New Kent, VA --- Colonial Downs will wrap up its 15th season of pari-mutuel harness racing this Sunday (Oct. 14) with the $390,125 Day of Champions card. Eight Virginia-bred championship races featuring 2- and 3-year-old pacers and trotters of both sexes will be decided in the richest “Champions” card ever.
In 2-year-old competition, Jane Dunavant’s Candid Photo had a dominating wire-to-wire effort in last week’s prep in advance of Sunday’s $48,625 colt and gelding trot. The Classic Photo gelding cut panels of :28.3, :59.2 and 1:29.3 before he coasted across the finish line in 1:59.1, 16 lengths over runner-up Dusty’s Superstar.
Eloise Eden, based on a convincing wire-to-wire 6-1/2 length win in the Filly Trot prep, will be favored in Sunday’s $49,675 final. Dan O’Mara, who guided the Ken Warkentin filly for trainer Joann Perry and owner Mark Bowser, led Eloise Eden to quarters of :28, :57.4 and 1:27.3 before cruising home in 1:56.4.
The fillies were faster than the colts and geldings in the freshman pacing preps as well. Morgan Hagerman’s Blueridge Adalia edged Miss Sowo in the filly prep in 1:55.1 while Amanda Jackson’s Hillbilly Mountain Breeze took advantage of a perfect pocket trip to capture the colt and gelding pace in 1:56.1. Both will be favored in their respective $49,675 and $50,150 finales on Sunday.
Dane Snyder’s Blueridge Abigail, a 2011 2-year-old Virginia-bred champ who captured the 3-year-old filly trot last Sunday in 1:59, has the largest bankroll of any stakes horse entered Sunday. The Keystone Savage filly has already amassed $211,550 in purse earnings, $111,150 from this year alone. Last month, she finished second in a $200,000 Indiana Sire Stake final at Indiana Downs. Driver Doug Snyder will direct Blueridge Abigail in the $48,400 final.
Mark Gray’s Oooh My Soul passed 2011 Virginia-bred champ Just Slick in deep stretch to take last week’s 3-year-old colt and gelding trot in 2:00.2. Just Slick had wired the field in a race the prior week in 1:58.2. The two will have a rematch in the $48,400 final.
The 3-year-old pacing category is the only one of last week’s preps where the male division was faster than the female one. Tye Loy’s Blueridge Dancer, another 2011 Virginia-bred champ, scored an impressive 1:55 triumph over Manley Brown’s Blueridge Reyes in the colt and gelding prep while Amanda Jackson’s Hillbilly Desire came from mid-pack in the turn to score a 1:56 win over Onery Lucy in the filly warmup. Hillbilly Desire has a better life mark though, a 1:52.3 clocking versus Blueridge Dancer’s 1:54. They will both be respective favorites in Sunday’s $46,400 and $48,800 finals.
In addition to the eight title events, an additional four overnight races will be added to Sunday’s card. The first of 12 will go to post at 1 p.m.
Colonial Downs will hold an Oktoberfest celebration in conjunction with the harness action. A German band will play music from the winner's circle stage, and a trackside microbrew sampling event will be available, too.