Friday, April 19, 2024

Colonial Downs Expecting Record Crowd for Virginia Derby

A turf course race at Colonial Downs. (Christopher Six/WYDaily)

NEW KENT — Colonial Downs said it is expecting a record crowd for the 20th running of the New Kent County Virginia Derby slated for Saturday, Sept. 9.

The event sees the nation’s top 3-year-old turf horses competing on the widest turf course in North America — The Secretariat Turf Course — at 180 feet wide.

The race is the season-ending event for Colonial Downs this season, its first under new ownership. Churchill Downs Incorporated, the parent company of the Kentucky Derby, finalized a $2.75 billion deal in November 2022 to purchase Colonial Downs and all six Rosie’s Gaming Emporium locations in Virginia.

“It has been a terrific season for Colonial Downs under the new ownership of Churchill Downs. We are proud of providing a high-level racing product along with added entertainment elements to Virginians this summer,” said Frank Hopf, senior director of racing operations at Colonial Downs. “We look forward to concluding our successful meet with Virginia Derby Day on Sept. 9.”

The day will be highlighted by the Grade 3, $500,000 Virginia Derby for 3-year-olds. The purse is $200,000 more than last year. Other stakes races will include the $250,000 Woodford Reserve Virginia Oaks, $150,000 Korbel Da Hoss Stakes, $150,000 Biosaphe Colonial Cup, $125,000 Exacta Systems Rosie’s Stakes, and $125,000 TAA Kitten’s Joy Stakes. A total of more than $1.3 million dollars will be up for grabs on Virginia Derby Day. Post time is 1:30 p.m.

Colonial Downs said there will be plenty of family-friendly entertainment on the grounds, including pony rides, a petting zoo, strolling entertainment, face painting, a juggler/magician and a stilt walker. Fans can also see a bronze Secretariat statue on Derby Day along with the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame’s Traveling Exhibit. The exhibit will be open during for consecutive days of racing at Colonial Downs starting Wednesday, Sept. 6 and culminating on Derby Day, Saturday, Sept. 9.

Additional seating for Derby Day will be available in the banquet room, according to Colonial Downs. General admission and parking are free. For more information on 2023 Colonial Downs Racing presented by Woodford Reserve visit

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