Track, Backstretch Preparations Ramp Up at Colonial Downs; Barn Area Opens June 27 Stall Superintendent Carlos Garcia and VP of Racing Operations Jill Byrne prepare for an influx of 800-plus horses who will spend the summer meet in Colonial’s backstretch. The second starting gate to be used at the Colonial meet arrives in New Kent from Maryland. This gate was used to start the 2022 Preakness field. Shane Burke begins his 20th season working in the Colonial Downs racing office. He has worked many positions over the years and will serve as a clocker in 2022. Horses will move into the barn area on Monday June 27, two weeks in advance of the season which begins July 11. Skies on June 20th provided a picturesque scene in the backstretch area. Starting gate staff prepares all 14 chutes for operation on opening day, July 11, and for gate training beginning the week of June 27. Grooms quarters are expected to be filled to capacity come opening day. Colonial’s washroom facility in the backstretch provides showers and laundry facilities for horsemen that reside in the backstretch during the meet. Valets Richie Ramhkelawan and Donald Cusick are on site preparing iockeys quarters for the 9-week meet. 2021 co-leading riders Horacio Karamanos and Joe Rocco, Jr. will return, as will Sheldon Russell and a host of others. Work, along with watering, continues on the Secretariat Turf Course, widest grass racing surface in the country.