Colonial Downs Racing Season to feature more races, more fun

NEW KENT COUNTY — Colonial Downs Racetrack is offering more racing in 2022 as it seeks to build on a bumper 2021 season that saw it recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The highlight of the racing season is the Grade 3, $300,000 Virginia Derby for 3-year-olds which will be run on Sept. 6 along with the $200,000 Virginia Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. Both races will be held on the Secretariat Turf Course — named after the famous Triple Crown champion who was born in Doswell, Virginia. Horsemen will be competing for an average of $600,000 in daily purse monies, including more than $3.5 million in stakes races, according to the venue.

“Our theme this year is more racing, more fun,” said John Marshall, executive vice president of operations at Colonial Downs Group. “With everything we have to offer, including free general admission, Colonial Downs makes for an entertaining afternoon and evening out for everyone.”

Colonial Downs plans five different promotional give-away days, including a Secretariat T-shirt on opening day, a Colonial Downs water bottle on July 19, a cooling towel on Aug. 3, a camouflage hat on Military Day, Aug. 16 and a plush horse giveaway on Family Day, Aug. 23.

A new era began for Colonial Downs in 2019 when Peninsula Pacific Entertainment bought the venue. Colonial Downs originally opened in 1997, but horse racing stopped in 2014 due to a dispute between the then owners and the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association.

Peninsula Pacific Entertainment opened several Rosie’s gaming locations across Virginia — including in New Kent, Richmond and Hampton — that feature hundreds of slot-machine-like historical horse racing machines…

A Look Back at the History of Colonial Downs Racetrack

Less than a year later, on May, 5, 2001, Scanlan had Borislow’s Talk Is Money in the Kentucky Derby. It was, to say the least, a temperamental horse that had been purchased for $2 million as a yearling. Scanlan originally referred to it as “Hanging Tree” because “if it doesn’t do too good, I may have to find a tree and hang myself from it.”

The horse quickly developed a knack for throwing jockeys. At Churchill Downs, prior to the 127th Run for the Roses, hall of fame jock Jerry Bailey withheld Talk Is Money from the post parade “for good reason,” said NBC’s Tom Hammond. “He’s tossed riders three times during parades.” That was about all the network had to say about the 47-1 longshot. If Hammond and friends mentioned Borislow, or Scanlan, we missed it.

Talk Is Money started 11th and finished last (17th), having suffered what was diagnosed as a heat stroke. Bailey walked the horse across the finish line. Scanlan later said, “Bailey was scared to death of him.”

Earlier, Scanlan told us off-the-record Talk had no business being in the Derby, but Borislow wanted to be there “to sit with the other owners.” Borislow died in 2014 at age 52….

More about the history of Colonial Downs and the people there: