Nominations Set for Colonial Downs’ Commonwealth Champions Day on September 2  

Nominations closed August 18 for five all-turf stakes on the Commonwealth Champions Day program scheduled for Saturday, September 2 at Colonial Downs that will showcase Virginia-bred, -sired and -certified horses with $725,000 in purse money on the line. 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 and/or -sired 2-year-olds. 

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

The top three finishers in the 2022 Camptown are among the 31 fillies and mares that nominated to the 2023 edition which will be contested at 5½ 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 Pimlico’s The Very One Stakes on May 19. The Michael Trombetta trainee has $324,729 in earnings. DARRS Inc.’s Rambert, who finished second to Spun Glass, and Mary Slade’s Island Philo who was third, is nominated too.

Other notable Camptown nominations include D. Hatman Thoroughbreds’ Determined Jester, winner of the 2022 Rosie’s Stakes and a turf allowance earlier this month, both of which took place at the New Kent track. Larry Johnson’s Hollywood Walk has won a Colonial turf allowance sprint in each of the last two years. Deborah Greene and Hamilton Smith’s Luna Belle may be the most intriguing of the nominees. The 4-year-old Great Notion filly reeled off five consecutive dirt stakes wins at Laurel between December 2021 and April 6 last year before finishing 11th in the 2022 G2 Black Eyed Susan Stakes. She has not competed since but still boasts a nominee-high bankroll of $381,570.

Determined Jester was best in the 2022 Exacta Systems Rosie’s Stakes (Coady Photography)

The Bert Allen Stakes attracted 20 nominations including Larry Johnson and RDM Racing Stable’s Sky’s Not Falling who sports a robust $294,480 turf bankroll. The 5-year-old Seville gelding won the $100,000 Maryland Million Turf Sprint Stakes last October and has been stakes placed twice at Colonial. 

Jeremy Brooks’ Wow Whata Summer won last year’s G2 Penn Mile Stakes and after that 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 nominated is Ten Strike Racing’s Alex Joon who captured the Edward P. Evans Stakes by three lengths July 15 at Colonial. The 6-year-old Flatter gelding also won an allowance over the same New Kent grass course last summer.  

Alex Joon kicked off the 2023 Colonial Downs meet with a win in the Edward P. Evans Stakes (Coady Photography).

The Bert Allen is for horses aged three-and-up at 1-1/16 miles.   

The winner of last year’s Nellie Mae Cox Stakes and the top four finishers from the current meet’s Brookmeade Stakes have all nominated to the 2023 Cox Stakes along with 23 other fillies and mares who will vie 1-1/16 miles. 

Windylea Farm’s Tass edged O’Sullivan Farms’ Unruly Julie by a nose in a thrilling 2022 edition and both have nominated again. The former is a Rob Atras trainee with $350,919 in earnings while the latter is conditioned by Javier Contreras and is fresh off a third-place finish in a $90,000 allowance at Colonial August 2. 

#11 Tass edges Unruly Julie to win the 2022 Nellie Mae Cox Stakes (Coady Photography).

Country Life Farm’s Galilei prevailed in the July 15 Brookmeade while Susan Moulton’s Tufani, Larry Johnson’s Continentalcongres and Audley Farm Stable’s Bode’s Heritage finished next in line. All four have been nominated.

A total of 28 horses aged three-and-up have been nominated for 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 editions of the Punch Line. The latter won the Meadow Stable Stakes in 2021 and was a runner-up in last year’s Van Clief.

Boldor wins the 2021 Punch Line Stakes at Colonial (Coady Photography).

Capping off the stakes five-pack is the Jamestown, which has drawn 17 nominations that include a mix of 10 fillies and seven male juveniles. Two of the freshmen 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.