Virginia Downs Thoroughbred Race Event Set For Sunday with 6 Turf Races & Full Fields

(Warrenton, VA — 9/18/15) —- The inaugural running of the Virginia Downs thoroughbred race day at Great Meadow will go to post Sunday September 20th at 2:00 PM and will feature six turf races, $150,000 in purse monies, pari-mutuel wagering and a former Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes horse. The event is being sponsored by the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) and all admission/tailgating monies will benefit the Fauquier SPCA.

A pair of $30,000 allowance races are co-featured and have been carded as the respective third and sixth races at a distance of 1 1/4 miles. Euro Power, based on two recent turf victories, is the early 5-2 favorite in the fillies and mares race while Renown, with experience in turf allowances at Delaware Park, is 9-5 choice in the male counterpart.

Euro Power is the leading turf money earner in the ladies field of ten with over $68,000. The 7 year old mare is coming off a neck triumph at Laurel Park August 15th and a 1 1/4 length win at Penn National July 10th. Both were solid come from behind efforts at the 1 1/16th miles distance in $7500 and $13,000 claiming company. Watch This Cat, a Jonathan Thomas trainee, ships south after a pair of starts at Woodbine. The 3 year old filly has been racing in tough company, including a Grade III stakes in Canada. She had a nice score at Tampa Bay Downs in January, rallying late to win a maiden special weight race.

Renown, with only four lifetime starts, is the least experienced starter in the ten horse field of males. Bred in Great Britain, the 4 year old gelding connected in his first start, a maiden special weight score in Ireland, and has recent 4th and 5th place finishes at Delaware. Out Of The Fire, a 6 year old English Channel gelding with the most experience of the entrants, is the 5-2 second choice. He has a pair of respectable third place finishes in allowance company at Penn National and has 12 “in the money” finishes in 27 career outs. Plated, third pick at 6-1, is the highest money winner with $131,445, but $90,000-plus of that has been from dirt efforts.

The highest profile horse on the Virginia Downs card easily is Mr. Hot Stuff, who competed in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 2009, and took third in that year’s Santa Anita Derby and Sham Stakes prior to those Triple Crown races. In 2010, after 13 straight losses, the horse was sold and new trainer Jack Fisher switched him to steeplechase racing. The handsome 9 year old son of Tiznow took to hurdles and in 2013, won the Grade I, A.P. Smith Memorial at Saratoga. He has been on the board in all three starts this year including a Grade III steeplechase stakes and most recently, a solid third in a 1 1/2 mile flat race at Suffolk Downs. He is the even money early choice in Sunday’s $25,000 fifth race allowance. Annawon, with $132,461 in turf earnings, is second choice for trainer/owner Linda Gaudet. The 8 year old Smart Strike gelding has been consistent in 2015 and reached the winner’s circle twice this spring at Pimlico.

The kickoff race, a maiden starter allowance race for $15,000, is restricted to Virginia-bred and sired horses. Celtic Lord, a 3 year old Saraha Heat gelding bred by Phil Cassidy, is the 2-1 morning line pick. With only a trio of life starts, Celtic Lord lost by a nose in his best effort to date, a maiden claimer on the dirt at Monmouth August 23rd. Malibu Dreamer, a 3 year old Malibu Moon colt, is second choice. Bred by James Carter and trained by Russell Haynes, Malibu Dreamer has raced primarily at Churchill and Gulfstream. Lilith Boucher’s entry of Class Classic and Mushroom King make up the third selection at 5-1. Interestingly, the former has competed exclusively in jump races since 2012 while the latter has been in four sprint races in the last ten months. Sunday’s distance is 1 1/8 miles.

The other two Virginia Downs races are for maidens at 1 1/8 miles. The program’s second race, which has Ice Women favored at 2-1, is for fillies and mares, while the fourth race, where Golden Rum has 5-2 early status, is for colts and geldings. Edgar Prado guided Ice Women to a nice third place finish in a Gulfstream turf sprint September 3rd while Golden Rum was runner-up in a maiden special weight event at Great Meadow during the Virginia Gold Cup day on May 2nd.

General admission carload passes are available for $30 at the gate Sunday beginning at 12 Noon. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic supplies including a blanket, chairs, snack food and beverages. A few $100 rail side tailgating spots may still be available. For more details, visit