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
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.
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.