New Kent, VA --- Colonial Downs opens its 16th season of pari-mutuel harness racing this Wednesday (Sept. 18) with a ten race card highlighted by a pair of first leg divisions in both the VHHA Pacing Series and the Horace Martin Memorial Pacing Series.
Last year’s respective Virginia-bred 2-year-old filly and colt champion pacers will compete in separate VHHA divisions Wednesday as 3-year-olds.
John Ingram’s Blueridge Casino captured the $50,150 colt/gelding title in 1:56.4 on the “Day of Champions” program last fall while Morgan Hagerman’s Blueridge Adalia won the $49,675 filly title in 1:56. Drivers Jeff Nisonger and Herman Hagerman, who directed both those championship wins, will be back in the sulky for their respective VHHA series starts in the fourth and seventh races.
The Horace Martin Memorial fields will compete at the odd distance of seven-eighths of a mile Wednesday. Fortune’s Jenna, with a career bankroll of $205,892, is favored in the first division while Art At Heart, a winner of $243,881, is the early choice in the latter division. The stakes duo has been carded as the fifth and eighth races.
Trainer Dean Eckley, a newcomer to the Colonial meet, has entered nine horses in the opening day’s races while returnees Mark Gray, Dustin Ingraham and George Anthrop will send out five each.
Ingraham leads all reinsmen with seven drives while Gray, Nisonger and newcomer Robert Dinning have six each. Veterans Corey Braden and Frank Milby have five drives apiece scheduled.
Colonial Downs will continue racing on a Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon basis thru Oct. 27. The fourth floor Turf Club Dining Room and Sky Suites will be open on weekends beginning at 12 Noon. Simulcast wagering from tracks around the country will also be available on live race days.
The New Kent County Fair will be on the grounds during opening weekend this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 21-22). A $5 carload special is being offered which includes parking and racing/fair admission for all passengers. Highlight of the fair on Saturday is a post-racing concert with Statler Brothers tribute band “American Pride” at 4:30 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, call 804.966.7223 or visit www.colonialdowns.com.