Frank Petramalo’s article for the September Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred will be a Q&A about the 2009 Colonial Downs’ meet. We don’t want to scoop the magazine, but we know we will hear this question much sooner than later, so here’s a preview and some additional comments:

Question: Why weren’t there more overnight races for Virginia breds?

Answer: Racing Secretary Tyler Picklesimer wrote twenty races restricted to Virginia breds, including maiden and claiming races on the turf and dirt, both short and long. Only four of the races, all for maidens, attracted sufficient entries (between 9 and 13) to be carded. The other races drew from zero to six entries and were not used.

In addition to the four overnights for maidens seven stakes races for Virginia breds were carded.

This is a question we get every year, and the answer is very consistent. There is a sufficient number of Va-breds to fill some maiden races, but not enough to fill overnight races, and the issue isn’t the Racing Secretary or the condition book it’s the paltry number of Virginia-bred foals born in 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, etc…

In addition, one has to remember that the 100% Owners Bonus and the restricted race programs run at slightly cross purposes. The 100% Bonus motivates owners/trainers to run in open company where there earning power is much greater. The dilemma becomes “Do I want more money against more competition in the open race or less money against less competition in the restricted race?”

The answer has been pretty consistently “more and more.” This was particularly true last year when the 100% bonus was applied to the purses for first through six.

At the end of the day, everybody wants a race for their horse, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Everybody’s gotta eat! But, unfortunately with a foal population running between 350 to 300 a year for the various crops of Virginia-breds racing at Colonial Downs, there are simply not enough horses to fill overnight races.

We’ve been trying since 1997…we couldn’t do it then (’97, ’98 and ’99) when I was in the racing office every day, and it looks like they still can’t get it done now…