In 2015, the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) presented pari-mutuel horse racing at several different venues in Virginia and Maryland. The inaugural running of Virginia Downs took place in late September at Great Meadow in The Plains (near Warrenton) and featured six flat races with purses totaling $150,000. The annual Virginia Gold Cup Races, held both in spring and fall at Great Meadow, featured four flat races in addition to five traditional steeplechase races.
Standardbred racing returned to the Oak Ridge Estate in Nelson County for a back-to-back weekend engagement in October and was highlighted by the $320,000 Virginia Breeder’s “Champions Day” program. The VEA even presented a series of thoroughbred stakes races at Laurel Park in neighboring Maryland this past September. Five $60,000 stakes exclusive to Virginia-breds were contested along with a trio of graded stakes that included the $400,000 Commonwealth Derby (Gr. II), formerly known as the Virginia Derby.
The VEA is currently planning the 2016 racing schedule and laying the foundation of a longer range plan. In 2016, Standardbred racing will have a new home at Shenandoah Downs, located at the renovated Shenandoah Fairgrounds in Woodstock. Thoroughbred racing will take place at both the Spring and Fall Gold Cup Meets at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA. There will also be Virginia-Bred race days at both Pimlico and Laurel Park in 2016. Flat racing will return to Virginia in 2017 at our new facility at Morven Park in Leesburg.
As soon as details of these racing events are confirmed, they will be posted here with along with ticket information, directions, hours, etc.