As the 2020 calendar rolls into Super Bowl weekend and Derby prep race season, live horse racing events in Virginia may seem like a ways off, but the kickoff event is just weeks away.
Action in the Commonwealth’s spring Point-to-Point race season kicks off March 7. For the second straight year, the Virginia Equine Alliance will provide starter reward bonuses to Virginia-owned or Virginia-trained horses that compete in the two month series in order to help encourage participation. The Rappahannock Hunt kicks things off and is followed by the Warrenton Hunt on March 14, Upperville (Piedmont Fox Hounds) on March 21, Middleburg (Orange County Hounds) on March 29, Ben Venue (Old Dominion Hounds) on April 4, Leesburg (Loudoun Hunt) on April 12, Berryville (Blue Ridge Hunt) on April 19 and again in Middleburg (Middleburg Hunt) on April 26. More details are available at www.vasteeplechase.com and at www.centralentryoffice.com.
Sanctioned steeplechase meets kick off in April and run through mid-fall. The Virginia Gold Cup is scheduled for May 2 —Kentucky Derby Day — at Great Meadow while the International Gold Cup will be held October 24. Wagering is available at both Gold Cups along with Derby betting at the spring edition. The Middleburg Spring Race meet is April 18 at Glenwood Park and the fall version is slated for October 10. The Foxfield Spring Races will be contested April 25 outside of Charlottesville and the Montpelier Hunt Races, held in Montpelier Station, will be on November 7.
Thoroughbred racing is back this summer at Colonial Downs and will feature 18 race dates from July 23 through August 29. Programs at the New Kent track will be presented every Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a post time of 5:30 PM. A total of $500,000 in purses will be distributed daily headlined by two major events — the MATCH Series on August 15 which features five $100,000 stakes, then the Virginia Derby card on August 29 which features an under card of the Virginia Oaks, Rosie’s Stakes and Kitten’s Joy Stakes. Details are at www.colonialdowns.com.
Finally, the annual fall pari-mutuel harness racing season at Shenandoah Downs in Woodstock will run from September 18 – October 17 with racing every Friday at 3:30 PM and Saturday at 2 PM. Parking and admission are free. The Shenandoah County Chamber’s popular Autumnfest celebration will highlight the meet on October 3.
In addition, a four day non-wagering harness meet will be held September 2-5 during the Shenandoah County Fair over the same half mile oval. Harness racing details are at shenandoahdowns.com and at virginiahorseracing.com.