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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | October 2, 1998
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.
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By JOHN EISENBERG | May 15, 2007
It is indisputable that money dictates much of what happens in sports, and that is especially true in horse racing. The high cost of feeding, training and caring for a horse forces owners to run for as much money as possible whenever they send their animals to the starting gate. Owners follow money like the sun rises - without fail. That's why Maryland racing is slumping as neighboring states offer purses jacked up on proceeds from slots, and that's also why the Preakness finds itself playing an increasingly dangerous game of chance.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | October 1, 1999
Colonial Downs showcases its distinctive turf course this weekend with four competitive stakes races, including its signature event, the $200,000 Virginia Derby.More than 8,000 patrons jammed the colonial-style track in southern Virginia last year on Derby day, and officials expect about that many tomorrow when the second edition of the race takes place. Colonial Downs is situated off Interstate 64, halfway between Richmond and Williamsburg.The Maryland Jockey Club took over management of the fledgling track and its four OTBs this summer after financial losses the first two years nearly forced their closure.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | February 19, 2005
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.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | July 13, 2002
NEW KENT, Va. - Colonial Downs takes its annual bow on horse racing's national stage today with the fifth running of its marquee race, the Virginia Derby. Situated between Richmond and Williamsburg, the summer track raised the purse of its Derby this year from $200,000 to $500,000. Half a million dollars have lured horses trained by Hall of Famers Neil Drysdale and Bill Mott and jockeys who swept the Triple Crown series. Victor Espinoza, the California rider, piloted War Emblem to two-thirds of the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
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By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | June 21, 2002
The racing scene shifts to Virginia today when picturesque Colonial Downs in New Kent County launches a 26-day stand that is headlined by the $500,000 Virginia Derby on July 13. Buoyed by a 33 percent increase in overall handle after switching to summer racing dates in its fifth year, the track will be offering a lucrative $200,000 average in daily purses at this meeting. "We had a good thoroughbred meeting last summer and we're looking for an even better one this year," said general manager John Mooney.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | February 19, 2005
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.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | October 3, 1998
NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- If Colonial Downs is going to save face after sustaining a series of black eyes during its second thoroughbred meeting, it's going to happen today with the running of the inaugural Virginia Derby on its widely praised turf course.But the Virginia Derby, before it even starts, has sustained a black eye of its own.The 1 1/4 -mile race for 3-year-olds with a purse of $250,000 was lucrative enough to attract perhaps the most recognizable jockey in the sport, Pat Day. But Virginia's unusually strict regulations for licensing track personnel prevented Day, a member of racing's Hall of Fame, from coming.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | October 4, 1998
NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- It wasn't "My Old Kentucky Home." But the singing of "Virginia" before the inaugural Virginia Derby yesterday brought a tear to the eye of many at Colonial Downs.On a cool, clear, refreshing fall day, 8,103 fans jammed this track in southern Virginia for its signature event. For the first time in the brief history of the troubled track, everything went smoothly. Everybody seemed happy. And bettors here and across the country wagered $2,169,749 on Colonial Downs' races, easily a record.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | July 13, 2003
For the second straight year, Bill Mott and Edgar Prado teamed to win the Virginia Derby with a horse bred and owned by Peter Vegso. Yesterday in New Kent, Va., Vegso's Silver Tree led all the way to win Colonial Downs' signature race by 1 1/2 lengths. Kickin Kris and King's Drama finished second and third, and 1-5 favorite Senor Swinger finished off the board in fourth. The remote track between Richmond and Williamsburg attracted 7,024 patrons on Derby day, the highlight of its 30-day summer meet.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | July 13, 2003
For the second straight year, Bill Mott and Edgar Prado teamed to win the Virginia Derby with a horse bred and owned by Peter Vegso. Yesterday in New Kent, Va., Vegso's Silver Tree led all the way to win Colonial Downs' signature race by 1 1/2 lengths. Kickin Kris and King's Drama finished second and third, and 1-5 favorite Senor Swinger finished off the board in fourth. The remote track between Richmond and Williamsburg attracted 7,024 patrons on Derby day, the highlight of its 30-day summer meet.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | July 12, 2003
Bob Baffert and Beverly and Bob Lewis, perhaps the country's most recognizable trainer and owners of racehorses, respectively, know next to nothing about Colonial Downs. Yet they've flown across country from California to reach the out-of-the-way racetrack in Virginia. Senor Swinger, trained by Baffert and owned by the Lewises, is the main attraction today in the $500,000 Virginia Derby, the marquee race of Colonial Downs' summer meet. Once a contender for the Kentucky Derby, the 3-year-old colt has flourished in two races on grass.
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By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | June 13, 2003
After a rain-swept spring ravaged grass racing at the just-concluded Pimlico meeting, action on the turf will be revived in earnest when Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., launches its six-week stand today. Colonial's state-of-the-art grass course is in "perfect" condition, according to John Mooney, chief operating officer of the Virginia track, "and we've had more rain than Maryland. Unless we get a real deluge, we'll be fine." That is welcome news to trainers of turf horses, who remained stabled at Pimlico and other Mid-Atlantic tracks while the skies kept pouring moisture.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | July 14, 2002
NEW KENT, Va. - Five weeks ago in the Belmont, aboard a 70-1 unknown named Sarava, Edgar Prado dashed California jockey Victor Espinoza's hopes of winning the Triple Crown with War Emblem. Yesterday, Prado bested Espinoza again, this time in the $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. Riding the Bill Mott-trained Orchard Park, Prado crossed the wire 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Espinoza and his mount, the Neil Drysdale-trained Flying Dash. Espinoza's horse in both races was the favorite.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | July 13, 2002
NEW KENT, Va. - Colonial Downs takes its annual bow on horse racing's national stage today with the fifth running of its marquee race, the Virginia Derby. Situated between Richmond and Williamsburg, the summer track raised the purse of its Derby this year from $200,000 to $500,000. Half a million dollars have lured horses trained by Hall of Famers Neil Drysdale and Bill Mott and jockeys who swept the Triple Crown series. Victor Espinoza, the California rider, piloted War Emblem to two-thirds of the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
SPORTS
By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | June 21, 2002
The racing scene shifts to Virginia today when picturesque Colonial Downs in New Kent County launches a 26-day stand that is headlined by the $500,000 Virginia Derby on July 13. Buoyed by a 33 percent increase in overall handle after switching to summer racing dates in its fifth year, the track will be offering a lucrative $200,000 average in daily purses at this meeting. "We had a good thoroughbred meeting last summer and we're looking for an even better one this year," said general manager John Mooney.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | July 14, 2002
NEW KENT, Va. - Five weeks ago in the Belmont, aboard a 70-1 unknown named Sarava, Edgar Prado dashed California jockey Victor Espinoza's hopes of winning the Triple Crown with War Emblem. Yesterday, Prado bested Espinoza again, this time in the $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. Riding the Bill Mott-trained Orchard Park, Prado crossed the wire 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Espinoza and his mount, the Neil Drysdale-trained Flying Dash. Espinoza's horse in both races was the favorite.
SPORTS
By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | July 14, 2001
NEW KENT, Va. - The maximum field of 14 runners, including Preakness also-ran Bay Eagle, will battle for the winner's share of the $200,000 purse in today's fourth renewal of the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. Contested at 1 1/4 miles on the track's state-of-the-art turf course, the race is the state's richest. Bay Eagle is one of two Virginia-bred horses in the 3-year-old field and the leading money winner ($139,923). He finished eighth to Point Given in the Preakness, but is largely untested on the grass with only one start, a second-place finish in a maiden race at Laurel Park in November.
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By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | August 9, 2001
Colonial Downs, the first thoroughbred track in Virginia, showed markedly improved numbers during the first summer meeting in its five-year history. With a big boost from a booming out-of-state handle, the picturesque plant between Richmond and Williamsburg improved its average daily intake to $1,103,188 for the 25-day stand that concluded last Tuesday. The addition of simulcast signals from major racing centers like New York and Kentucky was partially responsible for the increase, as Colonial flashed healthy economic signs for the first time in its existence.
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By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | July 14, 2001
NEW KENT, Va. - The maximum field of 14 runners, including Preakness also-ran Bay Eagle, will battle for the winner's share of the $200,000 purse in today's fourth renewal of the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. Contested at 1 1/4 miles on the track's state-of-the-art turf course, the race is the state's richest. Bay Eagle is one of two Virginia-bred horses in the 3-year-old field and the leading money winner ($139,923). He finished eighth to Point Given in the Preakness, but is largely untested on the grass with only one start, a second-place finish in a maiden race at Laurel Park in November.
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