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Colonial Downs is a racetrack for Thoroughbred flat racing and Standardbred harness racing located in New Kent County, Virginia adjacent to Interstate 64, halfway between Richmond, Virginia and Williamsburg, Virginia.
The track has a one and one-quarter mile dirt oval, a seven and one half furlong inner turf oval and a one and one-eighth mile outer turf oval. Harness races start from a chute on the back stretch of the dirt oval.
The Virginia Derby is Colonial's annual showcase event. The Virginia Derby is held mid July, the $600,000 Grade II event draws over 9,000 fans to the New Kent oval. Thoroughbred racing's top three year old turf horses, along with the sport's top jockeys and trainers compete 1.25 miles in the Virginia Derby. The $500,000 Grade II Colonial Turf Cup, a Derby prep race, is held in June.
The track features an autumn harness racing meet. Colonial Downs is the only 1 and 1/4 mile track in North America with harness racing and features a one turn mile. The horses start from a chute on the backstretch. Harness racing times at Colonial Downs are the fastest in racing. On October 11, 2008, the world trotting record was set during the $100,000 Patriot Invitational. It was set by Enough Talk. The trotter became the first in harness racing history to break the 1:50 barrier with 1:49.3.
Colonial Downs in New Kent Virginia offers both thoroughbred and harness racing seasons. Founded in 1997, Virginia's Colonial Downs race track is still relatively new, but is extremely popular. To complement the excellent races run at Colonial Downs, are brilliant facilities and simulcasting.
The track opened on September 1, 1997. More than 13,000 attended the track on opening day. The track used several unconventional construction and business approaches. They constructed one of the largest tracks in size in the country but built a relatively small clubhouse. They also built OTB's prior to the opening of the track. The track also struck a deal with Maryland to stop Maryland racing during Colonial Downs thoroughbred meet, although this later ended. The tract of land on which the track is built was obtained through an eminent domain suit brought by the State of Virginia against an African American/Native American family(Tero Johnson) that had owned the majority of the land since 1863.
Until 2005, the track was managed by the Maryland Jockey Club under a complicated agreement with Virginia and Maryland regulators and the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit. The track has been fairly successful and has offered good summertime turf racing in the traditionally poor three-year-old turf division. Since 2005, the track has run two legs of the annual Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass. This event consisted of the Colonial Turf Cup and the Virginia Derby from Colonial Downs, the Secretariat Stakes from Arlington Park and the Breeders' Cup Turf. The harness meet is timed to end on Breeders' Cup weekend.
Colonial Downs race track is now owned by Magna Entertainment Corporation and presents some of the best summertime turf racing. Virginia's Colonial Downs has three tracks. The main track is a 1.5 mile oval. The inner turf track measures 7.5 furlongs and the outer turf track is 1 1/8 mile. A distance of 1,290.5 feet is run from the last turn to the finishing line. Interestingly, Colonial Downs has the only one-turn mile harness course in America. Between June and August, racegoers can experience some of the best thoroughbred racing around. Autumn is when harness racing starts at Colonial downs. Colonial Downs' horse racing events are always filled with excitement. Graded stakes hosted by Colonial Downs include the Virginia Derby and All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes. Other races run at Colonial Downs racetrack are the Colonial Turf Cup, Chenery Stakes, Tippett Stakes, David L. Ferguson Memorial Stakes and Virginia Oaks. Post times are typically at 5:00 pm.
During the summer thoroughbred meet, the track runs three steeplechase races on Sunday afternoons. The track also hosts the Strawberry Hill Races, a day of steeplechase racing, in April, as well as an additional card in September. All of these races are sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association.
Eighty percent of the summer thoroughbred races are held over the Secretariat Turf Course, which at 180 feet wide, is the widest grass surface of any track in North America. The 1.25 mile dirt track is the country's second largest, next to Belmont's. The large dirt track enables harness horses to pace or trot a one mile distance while encountering just one turn, the only track anywhere to offer this unique configuration.
A comprehensive range of facilities at Colonial Downs ensure that racegoers have an enjoyable experience. Colonial Downs has been constructed to resemble a 19th century building. Meals can be enjoyed at the Jockey Club and Turf club with cocktail lounges. In addition to the regular grandstand seating open air box seats can be reserved for a day or for the summer season. These seats are available for free during the harness racing season. On live race days there are simulcast wagering facilities.
Virginia's Colonial Downs race track is conveniently located between Williamsburg and Richmond, beside Interstate 64. Offering an amazing race day experience with all the conveniences, Colonial Downs is set to continue its successful course.
Thoroughbred Meet: June - July
Harness Meet: September - October
Main Track: One and one-quarter miles, oval.
Distance from last turn to finish line: 1,290.5 feet.
Inner Turf Course: Seven and one-half furlongs, oval.
Outer Turf Course: One and one-eighth miles, oval.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 6:00pm Eastern
Sunday: 12:55 pm
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday at 1:00pm
10515 Colonial Downs Pkwy
New Kent, VA 23124