For Virginia racing, this Saturday (September 30th) is shaping up to be the biggest day in quite some time.
On the thoroughbred side, the “Commonwealth Day” card at Laurel Lark features five $60,000 stakes for Virginia-breds and a trio of open graded stakes that used to be run at Colonial Downs including the former Virginia Derby. The lineup of stakes for Commonwealth-breds includes the Bert Allen, Brookmeade, Punch Line, Oakley and Jamestown while graded events include the Commonwealth Derby (Gr. 3), Commonwealth Oaks (Gr. 3) and Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (Gr. 2).
On the harness side, Shenandoah Downs in the picturesque town of Woodstock, Virginia will host cards both Saturday and Sunday, Festivities Saturday include the “Wine & Trotter” festival and the WINC Fancy Hat Contest. This will be third of five consecutive race weekends there. Last Saturday, a pair of upset winners created a buzz among attendees. No Concert, sent off at odds of 78-1 in the fourth race, paid a whopping $158.20 to win while Western captive, sent off in the finale at 47-1, returned $97.80. Details on all events harness are at shenandoahdowns.com.
On the Off Track Betting side, the two OTBs in Richmond — Ponies & Pints and Breakers Sports Grille — will simulcast 8 Grade I stakes races Saturday (and another 9 next weekend!). At no point during the year are there 17 Grade I stakes races over a two week period! And looking down the road, a third OTB will open soon — possibly in time for the Breeders’ Cup races on November 3rd & 4th — at Buckets Bar & Grille in the Great Bridge neighborhood of Chesapeake.
Stay up to date on all Virginia racing news at virginiahorseracing.com.