Colonial Downs 2023 Stakes Schedule Announced

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.

Colonial’s Secretariat Turf Course is 180 feet wide (Coady Photography).

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.