A record of more than $5.2 million in stakes purses will be up for grabs at the upcoming 27-day meeting at Colonial Downs which runs from Thursday, July 13 through Saturday, September 9.
The total is buoyed by the relocation of the Grade I Arlington Million, Grade I $500,000 Beverly D. and Grade II $500,000 Secretariat Stakes from their long-time home at Arlington International Racecourse (the Million and Beverly D. were raced at Churchill Downs in 2022). In addition, the Grade III New Kent County Virginia Derby will carry a $500,000 purse, $200,000 more than last year, and its sister race the (Listed) Virginia Oaks, has been kicked up by $50,000 to $250,000.
The Million, Beverly D., and Secretariat will be raced on Saturday, August 12, the traditional weekend for the internationally renowned trio. The Million will be run at 1-1/4 miles and the Beverly D. will be contested at 1-3/16 miles while the one-mile Secretariat leads perfectly into the nine-furlong Virginia Derby four weeks later closing day Saturday, September 9.
It seems only fitting that the Secretariat, named for the Virginia-bred 1973 Triple Crown winner, has now found a home in the Commonwealth as the 50th anniversary of “Big Red’s” Triple Crown is celebrated.
The aforementioned Virginia Derby will headline a card with $1.3 million in stakes purses. In addition to the Virginia Derby and Oaks, the closing day program will include the $150,000 Da Hoss Stakes for older horses at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, $150,000 Colonial Cup for older horses at 1-1/2 miles, $125,000 Rosie’s Stakes for 2-year-olds sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on turf, and $125,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes for 2-year-olds over a two-turn 1-1/16 miles on the turf.
The stakes program kicks off opening weekend with a quartet of turf races for Virginia-bred or -sired older runners on Saturday, July 15: the $125,000 Edward P. Evans at a mile, the $125,000 Brookmeade for filles and mares at 1-1/16 miles, and the $125,000 Punch Line and $125,000 Tyson Gilpin both at 5 ½ furlongs with the latter of the pair restricted to fillies and mares.
A pair of $150,000 open stakes races – the Van Clief and the Andy Guest – headline the following Saturday, July 22. Both races are carded at 5 ½ furlongs with the Andy Guest restricted to fillies and mares.
The $100,000 Housebuster Overnight Handicap for 3-year-olds at 7 dirt furlongs will be showcased on the July 29 card.
Two-year-olds are featured on Saturday, August 5 with the $150,000 Keswick for filles going five furlongs on the dirt and the $150,000 Hickory Tree Stakes for Virginia-bred juveniles also at five furlongs.
The Saturday, September 2 card is highlighted by a quintet of stakes races all on turf: the $150,000 Jamestown Stakes is for Virginia-bred or -sired 2-year-olds going 5 ½ furlongs while the remaining four events are for Virginia-restricted horses – the $150,000 Meadow Stable for older horses at 5 ½ furlongs and its female companion race the $150,000 Camptown, and the $150,000 Bert Allen and its filly and mare counterpart the $150,000 Nellie Mae Cox, both at 1-1/16 miles.