Colonial Downs' `Grand Slam' sets $2M bonus for four wins

Horse Racing

February 19, 2005|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Colonial Downs, the Virginia track managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, has received approval from the Virginia Racing Commission to conduct the "Grand Slam of Grass," four turf races that will offer a $2 million bonus to a horse who can sweep the series.

The track between Richmond and Williamsburg will run the first two races during its summer meet, June 24 through Aug. 16. The third race is to be determined and the fourth race will be the Breeders' Cup Turf.

The two races at Colonial Downs, both for 3-year-olds, will be the inaugural, $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup on June 25 and the $750,000, Grade III Virginia Derby on July 16. The last two winners of the Virginia Derby, Silver Tree and Kitten's Joy, competed in last fall's Breeders' Cup.

"We're pretty proud of the horses who've won and gone on to the Breeders' Cup from our race," said John Mooney, Colonial Downs' general manager. "We want to build on that."

Colonial Downs raised the purse of the Virginia Derby from $500,000 to $750,000. The goal, Mooney said, is to elevate the Virginia Derby to Grade I status as quickly as possible.

Colonial Downs' meet, its ninth, will be its longest - 40 days of racing compared with last year's 34. There will be no overlap with thoroughbred racing in Maryland.

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