Monthly Archives: August 2022

Colonial Downs, Virginia HBPA to Honor TAA on Virginia Derby Day

August 30, 2022 (Lexington, KY): Another successful Colonial Downs race meet will culminate on Virginia Derby Day, highlighted by a dedication to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).

The Kitten’s Joy Stakes (G3) will be presented by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance on Virginia Derby Day. A presentation of a TAA blanket and swag bag will be made to the winning connections following the running of the race.

“We’re thrilled to again partner with the TAA in sponsorship of the Kitten’s Joy Stakes,” said Colonial Downs Vice-President of Racing Operations, Jill Byrne. “We appreciate and value the importance of what the TAA provides to the industry and are happy to recognize their great efforts on our biggest day of the year, especially with a race named after one of the greatest Virginia Derby winners ever.”  

The TAA will host the Best Turned Out Horse awards sponsored by the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent Protection Agency (HBPA) for every stake race on the Sep. 6 card.

Winning grooms of the Best Turned Out Horse awards sponsored by the Virginia HBPA will receive a $100 cash prize and a TAA swag bag and will be streamed on the live simulcast feed at the New Kent, Virginia-based track.

“The Virginia HBPA is happy to sponsor and recognize the fine care that grooms provide our horses,” said Virginia HBPA Executive Director, Frank Petramalo Jr. “We at the Virginia HBPA are so appreciative of what the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and its accredited organizations provide for these horses after they retire.”

Initiated in 2019, Colonial Downs and the Virginia HBPA have each pledged $15 per start at the Colonial Downs meet to the TAA.

Colonial Downs and the Virginia HBPA combined to make a $50,000 donation to the TAA in 2021.

“Both Colonial Downs and the Virginia HBPA are staunch supporters of the TAA, and we are thankful for their recurring inclusion of the TAA on Virginia Derby Day,” said TAA President, Jeffrey Bloom. “We look forward to this event every year and the opportunity it provides to work alongside TAA supporting racetracks and horsemen’s groups to promote Thoroughbred aftercare.”

About Colonial Downs

Colonial Downs Group is a proud business operator in Virginia employing more than 1,000 team members in the Commonwealth, paying over $30 million in annual salaries, wages, and benefits. Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums® in Richmond, Hampton, New Kent, Vinton, and Dumfries offer innovative historic horseracing (HHR) gaming technology and full card simulcasting. Colonial Downs Group also recently opened a Rosie’s Game Room™ in Collinsville, which features a limited selection of some of their best HHR titles. Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent County hosts live thoroughbred racing on two nationally renowned surfaces – Secretariat Turf Course, the widest turf course in North America at 180 feet wide and on a 1 1/4-mile dirt track, second in length to only the world-famous Belmont Park. Colonial Downs Group has made a $300 million investment in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The company pays more than $32 million in annual state and local taxes plus an additional $12 million in racing industry payments annually. 

About the Virginia HBPA

The Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent Protection Agency is a non-profit organization whose members are owners and trainers licensed to race in Virginia by the Virginia Racing Commission. On their behalf it negotiates horsemen’s contracts with Colonial Downs and provides benevolent services for individuals working on the backside of the racetrack. The VHBPA is affiliated with the National HBPA in Lexington, Ky. To learn more about the VHBPA, visit

About the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

Based in Lexington, KY, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retrain, rehome, and retire Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding. Along with continued funding from its original partners Breeders’ Cup, The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, the TAA is supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, aftercare professionals, and other industry members. Since inception in 2012, the TAA has granted more than $24.5 million to accredited aftercare organizations. Currently 82 aftercare organizations and approximately 180 facilities across North America have been granted accreditation. To learn more about the TAA, visit

PHOTO: Suzie Picou-Oldham


Stacie Clark


Alexandra Kokka

Simply Super, Titoschangedmyluck Capture $150,000 VA-Restricted Stakes in New Kent

NEW KENT, Va. (Aug. 9, 2022) – Maxis Stable’s Simply Super ($5.00) passed odds on favorite Heldish inside the sixteenth pole to win the $150,000 Hickory Tree Stakes, and Matthew Schera and Lawrence Stable’s homebred Titoschangedmyluck ($29.80) split horses in deep stretch to capture the 5-furlong, $150,000 Keswick Stakes for 2-year-old fillies in co-featured Virginia Bred/Sired Virginia Certified stakes races Tuesday at Colonial Downs.

In the Hickory Tree, Simply Super, trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Horatio Karamanos, won his second race in four starts this year. A son of 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Super Saver out of So You Know by Jump Start, Simply Super completed the 5 furlongs over a fast track in 56.74.

Simply Super wins the $150,000 Hickory Tree Stakes August 9 at Colonial Downs (Coady Photography).

Heldish, the 4-5 favorite, broke on top in the eight-horse field, and saved ground along the rail going into the far turn. Simply Super came from fourth to second place at the top of the stretch, set his sights on Heldish, and eased by in the final yards.

“I saw the speed was with the four (Heldish). My horse broke okay, but the four quickly and of the gate, and I chased him to stay close,” said Karamanos. “ He (Simply Super) was a little lazy at the top of the stretch but he responded.”

Grand Escape finished third, followed by My Mamba in fourth.

This was the second time this meet that Karamanos and Maker combined to win a stakes race.  The duo won the Colonial Cup with Red Knight on July 27. 

Simply Super won on debut at Keeneland on April 20 in a 4 ½ furlong maiden special weight. In his most recent start, he finished fourth in the listed 6-furlong Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs on July 4.

In the Keswick, Titoschangedmyluck ($29.80) split horses in deep stretch and sped to a 2 1/2-length victory over Rebel Consort. Trained by James Lawrence II and ridden by Jeiron Barbosa, Titoschangedmyluck broke her maiden in her third start.

Titoschangedmyluck was best in the $150,000 Keswick Stakes (Coady Photography).

Facing seven rivals, Titoschangedmyluck broke well and stayed in fourth on the backstretch while Bee Mountain set the pace up front through the stretch, followed by 35-1 Rebel Consort. As Bee Mountain faded, Barbosa found a space between the two leaders in the final furlong to post a 2 ½ length victory over Rebel Consort, with Livana finishing in third, Cocktail Dreaming in fourth and Bee Mountain in fifth.

A daughter of Social Inclusion out of Tiztito by Tiznow, Titoschangedmyluck completed the 5 furlongs in 58.59 over a fast track.

“She’s always shown me a lot of talent,” said Lawrence. “She really blossomed so I wanted to give her a chance here. It’s not every time that you can run for $150,000.”

Buoyed by an $82,000 carryover in the Pick 5, an additional $761,373 was bet into the wager on Tuesday and combined with the other offerings on the race led to a total of $1,113,614, bet into the sixth race on August 9 at Colonial Downs. That total is the highest non-Virginia Derby single race pool in the history of the New Kent, Virginia racetrack.

The New Kent, Virginia, track’s Pick 5 was altered this year to offer a carryover pool when nobody selects all five winners in the sequence which covers the last five races daily. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent minimum wager and offers a low 12% takeout rate.

Total handle on the 10-race card was $4,158,873.

Colonial Downs’ Average Daily Wagering Up 30 Percent In 2022

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Spearheaded by competitive fields on both of its racing surfaces and continued high interest in its Pick 5 wager, Colonial Downs has announced that the average all-sources wagering through the first five weeks of the 27-day Colonial Downs presented by Woodford Reserve race meeting is up 30.7 percent over the same corresponding time period of the 2021 meet.

Now in its fourth year under the management of the Colonial Downs Group and ownership of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, Colonial Downs has registered a daily all-sources average handle of $2,625,248 through the first 15 days of the meeting, compared to the daily all-sources wagering handle of $2,008,092 through the first 15 days of the 2021 meeting.

Colonial Downs is offering a record of more than $600,000 in daily average purses for the season, attracting horsemen and horsewomen from various parts of the nation to the New Kent facility for the daily Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon racing programs.

Additionally, horseplayers wagering on the Colonial Downs races have taken a liking to the Pick 5 wager, which last week produced an $82,000 carryover into the Aug. 9 race card leading to $761,000 in new money wagered the following day. The Pick 5 at Colonial Downs, a 50-cent minimum wager, has a take-out rate of 12%, which is one of the lowest take outs offered by any racing facility in the U.S. The wager was altered this year to offer a carryover pool when no one selects all five winners in the sequence which covers the last five races daily.

A total of $1,113,614 was bet into the sixth race on Aug. 9 at Colonial Downs, which is the highest non-Virginia Derby single race pool in the history of the track and contributed to a meet-high daily handle of $4,158,874.

“We are delighted with the response thus far from fans from around the country who are enthusiastically wagering on our high-quality racing product, featuring horses from some of racing’s most familiar trainers and competition among top jockeys,” said Jill Byrne, Colonial Downs Vice President of Racing Operations. “Our Pick 5 has been wildly successful since we reduced takeout to 12% on the bet this year. We look forward to continued success for the second half of the meet resuming on August 15.”

Colonial has also been participating in the Monday Mid-Atlantic Pick 4 in conjunction with Monmouth Park. The 50-cent wager includes two races each from Colonial and Monmouth Park.

Colonial continues to be one of the nation’s most horsemen-friendly racetracks, proven by its innovative meet-long horsemen incentives branded as “Every Race, Every Day.” As a bonus, all owners are guaranteed $1,000 per start or their share of the purse money, and all trainers will receive $300 per start as recognition for loyal participation every race, every day. In recognition of horse welfare, Colonial Downs will contribute $15 from each starter in every race to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, which is matched by another $15 per horse contribution by the Virginia HBPA.

At the halfway point, jockey Jareth Loveberry and trainer Larry Rivelli – each competing at Colonial for the first time – lead their respective standings. Sarah and Reid Nagle’s Big Lick Farm is leading owner through the first five weeks of racing.

The second half of the meet gets off to a tremendous start with four MATCH Series stakes races headlining a solid Tuesday, Aug. 16, card while the $300,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby (G3) for 3-year-olds and the $200,000 Virginia Oaks for 3-year-fillies are both scheduled for Sept. 6.

Revitalized Colonial Downs Takes Turn in Spotlight

The following article appeared on August 2 and was written by Frank Angst.

It’s not Saratoga Race Course or Del Mar, but in a crowded summer racing schedule Colonial Downs most assuredly is making some noise thanks to purses boosted by historical horse racing, a well-tailored schedule, and a continued emphasis on turf racing.

This is the fourth year Colonial has run under the management of Colonial Downs Group and owner Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, the team that brought the New Kent, Va., track back to life in 2019 after Thoroughbred racing was halted for six years as horsemen and former owner Jeffrey Jacobs failed to reach an agreement on purses and race dates.

Passion Play (inside) captures the 2021 Edward P. Evans Stakes at Colonial Downs (Coady Photography)

When Colonial opened in 1997, its original good idea was to offer mostly turf racing on its two turf courses—leading to large fields that are attractive to bettors. That idea continues to pay dividends, but now Virginia’s lone track also is the latest success story for HHR—a form of pari-mutuel wagering through machines that closely resemble slot machines.

In June HHR machines handled $331 million in Virginia—more than three times the $88 million wagered in June 2019 and up 39% from the corresponding month last year. That first increase can be attributed to more HHR outlets being added in the state, and the latter number suggests the games are continuing to catch on with players. 

The potential for continued growth in HHR in the state played a role in Churchill Downs Inc. entering into a purchase agreement in February to acquire substantially all of the assets of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment for $2.485 billion, pending the competition of regulatory approvals.

HHR interest has helped boost purses at Colonial, which reached $8,614,800 when the track returned to racing in 2019. Last year that purse total was $11,517,500—up 34% from 2019. This year the track intends to offer $600,000 in average daily purses—an arrangement that should see Colonial award about $16.2 million at this year’s meet, which has been expanded by six race days to 27 dates. Those dates could grow further when more HHR games are added in Virginia.

Colonial’s Secretariat Turf Course is 180 feet wide (Coady Photography).

Colonial races on a Monday-Wednesday schedule, a slate that avoids confrontation with big summer tracks like Saratoga and Del Mar.

“In an ultra-competitive racing environment, we look forward to another season with bigger purses and greater incentives for our horsemen and industry stakeholders toward increased participation in the 2022 season,” Colonial’s vice president of racing operations Jill Byrne said ahead of the meet. “Our team is excited to present a wide-ranging program of racing opportunities on our outstanding racing surfaces.”

Going into the meet, John Marshall, executive vice president of operations for Colonial, said cooperation also has keyed the track’s growth.

“We are extremely proud of our past performances and the opportunity to build upon our enormous success positioning Colonial Downs as one of the nation’s elite boutique race meetings for horsemen and fans alike,” Marshall said. “The Virginia Equine Alliance and the Virginia HPBA also have provided the commitment and support for our cause to revitalize racing in Virginia and continue its growth and prosperity.”

With plenty of familiar Mid-Atlantic horsemen entering horses, as well as trainers displaced from the shuttered Arlington International Racecourse like Chris Block and Larry Rivelli, this year’s meet has averaged 8.19 starters per race—up slightly from the 8.1 average last year.

With this racing success, Virginia should hopefully soon see a boost in breeding. Just 20 years ago, Virginia’s foal crop was 463, but in 2020 that number fell to 103. And the number of mares bred to Virginia stallions in 2021 was just 19, down from 550 in 2002.