Colonial Downs Adjusts To Spectator-Free Racing

(NEW KENT, Va.) – July 21, 2020 — In light of the unprecedented pandemic impacting all walks of life and industries, Colonial Downs Group, a subsidiary of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, announced today that it will alter course from hosting limited spectators to a “spectator-free” racing program for the 2020 race meet, which opens Monday, July 27.

The decision to conduct the meeting without spectators is at the request of the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC) and the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (V-HBPA).   The change to “spectator free” racing is out of an abundance of caution and enables Colonial Downs to focus extra care towards key operating areas, such as the jockeys’ quarters, paddock supervision, racing office and the stabling area.

Colonial Downs will host its summer season, spectator-free, from July 27 – September 2.

“We accept the position of our industry partners that adjusting to spectator-free racing is ultimately best for protecting the health and safety of our racing participants,” said John Marshall, Executive Vice President of Operations for Colonial Downs.  “Our team is prepared to deliver a quality racing product while ensuring a safely run meet, which is our chief objective.”

Colonial Downs joins the group of major racetracks in the region racing without spectators including Saratoga, Laurel Park and Penn National.  Spectators will not be permitted on the outdoor apron, grandstand seats and the 4th floor restaurant (1609) and suites will remain closed.

The 2020 Colonial Downs meeting will be conducted on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings, with first post time at 5:30 p.m. ET. The meeting will conclude on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

“Our horsemen fully support the decision to conduct racing without fans at Colonial this summer, otherwise the public health risk is too great,” said Frank Petramalo, Jr., Executive Director of V-HBPA. “There is a bright spot — all our races will be televised live on the TVG network, and people can wager on TVG or on other on-line sites.”

Two steeplechase races will be held every Monday at 4 PM and 4:40 PM prior to the pari-mutuel card which begins at 5:30 PM.

Fans are encouraged to watch Colonial Downs live on TVG channel 718 Xfinity, 399 Dish or 602 Direct TV, and wager by setting up an account on

As part of the protocols for jockeys participating in the upcoming meeting, Colonial Downs has established the following procedures:

  1. Jockeys must provide a negative Covid-19 test before arriving on Colonial Downs grounds for the first time, and the test must have been taken since last riding elsewhere.
  1. Jockeys who leave Colonial Downs to ride elsewhere, or enter another racetracks jockey’s quarters, will not be permitted to return to Colonial Downs unless they self-quarantine for 14 days and obtain and provide a negative Covid-19 test.

About Colonial Downs: In its first partial year of operations Colonial Downs Group opened four locations, created more than 1,000 jobs, and contributed more than $14.4 Million in taxes and racing industry payments in Virginia.  At Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums in Richmond, Hampton, New Kent, and Vinton we offer innovative historic horseracing (HHR) gaming technology and full card simulcasting. At Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent County, we offer live thoroughbred racing at the best turf track in the country and will run 18 days in 2020. Colonial Downs Group has made a $300 million investment in the Commonwealth of Virginia. According to a recent study, the company’s operations were poised to generate $26.1 million in state tax revenue, $17.9 million in local tax revenue, and $445 million in overall economic activity in Virginia in the year 2020, along with contributing $25 million annually to Virginia’s horse industry in future years. The Colonial Downs Group looks forward to reopening fully and achieving those goals moving forward.