A new legacy: Horse racing opens once again at Colonial Downs

Posted at 11:06 AM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 12:56:50-04

NEW KENT, Va. – It’s a new day, new year and new legacy of racing at Colonial Downs when horses take off down the track Thursday in New Kent, Virginia.

The reopening of Colonial Downs will bring horse racing back to the region since the place closed in October 2014. 

The new look at Colonial Downs will bring a new course track called the Secretariat Turf Course, which is named for the 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat – born in Doswell, Virginia in 1970.

“The turf course here is wonderful. The main track is great, and grass racing is very beneficial to horses. They last longer,” said Jed Steffee, who is from New Orléans and owns four horses.

The Opening Day Card for Thursday will feature 107 horses over a span of ten races, with $515,000 in purse monies collectively being dished out.

According to Colonial Downs, races will take place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until September 7 and will feature approximately $7.5 million in total purses.

Colonial Downs added that gates open at 4 p.m. and post time for all race days is 5 p.m.

General admission is free, as well as parking. General admission will give apron access with track and paddock-side viewing covered bench seating and access to the Paddock Bar and Homestretch Hospitality tent. Additionally, Colonial Downs will offer clubhouse dining, clubhouse boxes, turf club dining and turf club suites.

Part of the reason for horse racing is back in the region is because of the establishment of Historical Horse Racing in Virginia by the General Assembly in 2018. This comes as the Supreme Court recently allowed for states to look at profiting from sports betting within its own borders, something the Bradley Act had prohibited since 1992.

Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums now open in New Kent, Vinton and Richmond, and soon to open in Hampton, will allow for tax revenues to be gained for the Commonwealth and localities across the region.

“Today’s opening is the culmination of years of hard work and tremendous collaboration among Virginia’s political leaders, equine industry and the more than 800 people who are now part of the Colonial Downs and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium teams,” said Aaron Gomes, the chief operating officer for Colonial Downs Group. “We are so proud of what we have accomplished, and we are literally just out of the gate in Virginia.”

Colonial Downs is a partner with the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) in the effort to bring thoroughbred racing back to the state. VEA and its member organizations will also share in the revenues generated through HHR and at Colonial Downs.

For more coverage on Colonial Downs opening, and a more inside look, click here.