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Colonial Downs Announces 2011 Stakes

Colonial Downs will host 18 stakes races, including the 14th running of the Grade 2 Virginia Derby, during the 2011 summer thoroughbred meet which runs from June 8 – July 31. A total of $2,050,000 will be doled out in stakes purses over the eight week, 33 day season.

 

There are several notable changes in this year’s stakes program, including a new condition for the Colonial Turf Cup, a bundling of stakes to create a third impact race card, and a name switch in one of the Virginia-bred events.

 

Highlight though still is the $600,000 Virginia Derby (Gr. II), slated for Saturday July 16th. The 1¼ mile turf stakes for 3 year olds headlines an evening that includes the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (Gr. III) and a trio of $50,000 stakes --- the Chenery (2 YO), Tippett (2 YO Fillies)  & Kittens Joy (3 & up). All five races will be contested over the Secretariat Turf Course beginning at the new Saturday post time of 5 PM.

 

The Colonial Turf Cup, which has been a Grade II turf stakes for three year olds from 2005–2010, will have its condition tweaked to three & up this summer in hopes of luring former Cup & Derby champs back to compete. The Turf Cup will keep its $500,000 purse and its date, June 18 (four weeks before the Derby), but will lose its graded status with the new condition. The 1 3/16 mile stakes was captured by Paddy O’Prado and Battle of Hastings the past two years, both of whom went on to prevail in the Virginia Derby.

 

Turf Cup Day will feature a trio of under card stakes including the $100,000 All Along (Gr. III), $50,000 Da Hoss & the $30,000 Old Nelson starter handicap.

 

Director of Racing Tyler Picklesimer created a third multi-stakes card by grouping five Virginia-bred races together on Saturday July 30. Previously contested on separate days, the Oakley, Daniel Van Clief, Brookmeade, Jamestown and newly named Bert Allen stakes will share co-billing together in a “Best of Virginia” card on closing weekend.

 

Bert Allen, long time Virginia horse racing advocate & father of seven time leading trainer Ferris Allen, passed away several months ago. The John D. Marsh stakes, which had been run twelve times at four different distances, has been renamed in Bert Allen’s honor. The senior Allen, a nearby Varina, Virginia native, was the first recipient of Colonial’s “Ambassador for the Sport” award. 

 

Also on the 2011 stakes program is the Buckland Stakes, to be run on “Ladies Night” (July 25), the Chesapeake and Punch Line Stakes, to be held on July 3 and 4 respectively, and the Zeke Ferguson Memorial, a Grade III NSA stakes slated for June 26.

 

Six steeplechase races will also dot the Colonial racing landscape this summer. A trio of jump events will both be held on June 12 as part of opening weekend festivities, and on the 26th.   

 

Colonial’s 15th annual thoroughbred season will be feature racing every Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday at 5 PM, and on Sundays at 12:55 PM. A matinee card will also be held on Monday July 4th. For more information, visit colonialdowns.com or call 804-966-7223.

 

 

 

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