Virginia Downs made its debut September 20, 2015 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia with six pari-mutuel flat races worth a combined $150,000 in purse monies. Non-profit partner in Virginia Downs was the Fauquier SPCA, which raised over $15,000. Here is a recap of the afternoon’s races.
(The Plains, VA — 9/20/2015) —- Rider Jack Doyle guided a pair of winners for trainer Elizabeth Voss in Sunday’s co-featured $30,000 maiden special weight thoroughbred races at Great Meadow, as the inaugural running of Virginia Downs made its debut. A total of 55 horses competed in six turf races, all presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance.
Doyle, who spent the last eight years competing in England, scored with Swoop, a 5 year old Louis Quatorze mare in the female division and with Renown, a 4 year old Champs Elysees gelding, in the colt/gelding division. Swoop competed in a pair of turf claiming events at the Saratoga meet this summer, finishing ninth most recently, while Renown shipped south after a fourth and fifth place finish this summer at Delaware Park. Both thrived Sunday stretching out to the 1 1/4 miles distance.
“I had two very nice horses that I loved today,” said Doyle. “There was a nice enough crowd, great atmosphere and the track held up fine.” Doyle, who started his career in Ireland, came to the U.S for the first time last summer and collected two steeplechase wins at the Saratoga meet. He came back again this summer, got another pair of jump wins and on Sunday, got his first flat race wins in the U.S.
A day after a Virginia-bred captured the Grade II Commonwealth Derby, Mushroom King was best in a field of Virginia-breds that kicked off Sunday’s card. A field of seven went to post in a $15,000 maiden starter allowance and trainer Lilith Boucher’s entry finished one-two. Class Classic, top money earner in the field with $32,159, was runner-up to Mushroom King, a 9 year old Brahms gelding out of the Class Secret mare, Class Reality. The winner, who was bred by Mede Cahaba Stable & Stud, covered the 1 1/8 miles race in 2:00.0.
Other winners on the card were Ice Women, who scored in a $25,000 maiden race for fillies and mares. Jeff Murphy directed the 3 year old Street Sense filly, who finally caught front running Hardly Patient in deep stretch and pulled away to win in 2:01 2/5. Jonathan Thomas trains the victor for JAH Racing.
Irish-bred Bonded won his second straight in a $25,000 colt/gelding maiden event. The Jimmy Day trainee came in fresh off a $65,000 steeplechase allowance triumph at Saratoga and had no problem shortening to 1 1/8 miles from 2 1/16th miles distance of August 13th. Bernald Dalton rode the 8 year old Oasis Dream gelding in both wins.
Annawon triumphed in the longest race of the afternoon — a 1 1/2 miles allowance marathon. After back-to-back runner-up efforts at Delaware Park, the 8 year old Smart Strike gelding connected in a tight victory in 2:39 4/5 for trainer/owner Linda Gaudet.