Colonial mood undampened

Despite weather, outage, opening deemed success

September 08, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Officials at Colonial Downs said yesterday they were pleased with the start of the meet at the Maryland Jockey Club-managed track despite problems related to the weather.

Steady rain and a brief power outage failed to deter the horses from running on resilient turf before 5,301 spectators as Colonial Downs opened its third thoroughbred season Monday.

A tree fell on a power line near the Virginia track, situated halfway between Richmond and Williamsburg, shortly after the ninth race. That knocked out power to the track, including its tote system, and the surrounding area. The 10th and final race took place as a non-wagering event.

John Mooney, chief operating officer, had anticipated 7,500 patrons for opening day. "Unfortunately, two things we don't control hurt us: the weather and an electrical problem outside the track," Mooney said. "But overall, I was happy with the way things went. I think everybody enjoyed the day who made it out. And we got a lot of positive response from patrons and horsemen."

The star of the day was the turf course. It withstood the rain, and none of the eight races on grass had to be switched to dirt.

Jockey Jennifer Stisted was the human standout, winning three races. And Tom's Revenge was the equine star, winning the $30,000 Virginia Stallion Stakes for Maryland trainer John Salzman Sr.

Betting on the nine races totaled $519,306 -- $224,719 on track and $294,587 from out-of-state simulcast customers.

Pub Date: 9/08/99

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