Colonial Downs loses Day for Virginia Derby

October 02, 1998|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

The Virginia Derby, the marquee event at struggling Colonial Downs, lost its marquee performer yesterday when the Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day decided not to apply for a jockey's license.

Virginia's strict guidelines that say no one convicted of a drug crime can be licensed at the racetrack. In 1975, Day was convicted of possession of marijuana.

Virginia's guidelines, mandated by state law, have been harshly criticized by Maryland horsemen. They operate under a regulation that says a person convicted of a crime "may be" denied a license.

Day, a born-again Christian, has become one of racing's most upstanding citizens.

He was scheduled to ride Keene Dancer, the probable favorite in tomorrow's Derby, as well as Cuando, a top contender in the All Along Stakes. Both are trained by Kentucky-based David Carroll. After learning of Day's plight, Carroll scratched both horses.

"Pat's turned his life around, and he's a spokesman of the highest order for racing," Carroll said. "If God can forgive you, how come the state of Virginia can't?"

Pub Date: 10/02/98

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