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Back in the old days – the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s and even into the 70’s – a  lot of outfits laid off their horses in the winter and brought them back for summer racing.  Owners and trainers literally aimed their horses at particular meets.  As year ‘round racing became the norm in North America starting in the 1960’s and 70’s, that concept got lost along the way.

If the first two days of racing at Colonial Downs is any indication, a number of Virginians have followed the throwback strategy and brought fresh horses to the New Kent track ready to cash in on increased purses and the 100% Va-bred/sired owner bonus.

Leading owner David A. Ross picked up where he left off last year winning the inaugural race of this year’s meet with the claimer Schleprock.  The Touch Gold gelding hasn’t run since early April.

The second race was won by Leanne Hester’s homebred Deep Regret.  The win in the $5,000 claiming event turned out to be worth $9,976 for the sone of Sinful Persuasion and if Hester backed him with a $2 wager, her take home pay was over $10,000 as he paid $36.80 to win. Hester’s winner hadn’t run since December at Charles Town. 

Race 3 opening day was also captured by the David Ross/Michael Pino team. This time Super Nekia found the winner’s circle as the betting favorite.  To continue the Virginia winning streak, Susan Cooney won the fourth race with her homebred Embarr.  Her victory was worth $13,456 with the 100% Virginia-bred bonus, and he had not run since April.
Seems to be a pattern here.

Virginia-bred Wardelle won the sixth – a $24,000 allowance – making the winner’s share $27,840 thanks to the bonus, and VTA stalwart PTK, LLC won the last race, a $5,000 claiming event with Dane Austin, a gelding by Not For Love.

The second day also saw Virginian’s making a steady trek to the winner’s circle.   Reid Nagle and Big Lick Farm won the opening race on the card with Cryin’ Ryan at the expense of fellow Virginians Lady Olivia of Northcliff (Carla Morgan), James Myers (Woodberry Payne), Kinross (Neil Morris) and Mede Cahaba (OK, Mignon Smith lives in Washington, DC, but we count her as “Virginian.”)

Wayne and Susie Chatfield-Taylor’s Morgan’s Ford Farm in Front Royal won the fourth race on Day 2 of the meet with their homebred Tidewater.  The Filly by Orientate, out of Gentle Flow by Gentlemen (ARG) won by 3 ¼ lengths as second favorite and earned $6,728 from the purse account and another $6,728 from the Virginia Breeders Fund.

Ross and Pino found the winner circle again after the fifth race with Florida-bred The Last Bird and Virginia-bred I’m Unforgettable won the seventh race as well.

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Audley Farm and Ferris Allen won the eight race on Thursday’s card when the Virginia-bred Main Ruler (Roman Ruler – Monabella) won a $23,000 MSW.  The winner’s share turned out to be $26,680 including the 100% bonus.

PTK LLC won the last race for the second day in a row.  This time, Nighttime Lover, a Maryland-bred, won the $7,500 claiming event.

Attendance on opening day was 920 with on track handle of $72,838.  Total simulcast handle from Virginia OTB and out-of-state outlets totaled $847,972 on Day 2 the attendance and on-track handle dropped to 507 and $37,236 while total simulcast handle from Virginia OTB and out-of-state outlets increased to $890,536.