Virginia-Certified Residency Program Requirements

A VIRGINIA-CERTIFIED horse is a horse registered by The Jockey Club, conceived and foaled outside of Virginia, but that maintains residency in Virginia for at least a six (6) month consecutive period prior to December 31st of its two-year-old year. (An interruption period for up to 14 days is allowed if the horse needs to leave for a horse sale or veterinary issue. The horse must return to Virginia and make up the days it was out of the state.)

The horse must maintain residency at a Virginia participating farm, training center, or facility within the Commonwealth, where the horse can be available for inspection by a Virginia-Certified Thoroughbred Program (VACTP) official. Virginia participating facilities have made an agreement with the VTA to participate in the Virginia-Certified Thoroughbred Program. Horses may not leave Virginia to race and return prior to completing their 6 month residency period.


(Changes as of 1/1/2023 are in bold type)

  • In 2023 and 2024 there are 4 million dollars to distribute for Virginia-Certified and Virginia-Bred Owner/Developer bonuses for wins in the Mid-Atlantic Region (DE, MD, PA, NJ, NY, VA, & WV). The plan is to increase funding for these programs when Colonial Downs adds more Historic Horse Racing machines (hopefully in 2024 and 2025). In the meantime, the changes below will help us to stay with in our allocated budget.
  • The program pays a bonus of up to 25% of the winning purse to the developer of a Virginia-Certified thoroughbred when the horse wins an eligible race anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region. The “developer” is the person or entity that owned the Virginia-Certified horse when the horse made its first start, even if that person or entity no longer owns the horse when it earns a bonus.
  • Developers of Virginia-Certified horses will earn 10% bonuses for wins in state-bred-restricted races at Mid-Atlantic racetracks. Winners of Virginia-restricted races are not eligible for the 10% bonus. Developers will earn bonuses, up to 25% of purse money, for wins in open races at Mid-Atlantic racetracks, and for wins in open races at sanctioned National Steeplechase Association meets in the Mid-Atlantic. We estimate the open win bonuses for 2023 and 2024 to be in the 15% to 20% range.
  • Virginia-Certified horses are eligible to run in Virginia-Restricted races at Colonial Downs. (Virginia-Restricted races are open to Virginia-Bred and -Sired horses as well as Virginia-Certified horses, and Virginia-Bred and -Sired horses are preferred in those races.) Virginia-Certified horses that win Virginia-Restricted races are not eligible for the 10% developer bonuses but they are eligible for full bonuses for wins in open races at Colonial Downs. The National Stakes Committee has ruled that Virginia-Certified horses are not eligible to earn black type in Virginia Races.
  • From opening day through closing day at Colonial Downs, Virginia-Certified horses will not earn developer bonuses for wins at any racetrack other than Colonial Downs.
  • Beginning with foals of 2023, Virginia-Certified horses will no longer earn developer bonuses for any win in West Virginia. Virginia-Certified horses born before 2023 will continue to earn developer bonuses for eligible wins in West Virginia.
  • Virginia-Certified developer’s bonuses are calculated as a percentage (10% for state-bred restricted races and up to 25% for open races) of the lesser of the winner’s purse share published on the Equibase chart or 60% of the published purse on the overnight; the purse used in the calculation does not include state-bred incentive monies that may be part of the horse’s first place earnings. There is a $10,000 cap on any one award.
  • Since there is a fixed amount of money available to fund the Virginia-Certified bonuses each year. Depending on the number of eligible winners and the amount of eligible purses the bonus awards for open races will be less than 25% of the purse. To ensure that all winners receive the same bonus percentage, all bonuses will be calculated and paid once a year, after the end of the year in which the bonus is earned. Bonuses for open race wins will be calculated as follows: After the 10% state-bred-restricted race bonuses are subtracted from the 4 million dollar incentive fund, the remaining incentive money will be distributed on a pro-rata share of each open winning purse divided by the total of all open win purses.
  • In order to collect a developer bonus, the developer must be a member of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association. If the developer is not currently a member, a $100 membership fee will be deducted from the bonus and the developer will be made a VTA member. The developer must have a current IRS Form W-9 on file in the VTA office before funds can be released.
  • The VTA will make every effort to identify all Virginia-Certified winners, but ultimately it is the developer’s responsibility to notify the VTA when a Virginia-Certified horse wins an eligible race in the Mid-Atlantic region.
  • Virginia-Certified bonuses do not count towards a horse’s reported earnings.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing contained herein creates a contractual obligation for payment of any award or bonus by the VTA or any other entity.  The VTA’s receipt of sufficient funding for the bonus or award is a condition precedent to any obligation it may have to pay any award or bonus under the VACTP.  The VTA reserves the right at any time, with or without notice, and in its sole discretion to (i) amend the requirements of the VATCP,  (ii) change the amount of the bonus or award, or (iii) cease paying bonuses or awards.


Step 1: Apply

IMPORTANT: Within 30 days of the horse’s arrival in Virginia, owners or their agents must submit a VACTP registration application along with all applicable fees (this includes the VTA membership fee if needed). Failure to submit the application and fees within 30 days will increase the residency time requirements.

VACTP registration applications received by mail with reported arrival dates older than 30 days from when the application was postmarked will be assigned an arrival date matching the postmarked date (or the date of arrival in the VTA office if the postmark is not legible).

VA Certified Fee Schedule

If applying online, complete the application and pay the registration fees in accordance with the fee schedule (including VTA Membership fee, if applicable).

NOTE: Online VACTP registration applications will not be accepted with arrival dates older than 30 days. To complete the online registration the user will need to adjust the arrival date to be within the 30 day requirement.

If applying by mail, complete the application and mail with a check to Virginia Thoroughbred Association for the registration fees in accordance with the fee schedule (including VTA Membership fee, if applicable) and mail to:

c/o Virginia Thoroughbred Association
250 West Main Street, Suite 100
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Step 2: Complete the six-month residency requirement

Step 3: Complete the Verification Form

Once the six-month residency is complete, the Virginia participating facility will send a VACTP Verification Form confirming that the horse has completed the requirements of its residency. The VTA will process the form and notify the owner by email that the horse’s Certified registration has been completed. A horse’s registration in the VATCP will not be completed until the Verification Form has been received and processed. Upon completion of the certified registration, a Virginia-Certified logo will be noted on the horse’s Jockey Club digital registration certificate.

Please note that you do not have to be a member of the VTA at the time of registering your horse. However, you will need to be a member in order to collect any Developer Bonus money. If the developer is not a current member of the VTA at the time the bonus money is earned, $100 will be deducted from the bonus amount and the developer of the horse will be made a member of the VTA.  A current W-9 must be on file at the VTA office before bonus money will be distributed.

To become a Participating Facility

Please fill out and send the application to the VTA office; there is no fee. Contact us at (434) 977-3716 with any questions.