Monthly Archives: September 2023

Foxfield Fall Races Return to Charlottesville

Originally posted on on September 29

Following a two-year hiatus, fall steeplechasing resumes at historic Charlottesville, Va., for the second straight year on Sunday.

After years of decline, the meet was put on hold in order to reimagine the event. During that time new leadership was put in place, leading to partnerships with charitable organizations, major improvements to the course and grounds, a de-emphasis on the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and a commitment to becoming a good neighbor to the community.

This year’s meet will be bigger and better than ever, with six races worth $140,000 on the program, representing a substantial boost over last year’s $95,000 card.

The Foxfield card consists of six races, highlighted by a $35,000 handicap for horses rated at 120 or less. The other races are a $15,000 maiden claiming hurdle; $30,000 maiden hurdle for fillies and mares; $30,000 maiden hurdle for three-year-olds; $25,000 handicap for horses rated at 110 or less; and a training race on the flat at 1 ¼ miles.

Click here for complete entries: Entries

First race post time is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 9:30 a.m., with activities starting at 10 a.m. For a full schedule of the day’s events, food, and vendors, click here:

If you can’t make it to the races, be sure to watch the live stream, sponsored by Brown Advisory, at

Rosie’s gaming Emporium Now Open in Emporia, VA

Originally Posted on on 9/25/2023

Grand Opening celebrations included donation of $25,000 to local non-profit organizations.

At a ceremonial outdoor ribbon cutting, Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (NASDAQ: CHDN) announced om Monday that Rosie’s Gaming Emporium (“Rosie’s) is now open in Emporia. Rosie’s, located on West Atlantic Street and convenient to Interstate 95, features 150 slots-like gaming machines, simulcast horse racing, a restaurant and bar. At the event, Rosie’s displayed its commitment to the community by donating $25,000 to five (5) local charities: the Family YMCA of Emporia/Greenville, Community Youth Center, Ltd, Emporia Greenville Recreation Association, Communities in Schools of Virginia and H.E.A.R Me Out Inc.

The facility features an OTB with live racing from across the country.

Jack Sours, Vice President of Gaming Operations for CDI, stated, “It is very exciting to be opening the seventh Rosie’s in Virginia. The opening of this Rosie’s adds to our tremendous success in the state and takes us to the Southern border for the first time. The Emporia location builds on our commitment to provide more than one thousand jobs and generate significant tax revenues across the Commonwealth by bringing together gaming enthusiasts and the community to experience an exciting and fun activity.”

Jeremy Callahan, General Manager at the Emporia location, said, “I am so pleased to be part of the expansion of Rosie’s in Virginia. We have built a team that is fully committed to delivering a fun experience and economic development to the Emporia community and we are ready to play!”

Rosie’s in Emporia will be open Sunday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. It will create more than 100 local jobs and generate approximately $1 million in annual tax revenue for the City of Emporia.

Since opening in Virginia just five years ago, Rosie’s and Colonial Downs have invested more than $400 million in the Commonwealth; created over 1200 new jobs; and now contribute $54 million a year in state and local tax revenue.

A Pair of Timbercreek Farm’s Virginia-Certified Fillies dominate the 2023 Virginia Breeders Fund Yearling Futurity

The 22nd annual Virginia Breeders Fund Yearling Futurity was held September 5 at the Warrenton Horse Show Grounds which again saw solid participation from over twenty different breeders who were competing for $40,000 in awards.

The prize money was distributed that day in each of four classes — VA-Bred/Sired yearling colts/geldings, VA-Bred/Sired yearling fillies, VA-Certified colts/geldings and VA-Certified fillies. Grooms were recognized as well with awards in each division and in the championship class. 

2023 Yearling Futurity Grand Champion is an Un-named bay, owned by Sara Miller (in the hat) and Timbercreek Farm, bred by Remount Thoroughbreds LLC. Pictured with Judge Brittany Russell and the VEA’s Jeb Hannum

The event was judged by renowned Maryland trainer Brittany Russell, who compared each entrant’s confirmation, quality, substance and suitability to become racehorses. The top two finishers in each of the four classes returned to compete for Futurity Grand Champion and Champion Reserve honors.  

The Grand Champion, winner of the Virginia Certified Fillies class, was a 2022 Un-named bay by Vino Rosso out of Astral Favor by Astrology. She is owned by Timbercreek Farm’s Sara Miller. Reserve Champion honors went to the second-place finisher in the same category —- an Un-named bay by Practical Joke out of Empire Lady by Empire Maker. Also owned by Sara Miller and Timbercreek Farm, and bred by Magic Cap Stables LLC

Finishing third in the Certified Fillies category was Philanthropic 22 by This Time Out (Ann Backer/ Smitten Farm) followed by a 2022 Un-named bay by Holy Boss Out (Charles Clement). Rounding out the class was Un-named bay by Great Notion (Brandon Mackey/ Dark Hollow Farm & John Foster), an Un-named bay by Mo Town (Alfred Smithwick/ Anzac LLC/ Respite Farm &Terlep), Street Expectation by Street Magician (Diana McClure/ DMC Racing Stables), an Un-named bay by Always Dreaming (Alfred Smithwick/ Chc Inc), a 2022 Un-named bay by Speightster (Tommy Fahrney/ Amy H. Daney Bloodstock), Nancy’s Notion by Great Notion (Nancy B. Heil), an Un-named bay by Jimmy Creed (Joan Fontana/ Country Life Farm & Sagamoon LLC), and an Un-named bay by Always Dreaming (Joan Fontana/ Don Alberto Corp)

The Virginia-Bred/Sired Colts & Gelding class winner was Nancie’s Boy by Unified out of Jumpin’ Nancy by Jump Start. Owned and Bred by Quest Realty and Daniel Wukich. Second place finisher was Se Thar Barr by The Factor out of Embarr by Royal Academy. Owned and bred by Susan Cooney. Third was a 2022 Un-named dark bay by Maclean’s Music (R. Larry Johnson). Finishing out the class was Go to Bingo by Holy Boss (Helen H. Masek), Buthespretty by Paynter (Virginia Equine PLLC/ Douglas K. Daniels DVM), Blackthorne Brusca by Summer Front (Quest Realty/ Daniel Wukich), a 2022 Un-named dark bay by Kobe’s Back (Becky Lavin), Darbyfullofblarney by Mr. Prankster (Diana McClure/ DMC Racing Stables LLC), and Into Reality by Tom’s d’Etat (Machmer Hall/ Picturesque Farm)  

 2022 Yearling Futurity Reserve Champion is an Un-named bay, owned by Sara Miller (in the black dress) and Timbercreek Farm, bred by Magic Cap Stables, LLC, pictured with VTA Executive Director Debbie Easter and judge Brittany Russell

 The Virginia-Bred/Sired Fillies class was won by a 2022 Un-named bay by McKinzie out of the Sky Cooper mare by Petionville.  Owned and bred by R. Larry Johnson. Runner-up was a 2022 Un-named Gray or Roan by Cupid, out of Hen House. The Filly is owned and bred by Elise W. Kendall.  Friendly Chase by Friend or Foe was third (Phyliss C Jones). The rest of the class included an Un-named bay by War of Will (Morgan’s Ford Farm), Dame’s Rocket by Karakonite (Althea Richards), a 2022 Un-named Gray or Roan by Frosted (Morgan’s Ford Farm), Sunflower State by Divining Rod (Virginia Equine PLLC/ Douglas K. Daniels, DVM), We’re Just Friends (Diana McClure/ DMC Racing Stables), and Louvar by Golden Years (Bruce B Collette).

In the Virginia-Certified Colt/Gelding class, a 2022 Un-named chestnut by Gormley prevailed over seven others. Owned by Joni Fontana/ Sugarland LLC Equine Etiquette and bred by Gmbracstables LLC, the ribbon earner is out of Tell a Secret by British Blue. Runner-up was an Un-named chestnut by Tapiture owned by Sara Miller/Timbercreek Farm and bred by Haymarket Farm LLC. Blessings Bestowed was third (C. Allen Johnson) followed by an Un-named bay by Rowayton (Joni Fontana/Sugarland LLC Equine Etiquette). Finishing out the class was an Un-named Chestnut by Gormley (Alfred Smithwick), Wild as Fridaynite by First Mondays (Diana McClure/ DMC Racing Stables LLC), a 2022 Un-named dark bay by Street Boss (Sara Miller/ Timbercreek Farm/ Theta Holding I, Inc), and an Un-named bay by Peace and Justice (Joan Fontana/ Sugarland LLC Equine Etiquette).

Shenandoah Downs Prepares to Usher In 7-Week Fall Harness Racing Season this Saturday September 16

Shenandoah Downs will open its eighth fall season of pari-mutuel harness racing on Saturday September 16 at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock and continue its 7-week “Harness the Mountain Magic” campaign through October 29. Racing will take place every Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM. The track conducted a 7-week spring meet for the first time earlier this year.

Meet highlight is the 26th running of the $640,000 (est.) Virginia Breeder’s Championships which will close out the season on Sunday October 29. Two and three-year-old pacers and trotters of both sexes will compete in eight divisional title bouts, each worth a minimum $80,000 purse. The “Day of Champions” event has been conducted at Colonial Downs from 1998-2014, at Oak Ridge Racecourse in 2015 and at Shenandoah Downs since.   

Two premium giveaway days are planned. Fans that attend opening day festivities will receive a free T-Shirt commemorating 137 years of harness racing in Woodstock while those that come to the October 21 Armed Forces Day promotion will get a free Shenandoah Downs Camouflage Baseball Cap. 

Small animals will get their moment in the spotlight again this fall. A trio of miniature horse races will complement pari-mutuel action on Sunday October 8 while the popular wiener dog races will return the following Sunday, October 15.

Regional bands like the Skillbilly’s, Seven Bends Band, River’s Edge, Surf Jaguars and Jake Johnson/Chris Howerton duo will perform on select afternoons during the races. A new trackside karoake promotion will make its debut on Saturday September 23.

The track will also host a series of double seater sulky races throughout the fall featuring first responders, war veterans and breast cancer survivors.    

The Shenandoah simulcast signal will be streamed on Dish-TV so fans around the country can wager Virginia races at their favorite track or simulcast outlet, and online via Twinspires, TVG, Xpressbet and NYRAbets. Free Trackmaster past performance programs along with handicapper “Derby Bill Watson’s” Tip Sheet will be available at

Parking and admission are always free and the races are family friendly. The track is located at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds at I-81, Exit 283 in Woodstock, halfway between Harrisonburg and Winchester. Complete meet details are available at

Horsemen should note that entries for each weekend’s race cards are due the Tuesday morning prior. A total of $715,000 in OverNite purse money will be available for the 14-day meet — an average of over $51,000 per day. In addition, $640,000 in purses will be dedicated to Virginia Breeder’s 2 and 3-year-old Championship races, $336,000 to Breeder’s eliminations and $80,000 to aged Breeder’s divisional races. Any questions can be directed to the race office at 540-459-4807 or by e-mail to   

Karamanos, Chambeau Among the Stars on Commonwealth Champions Day Sept. 2 at Colonial Downs

The best and brightest horses representing the Virginia breeding and certified program were on display September 2 in Commonwealth Champions Day at Colonial Downs. Five stakes for varying ages and over multiple distances were presented as part of a 10-race card at the New Kent track. Among the top performances were a stakes riding double for jockey Horacio Karamanos and a second stakes win of the meet for Chambeau and Determined Kingdom.

Passion Play (middle) edges Wow Whata Summer (inside) and Palio (outside) in a thrilling Bert Allen Stakes (Coady Photography).

In the first of the day’s stakes events, Reilly McDonald’s Passion Play ($6.20, $2.80 and $2.10) took the lead on the far turn and was relentless in holding off the late challenges from DARRS, Inc.’s Palio and Jeremy Brooks’ Wow Whata Summer to prevail by a neck in the $131,500 Bert Allen Stakes. Horacio Karamanos was aboard the Virginia-bred Mary Eppler-trained son of Hold Me Back who covered the 1-1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:43.67. The win was the sixth in 29 starts for the 7-year-old gelding who earned $90,000 for the effort to boost his lifetime bankroll to $327,497.

Jockey Horacio Karamanos, after winning the Bert Allen Stakes.

“This horse deserved to win,” said Karamanos, who has ridden Passion Play in nine of his last 10 starts including a win in the 2021 edition of this race. “He always tries. His last race (a seventh-place finish) was so tough for him. Today, I just wanted him to break ok and see how the race unfolded. After a couple others went to the front, I sat back a bit and relaxed until the eighth pole. When I asked him, he fired so nicely all the way to the wire.”

Unruly Julie and jockey Wesley Ho were best in the Nellie Mae Cox Stakes (Coady Photography).

O’Sullivan Farms’ Unruly Julie ($30.40, $10 and $5.60) changed tactics and ran to a front-stepping, half-length tally over Naval Empire in the $105,500 Nellie Mae Cox Stakes under jockey Wesley Ho. The Javier Contrerastrained mare ran the 1-1/16 miles in 1:42.25 to score her seventh victory from 36 trips to the post. She added $60,000 to her lifetime earnings which now stand at $225,819.

“She’s been training the best she ever has. She ran in this race last year (finishing second). Coming into this race she’s really been a different horse. Honestly, she took me to the lead,” Ho said when asked about the change in running style. “She was so keen in taking the lead, she pulled me there. I just tried to save as much as I could for the stretch run and she still gave me everything she had. I’d have rather been mid-pack but she had other ideas today.”

Determined Kingdom won the Meadow Stables Stakes Sept. 2 — his second stakes win of the 2023 summer meet at Colonial (Coady Photography).

D Hatman Thoroughbreds and Kingdom Bloodstock, Inc.’s Determined Kingdom ($3.60, $2.60 and $2.40) improved from a sixth-place finish in the 2022 edition of the Meadow Stable Stakes to notch a wire-to-wire neck victory as the 4-5 favorite in the $130,000 2023 renewal of the 5½-furlong dash. Victor Carrasco rode the gelded son of Animal Kingdom for trainer and co-owner Phil Schoenthal who sprinted the distance in 1:02.08.

Determined Kingdom’s winning connections celebrate in the winner’s circle after the Meadow Stable win (Coady photography).

“He’s certainly taken a step forward as a 4-year-old,” Schoenthal said. “He’s a lot keener horse. It’s a beautiful thing to have a Virginia-bred who loves the grass at Colonial. We’ll give him a couple of starts in the fall and then turn him out on the farm like we do with all our grass horses. As long he’s doing good we’ll make this a regular stop every year.”

The Meadow Stable was the sixth win in 18 starts for Determined Kingdom, who previously won the Punch Line here in July. The $90,000 winner’s share Saturday elevated his earnings to $442,189.

Low Mileage, one of six fillies in the 8-horse Jamestown field of 2-year-olds, prevailed with Jevian Toldeo up top (Coady Photography).

Bird Mobberly LLC’s Low Mileage ($8.40, $4.60 and $3) rallied along the rail to take command mid-stretch and draw off to a 3¼-length victory in the $125,000 Jamestown Stakes for Virginia-bred/sired 2-year-olds. Jevian Toledo was aboard the John Salzman trainee who recorded his first stakes tally and second win in four starts overall. The daughter of Mineshaft covered the 5½-furlongs in 1:04.22 and earned $75,000 for the score to push her bankroll to $121,500.

Chambeau won her second stakes of the Colonial Downs summer season in capturing the Camptown (Coady Photography).

Wrapping up the stakes action was the $130,000 Camptown Stakes which was taken by Sam English II’s Chambeau ($4.60, $3 and $2.40) who picked up her third win of the season after capturing the Tyson Gilpin/Glenn Petty Stakes in July and an allowance race last week.

Sam English II with the Camptown Stakes trophy. His Chambeau won the ’23 edition.

“I wasn’t as confident today as I was last week,” English said. “We only started her (for the first time) as a 5-year-old, and she’s only run eight times in her life. She’s a special horse.”

Virginia Derby to Run on a Saturday This Year; Big Crowd Expected for Day of Family Fun

Lots of excitement, special features, and premier horse racing are on tap for the 20th running of the New Kent County Virginia Derby on Saturday, September 9. The nation’s top 3-year-old turf horses will compete on the widest turf course in North America. The day will be highlighted by the Grade 3, $500,000 Virginia Derby® for 3-year-olds ($200,000 more than last year). Other stakes races will include the $250,000 Woodford Reserve Virginia Oaks®, $150,000 Korbel Da Hoss Stakes, $150,000 Biosaphe Colonial Cup, $125,000 Exacta Systems Rosie’s Stakes, and $125,000 TAA Kitten’s Joy Stakes. A total of more than $1.3 million dollars will be up for grabs on Virginia Derby Day. Post time is 1:30 p.m. 

Kate Tweedy, daughter of Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery, looks out over the Secretariat Turf Course in New Kent.

Plenty of family friendly entertainment will be available on the grounds including pony rides, a petting zoo, strolling entertainment, face painter, juggler/magician & stilt walker. Fans can also enjoy the magnificent bronze Secretariat statue at Colonial Downs on Derby Day along with the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame’s Traveling Exhibit. The exhibit will be open during 4 consecutive days of racing at Colonial Downs starting Wednesday, September 6 and culminating on Derby Day, Saturday, September 9.

All six turf stakes will be contested over the Secretariat Turf Course.

“It has been a terrific season for Colonial Downs under the new ownership of Churchill Downs. We are proud of providing a high-level racing product along with added entertainment elements to Virginians this summer.,” said Frank Hopf, senior director of racing operations at Colonial Downs. “We look forward to concluding our successful meet with Virginia Derby Day on September 9th.”

Additional seating for Derby Day will be available in the banquet room. General admission and parking are free. For more information on 2023 Colonial Downs Racing presented by Woodford Reserve visit

Pair of 12-Horse Fields to Highlight Colonial Downs’ Commonwealth Champions Day Card Sept. 2  

Fields for five all-turf stakes — that will showcase Virginia-bred, -sired and -certified horses — are set to go this Saturday (Sept. 2) in the newly named Commonwealth Champions Day program at Colonial Downs. A total of $725,000 in purse money will be up for grabs between the five. Four of the $150,000 stakes — the Camptown, Bert Allen, Meadow Stable and Nellie Mae Cox — are open to horses in the three categories noted while the $125,000 Jamestown is for Virginia-bred/sired 2-year-olds.  

The top three finishers in the 2022 Camptown are among a field of 12 fillies and mares in the 2023 edition which will be contested at 5-1/2 furlongs. Larry Johnson’s Spun Glass won last year’s Camptown and recently was a close second in the Jameela Stakes at Laurel July 1 and The Very One Stakes at Pimlico May 19. The Michael Trombetta trainee has $324,729 in earnings. 

Spun Glass wins the 2022 Camptown Stakes at Colonial Downs (Coady Photography).

DARRS Inc.’s Rambert finished second to Spun Glass in 2022 and has won two of three since in expanding on a consistent career. The Michael Stidham trainee has three wins and four seconds in eight starts with $145,600 in earnings. Mary Slade’s Island Philo, third in last year’s Camptown, leaves from gate position one in the ninth race rematch. 

The runner-up in last year’s Nellie Mae Cox Stakes and the top three finishers from the current meet’s Brookmeade Stakes are in a field of twelve fillies and mares who will vie 1-1/16th miles in the Nellie Mae Cox’s sixth race. 

O’Sullivan Farms’ Unruly Julie lost by a nose to Tass in a thrilling 2022 edition. The 7-year-old The Factor mare is conditioned by Javier Contreras and is fresh off a third-place finish in a $90,000 allowance at Colonial August 2. 

Galilei prevails in the 2023 Brookmeade Stakes at Colonial Downs (Coady Photography)

Country Life Farm’s Galilei, Susan Moulton’s Tufani and Larry Johnson’s Continentalcongres finished one-two-three in the July 15 Brookmeade. Three-year-old Distorted Humor filly Tufani — betting choice in the stakes —had back-to-back wins leading up to the Brookmeade while Continentalcongres powered home to an eleven length allowance score at Colonial three weeks afterwards. 

Dewberry Thoroughbred’s Princess Theorem enters with the most stakes experience of the dozen. The 5-year-old Nyquist mare chocked up  respective third and fourth place finishes in a pair of G3 stakes earlier this year in the Honey Fox at Gulfstream and the Galorette at Pimlico.  .         

The Bert Allen Stakes attracted six entries including Jeremy Brooks’ Wow Whata Summer who won last year’s G2 Penn Mile Stakes and after, competed in the G3 Virginia Derby where he finished ninth. The 4-year-old Summer Front gelding took fourth in Colonial’s Kitten’s Joy Stakes as a 2-year-old. 

Also in-to-go are a pair of horses that have racked up three wins each at Colonial — DARRS’ Palio and Reilley McDonald’s Passion Play. The former is fresh off a turf allowance win in New Kent August 2 while the latter captured the Allen Stakes in 2021. The Bert Allen, for horses aged three-and-up, will be contested 1-1/16th miles as the second race.   

Virginia-bred Boldor shown outside his stall in the Colonial Downs barn area August 29.

A field of seven horses aged three-and-up will battle in the Meadow Stable Stakes sprint including the top two finishers from the 2022 renewal — $570,683 earner Boldor and trainer Madison Meyers’ Grateful Bred. The former is owned by Ed Orr and Susie Orr and has reached the winners circle in two other Virginia-bred stakes — the 2021 and 2019 Punch Line’s. The latter won the Meadow Stable Stakes in 2021 and was a runner-up in last year’s Van Clief.

The Meadow Stable, carded as race seven, is 5-1/2 furlongs.

Capping off the stakes five-pack is the Jamestown which has drawn eight 2-year-olds that include a mix of six fillies and two colts. Of the eight, two have reached the winners circle so far — Bird Mobberley’s Low Mileage and Mary Lightner’s Afterneath. The first, a Mineshaft filly, registered a maiden special weight victory on the dirt May 5 at Laurel while the latter won a maiden claimer over Colonial’s turf August 11. The Jamestown has been programmed as the eighth race.