The Colonial Downs “Scene” As Horses Begin to Ship in & Training Begins

Colonial Downs is set to begin its first season of thoroughbred racing under the ownership of Churchill Downs on Thursday July 13! The 9-week season in New Kent will continue through September 9 with racing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 1:30 PM. In preparation for the meet, the stable area opened June 20 and training began June 23. Come opening day, some 850 horses are expected to fill the barn area.

The following pictures are from the week the stable area opened and training began.

83-year-old Carlos Garcia is Colonial’s Stall Superintendent. A former trainer at Colonial going back to the early years, Carlos’s horses made 8,389 starts and accumulated purse earnings of over $25 million.
Frank Hopf is Colonial’s new Senior Director of Racing Operations. He spent a number of years at Sam Houston before coming to work at the New Kent track.
Eagle Point was represented three abreast as the Colonial Downs dirt track opened for training on June 23. Karen Godsey (left) and her Ashland, VA-based stable had 18 horses on the grounds with more still to come.
Trainer Angel Rodriguez shipped in from Florida and will have 15 horses competing at Colonial.
Sandy and John — and their two horses — serve as outriders during morning training sessions which take place between 6-10 AM Monday thru Saturday.
Trainer David Bourke was among the first to ship into Colonial this year. He had a nice claiming win in New Kent last summer with Waspirant.
Trainer Kelsey Danner was the first to ship onto the grounds June 20. This was the scene at her barn after morning training on June 23.
Colonial Downs received four inches of rain in three days prior to the first day of training.
Dirt track consultant Ken Brown spends several days a week at Colonial Downs assisting Kelly Jackson with the 1-1/4 miles oval.
One big advantage to arriving early on the Colonial backstretch before most stables ship in — less traffic in the shed row when hotwalking a horse!
Eagle Point Farm horses were especially curious about their new surroundings after shipping in from Ashland.
Horses based in Barns 8-14 access the dirt track (for morning works) via a serene path that leads up to the oval.
Racing Secretary Stan Shina takes over for Allison DeLuca this year in the Colonial Racing Office.
One of Kelsey Danner’s staff hotwalks a horse after a June 23 training session.
Eagle Point Farm shipped into Barn 5 with 18 horses on June 21.