Golden Lad gelding Rahmer who was best in a $42,903 waiver maiden claiming race. In six starts, he has a pair of thirds to go with his debut win for owners One N One A Stable and Walter Vieser II.

Albertano, a 4-year-old son of Barbados, had a gate-to-wire performance in his $29,900 maiden claimer February 11 and won convincingly by 7 1/4 lengths. The gelding is owned by Jose Aguilar and Jose Gallegos. 

John Salzman trainee No Money Down had a big win as well, 7 1/2 lengths, in his $30,618 maiden claiming victory February 13 at six furlongs. The 3-year-old Baltimore Bob gelding was making his sixth start for owners Bird Mobberley LLC and Grady Griffin.

Larry Johnson’s Imagine the Mojo won in just his second career start. The 3-year-old Imagining filly prevailed by two lengths at 1 1/16 miles distance for trainer Mike Trombetta.

Rookieoftheyear came from 5-wide in the turn to get a victory Feb. 11. Jim McCue photo.

In Greylover’s five life starts, the 3-year-old Imagining gelding improved his finishing position in each, from a ninth last September in a maiden special weight, to the winners circle last week in a $28,980 maiden claimer. Owned by Rafael Lopez, the victor wired the field and finished a neck in front. 

The final winner of the week was The Wolfman, a Phil Schoenthal trainee who earned his third lifetime score by a neck in a $24,786 claiming race. The 4-year-old Bandbox gelding is owned by Charles Reed and Kingdom Bloodstock.            

2022 Yearling Futurity

VTA is excited to again host the Yearling Futurity at the Warrenton Horse Show Grounds on Tuesday, September 13. As plans are finalized, this page will be updated. Please check your email for updates, as well.

VTA Member Funkhouser Remembered as Committed Supporter of Thoroughbred Racing

  • By Toni Milbourne
  • Feb 6, 2022 
Funkhouser remembered as committed supporter of thoroughbred racing
Randy FunkhouserSubmitted photo

The following appeared at on February 7th.

CHARLES TOWN — A statement issued by the Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (HBPA) on Saturday announced the passing of lifelong Jefferson County resident Raymond Joseph “Randy” Funkhouser, II. A member of that association for 25 years, Funkhouser served as its president for 16 of those years. In addition, Funkhouser served vice president of the West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

Born and raised in Charles Town, Funkhouser attended Powhatan School in Boyce, Virginia and graduated from The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He went on to graduate from Stanford University with a B.A. in English/Creative Writing before returning to Jefferson County to partner with his mother, Ruth, and mentor Frank Gall in running O’Sullivan Farms.

Funkhouser was actively involved throughout his life in the West Virginia thoroughbred industry and farmland preservation. He spent countless hours working with legislators and community leaders to protect and enhance the horse industry.

“Randy devoted years of his life toward his extensive knowledge of West Virginia Code on racing issues,” shared former State Senator Herb Snyder.

“He was always at the table as the voice of horsemen in Charles Town and around the state,” Snyder continued, adding that those in the dog racing industry also benefitted from Funkhouser’s efforts.

Delegate Paul Espinosa agreed, calling Funkhouser a “great resource” on what would be most impactful regarding the horse racing industry and the challenges it faced.

“I regularly met with Randy before each legislative session to get his thoughts on the needs of the industry,” Espinosa said. “He was certainly a wealth of knowledge,” Espinosa added.

“He had a mission to make sure the breeders were protected,” shared Delegate Wayne Clark. “He never gave up on that.”

Along with the HBPA and the Breeders Association, Funkhouser served on the boards of the West Virginia Breeder’s Classics, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and was a founding member and organizer of the Charles Town Racetrack Chaplaincy.

Son, John, shared that he saw his father as a visionary in seeing how beneficial the equine industry was to Jefferson County and to the state of West Virginia.

“He wanted this industry to thrive,” John said.

“There would be no horse racing in West Virginia without my dad,” John went on to say, commenting on all of the work that Randy Funkhouser did to protect the horsemen and ensure their continued livelihood after the onset of the gaming industry in the state.

“He always fought for the local horsemen,” John said.

Funkhouser was also an advocate of farming and agriculture.

“Randy and his family have been very supportive members of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau for many years,” said Laura Bowman, board member of the Farm Bureau and former HBPA board member.

“He will be sorely missed,” Bowman added. “I don’t know anyone who has fought harder for the betterment of the farming community as a whole and the horse racing industry specifically,” Bowman added.

Recently, Funkhouser successfully pursued another passion, creative writing, and published a book of poetry entitled “Shenandoah Valley Sketches.

In addition to son, John, Funkhouser is survived by his wife of 46 years, Clissy; son Joe Funkhouser, daughter Kate Brown (Mike) and grandson Clyde, as well as his sister, Ann Strite-Kurz.

Final arrangements are pending.

Over $1 Million In Virginia Breeders Fund Awards To Be Distributed From 2021 Victories

The Virginia Thoroughbred Association announced that $975,000 in Virginia Breeders award monies will be distributed to breeding farms in the state whose horses reached the winners circle in 2021 at any track in North America. That $975,000 figure is up $25,000 from 2020.  

Adding in $75,000 in Virginia Stallion awards — up $25,000 from 2020 as well — a total of $1,050,000 in bonus monies will be distributed via the Breeders Fund. A total of 46 different breeders will share in the prize pool, which comes from 161 winning Virginia-bred horses that accumulated purse earnings of $2,916,905. The bonus averaged 32% of each winning purse. As recently as 2019, that figure was 19%. 

The Virginia Breeders Fund is generated by one percent of every dollar wagered in Virginia on live racing and via OTB and ADW betting. Each year, the Virginia Racing Commission approves how the money in the Fund is allocated. A large portion is set aside for payments to breeders of registered Virginia-breds that win a race at any track in North America. There is a $25,000 cap on any single award.

Chess Chief (left) wins the 2021 Grade 2 New Orleans Classic by a head over Owendale (right). Photo by Amanda Hodges Weir.

Morgan’s Ford Farm, based in Front Royal, led the charge with $126,694 from 15 wins. Chess Chief, who scored a pair of stakes wins, and Bella Aurora, who connected in a single stake, were both key. The former, a 6-year-old Into Mischief horse, scored a maximum $25,000 award in winning the New Orleans Classic and a $19,027 bonus in the Tenacious Stakes. Both were held at Fair Grounds. Bella Aurora won the Interborough Stakes, good for $17,441 while Supply and Demand, with three wins in New York, produced over $32,000 in awards. 

Horacio Karamanos scored three wins on the opening day card including this one atop Passion Play in the Bert Allen Stakes.

Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III finished second in awards with $113,855 led by several key contributors — Passion Play, Virginia Beach and Attachment Rate. Passion Play’s victories in the Bert Allen and Edward P. Evans Stakes each returned a $19,027 award as did Virginia Beach’s win in the Camptown Stakes. Attachment Rate, a former Kentucky Derby participant, captured an $11,035 payday for winning a February allowance at Gulfstream.

Knockgriffin Farm did not have any five-digit award winners but did have 14 overall. Multiple victors Vincent Van Gogo and Gimme Some Mo collected three each and Mucho Mas and Mo Clare’s each had a pair. The combined total of $72,346 was good for third in the standings. Gimme Some Mo’s $9,944 award from a Churchill Downs claimer was tops and Shastee’s maiden special weight $8,562 bonus score at Gulfstream was next best. 

Vincent Van Gogo and rider Gerard Galligan after winning a jump race at Colonial Downs August 23.

Audley Farm Equine’s bonus tally of $69,353 came from just five wins, but three were $100,000 stakes. Determined Kingdom prevailed in the Jamestown, Tasting the Stars was best in the Nellie Mae Cox, and Urban Fairytale finished first in the Brookmeade. Each provided an extra $19,027 on top of purse money earned. 

Tasting the Stars won the Nellie Mae Cox Stakes at Colonial in 2021.

With Repo Rocks’ three wins and American Dubai’s two, Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin took fifth place with $69,166. She had seven triumphs in all but benefitted most from American Dubai’s dominating 7-length allowance win at Oaklawn with a $106,000 purse. Repo Rock’s hat trick of wins all took place in New York — a maiden special weight at Belmont followed by two winning allowance efforts at Aqueduct. 

Carlos Moore and Gillian Gordon-Moore’s bonus of $55,443 was good for sixth among breeders. All came from Steve Asmussen trained Boldor, who prevailed in three stakes last year — the Sam’s Town at Delta Downs, the King Cotton at Oaklawn and the Punch Line at Colonial. 

Boldor captured the 2021 Punch Line Stakes in New Kent.

Quest Realty’s $49,799 figure came from six different horses, two of which reached the winners circle three times each — Drosselmoon and Stay Out. Another trio had their picture taken twice — Jestful, Point of Grace and Stay In.

The William Backer Revocable Trust reached the $40,000 level thanks to Shaaz’s late season win in a $67,000 maiden special weight at Santa Anita. The Uncle Mo colt, a Bob Baffert trainee, was making his first lifetime start.

Shaaz scored a maiden special weight win at Santa Anita.

Tango Charlie’s three wins in 2021 helped Morgan’s Ford Farm and Godolphin reach $38,361 in bonus earnings. The 4-year-old Hard Spun gelding took a maiden claimer at Oaklawn followed by claiming wins at Ellis Park and Churchill. Oviatt Class chipped in with a maiden special weight victory at Del Mar, good for a $13,318 check.

Rounding out the top ten was Lazy Lane Farms with $37,659 from nine wins. Forloveofcountry was best on three different occasions while Dublin Yinz Money and Sing Along Suzy won twice each.     
A total of $75,000 in stallion awards were distributed among six owners with 11 winners and combined purse earnings of $250,920. 

Horses sired by Smallwood Farms’ Friend or Foe won three and took $39,248 of the stallion reward pool. Mr. Buff led the way again with two stakes scores in New York — the Stymie and Jazil. The 8-year-old gelding has amassed $1.4 million from 17 lifetime wins. 

Smallwood Farms’ Friend or Foe sired million dollar earner Mr. Buff.

Goodluckchuck, sired by Anne Louise Bonda’s Big Picture, won three races to produce a $14,481 bonus. The 6-year-old gelding won an allowance at Charles Town, a claimer at Timonium and a starter optional claimer at Laurel.

Third largest award went to Lady Olivia at North Cliff, whose $8,967 bonus came courtesy of Heart Light’s maiden special weight win at Colonial on August 2.  The 3-year-old Cosa Vera filly was best by a nose.

Other awards were received by Leanne Hester (Gone Clubbing), Ruxton Farm (Fierce Wind) and the late Sara Collette (Xenodon).

Virginia Breeder, Trainer Raleigh Colston Minor Passes Away

The following death notice appeared in the Charlottesville Daily Progress

Raleigh Colston Minor

April 3, 1967 – January 31, 2022

Raleigh Colston Minor, of Free Union, Virginia, passed away peacefully at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, on January 31, 2022, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born on April 3, 1967, in Charlottesville, the daughter of the late Charles Venable Minor Jr. and Susan Halsey Minor.

Raleigh Minor with a 2020 Munnings colt at Ruxton Farm.

Raleigh was a graduate of Albemarle High School and attended Pennsylvania State University. She was a spirited and devoted mother, and dedicated friend to many. Not only was she an all around athlete, she was an accomplished equestrian, breeder and trainer of jumpers and race horses working out of Ruxton Farm in Free Union. Raleigh was a passionate advocate for animals of all sizes; whether actively advocating for state legislation to prevent the inhumane treatment of horses, rescuing abandoned cats and dogs, or caring for an injured rabbit, nursing it back to health. She also generously provided this type of love and care to her friends in need.

First and foremost, Raleigh was a devoted mother to her son, Kellam, who was the light of her life. He brought such joy and meaning to her life and she loved him with all of her heart and soul.

Raleigh is survived not only by her son, John Kellam Minor, but her mother, Susan Halsey Minor; her brother, Halsey McLean Minor; her aunts, Carol Halsey Minetree, Betty Minor Cobb, and Louise Minor Sinclair, along with numerous uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. She is also survived by her very close and loving friends, Annathea and David McMath who stood by her until the very end. She was preceded in death by her father, Charles Venable Minor Jr. Her family loved Raleigh dearly and she will be missed by all who knew her.

The family would like to thank all the wonderful doctors and nurses at Martha Jefferson Hospital, who worked so tirelessly to treat and care for Raleigh: Dr. Andrew Romano, her primary care Oncologist, Laura, Anna, Christina, and all of the infusion nurses; Lauren, Dr. Mark Mandichak, Lizzy, Becca, and Meghan on the Covid floor; and Dr. Greg Wiaterek, Emily, Nina, and Grace in the ICU.

A “Celebration of Raleigh’s Life” will be held 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 12, 2022, at Ruxton Farm, 4634 Catterton Road, Free Union, VA 22046. A private graveside service will be held at a future date at the University of Virginia Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to The Wounded Warrior Project, the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA, or Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue, Inc.
Published by Daily Progress on Feb. 5, 2022.