(WARRENTON, VA ---- 8/26/2015) --- Harness racing will return to Virginia this October for a four day pari-mutuel meet at the beautiful Oak Ridge Estate in Nelson County. Located just off Route 29 in Arrington, halfway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Oak Ridge last played host to pacers and trotters back in 2001. All the action is sponsored by the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) and will be contested over a one mile dirt oval on back-to-back weekends --- October 10/11 and 17/18. Wagering on the races will be available all four days. Win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and daily double bets will be offered. Highlight of the meet is the $300,000 (est.) Virginia Harness Day of Champions, scheduled for Sunday October 18th. Eight championship races featuring Virginia's best two and three year old pacers and trotters of both sexes will compete on the same card. Prep/elimination races will be held the prior weekend --- three years olds on Saturday and two years olds on Sunday. In addition to the Virginia Breeders' races, there are seven different late closer series that horses can enter. The first leg of these will be held either Saturday or Sunday of the first weekend, and the respective final legs, which carry purses of between $5,000 and $7,000, will be held on closing weekend. Two of the seven are open handicap races --- the John Holland Jr. Memorial Trot and the Oak Ridge Pace. The remaining five are open to standardbreds that are Virginia owned, bred or sired. Pacing events are named respectively for the USTA, the Holland Family and Nelson County, while the trotting counterparts are named for the VEA and "To All Who Helped Make This Season Happen". The barn area will open Sunday October 4th; qualifiers and the first draw will both take place on Wednesday October 7th. Horsemen must present current coggins papers for all horses upon arrival. For more information or to get stall applications, call Racing Secretary Craig Andow at 551-204-1796. The physical address for the Oak Ridge Estate is 2300 Oak Ridge Road, Arrington, Virginia 22922. For more details on the harness meet and all of the new VEA initiatives, visit www.virginiaequinealliance.com. Darrell Wood
(NEW KENT, VA) --- Colonial Downs will showcase Virginia-bred two and three year old pacers and trotters of both sexes Sunday afternoon in the annual $371,000 "Day of Champions" program, which will usher out the 2014 fall season. The four Commonwealth geared pacing events will be part of an eleven race pari-mutuel card starting at 1:00 PM while the four trotting stakes will be held as non-wagering races starting at 11:30 AM. Perfect Number, fresh off a three length win in last week's "Day of Champions" prep, is the early 9-5 favorite in the $49,400 three year old colt pace. Corey Braden, the meet's leading driver, will be in the sulky again for the Art Official gelding, who will face seven other sophomores in the seventh race. Filomena is the early 4-5 choice in the $48,000 three year old filly pacing championship. She defeated two year old champ Santa Baby by 1 3/4 lengths in last week's prep and hopes to turn the table from a year ago when she finished second to Santa Baby as a freshman. Frank Gannon's Riggy and Herman Hagerman's entry of Cam's Lilly and Blueridge Pushy are favored in the respective two year old $50,375 colt and $46,850 filly pacing divisions. Riggy wired the field in his prep race against five other foes in 1:57 2/5 while Hagerman's pair finished fourth and second a week ago after a tight blanket finish in 2:00 3/5. Here Comes Lucy, who won that race by a neck over two others, is actually the third choice at 4-1. Always Quick Star and Jingle Bells will try to defend their championships from a year ago as freshmen when they compete in the $44,600 filly and $42,000 colt/gelding trots as three year olds. Elma Lou and Wilbur Eden hope to parlay prep wins in the two year old filly and colt trots into championship titles on Sunday when they vie for $45,575 and $44,300 purses respectively.
(NEW KENT, VA --- Perfect Number and Filomena, runners-up in their respective 2013 Virginia-bred colt and filly pacing championship divisions as two year olds, scored wins in their three year old prep races Sunday at Colonial Downs in advance of next weekend's $350,000 Day of Champions card. After Christmas Parade dominated the first half of the $5,000 colt pace, Perfect Number came three wide out of the turn, passed a trio of front steppers in mid-stretch and charged home to win in a lifetime best 1:55 2/5. The Art Official gelding, who won his freshman prep a year ago, crossed three lengths ahead of Top Official. Leading driver Corey Braden directed the effort for trainer Freddy Darby. 2013 champ Handsome Jim was third in Sunday's warm-up. Filomena on the other hand, took the lead from the start and never looked back in the ladies division. The Western Ideal filly triggered quarter fractions of :28 1/5, :58.0 and 1:26 4/5 before closing the deal in 1:54 4/5 nearly two lengths over 2013 champ Santa Baby. Reinsman Braden guided Filomena for trainer Fran Raia II. For the second straight year, the three year old girls were speedier than the boys. The three year old trot events were held as non-bettors before the pari-mutuel card began and both freshman champs returned to the winners circle again. Always Quick Star, fresh off a win, second and third at the current fall meet, scored in the filly division in 2:01 3/5 while Jingle Bells (2:01 4/5) only had to beat one other foe in a two horse colt division. In Saturday's two year old prep races, Here Comes Lucy took advantage of a pocket trip and captured the filly pace prep in a thrilling finish where a neck margin separated the top three finishers. Pace setter Cam's Filly carried a slight lead into the top of the stretch but the eventual winner, Blueridge Pushy and Loves You Baby all came from behind to engage in the heart stopper. Here Comes Lucy, a Scott Warnick trainee, crossed in 2:00 3/5. The Allie's Western filly now has seven "in the money" finishes from just eight starts. Trainer Frank Gannon's Riggy wired the field in 1:57 2/5 in an uneventful colt & gelding pace. The Riggins colt tripped the timer in :29 3/5, :59 2/5 and 1:29 2/5 before crossing 4 Â½ lengths ahead of Bossman Mike. Riggy is owned by Leonard Hubbard and was driven by Frank Milby. A neck came into play in the filly trot prep as Elma Lou squeaked out a close win over Kiss My Cart in a three horse field. Renegade Marie went off stride coming out of the turn so a match race played out in the final quarter between the remaining pair. The neck victor, a Cantab Hall filly, finished in 2:07 4/5. Wilbur Eden dominated in the colt & gelding prep, besting a trio of other contenders in 2:01 1/5. The Federal Flex colt wired the field and hit the wire four lengths ahead of runner-up I Am Delightful. Entries will be drawn for next Sunday's "Day of Champions" card this Thursday October 23rd. by Darrell Wood, for Colonial Downs
(NEW KENT, VA.--- In a showdown of potential "Horse of the Meet" candidates, Bellator rose to the head of the class literally, capturing a blanket finish by a head margin over Hotunderthecollar in Thursday's $5,500 pacing feature at Colonial Downs. The 4 year old Rocknroll Hanover gelding entered the race with three wins in four starts at the current fall meet, all in late closer series company. Other trophy contenders included Vertigo Hanover, who had won four of five and, the consistent Rust Belt, who had two dominant wins and a pair of tight runner up finishes. Hotunderthecollar, fresh from five straight "in the money" finishes himself, set the pace early by cutting quarter fractions of :25 4/5, :53 4/5 and 1:21 4/5. Bellator came from fourth exiting the turn and passed Greybeard and Chesapeake Bay en route to a battle with Bellator in deep stretch. Corey Braden guided the winner to victory in a new life mark of 1:50 1/5 while Jeff Nisonger directed the second place finisher. Greybeard finished one-half length shy in third. Colonial Downs is dark on Friday. A ten race program will be carded Saturday beginning at 1:00 PM. by Darrell Wood, for Colonial Downs
"Racing Under Saddle" Exhibition, T-Shirt Giveaway & Driver's Bicycle Race Highlight "Back to the Track" Promotion Sunday October 5 at Colonial Downs. (NEW KENT, VA --- 9/30/14) ---- Colonial Downs will host a "Back to the Track" promotion Sunday October 5th that features a "racing under saddle" exhibition race, t-shirt giveaway, harness driver's bicycle race, and bingo games that are based on race results. Member tracks of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) each are holding a "Back to the Track" event in 2014 and Colonial Downs has a list of events Sunday geared to fans of all ages. The first ever "racing under saddle" exhibition race at Colonial will be a non-betting event but will offer $3,000 in prize money. This is a hybrid of harness and thoroughbred racing that is popular in Europe. A field of five female harness trainers will sit atop their respective trotters instead of in the sulky, and will compete 1 ¼ miles around Colonial's entire oval, encountering both turns over the country's largest harness track. This exhibition will be held after the third harness race at approximately 1:45 PM. Six of Colonial's harness drivers will sit on top of two wheels in another non-betting competition later in the card, but their hardware features handlebars and pedals versus the shafts and aerodynamic aspects of a sulky. The first ever Agee's bicycle race will be contested at the distance of one-quarter mile after the seventh harness race, and the bikes will be given away via prize drawings as soon as the race is over. All fans will receive a free harness racing bingo card on Sunday and compete for $500 in prize money. Winning spaces on the bingo cards will be determined by race results, and the first five participants to complete an "X" on their card will win $100 each. The first 400 adults will also receive a free "Back to the Track" t-shirt and after each race, the winning driver will give distribute children's tees via a t-shirt toss. Other events include drawings for unique rides in the starter's car and winner's circle presentations, live music with the York River Concert Band, magic and juggling courtesy of Jonathan Austin, and a kids foot race on the track after the last harness race. Colonial Downs offers a Sunday $18 Family 'n Friends 4-Pack special, where four attendees can get admission, programs, tip sheets, hot dogs and soft drinks for $18 when they present a 4-Pack coupon which is available at colonialdowns.com. Gates open at 12:30 PM and racing starts at 1:00 PM. Darrell Wood
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Studio City needed every step of the mile to run down the front running Lutetium in the $10,500 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway Friday night (Feb. 7). Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) set the fractions with marks of 29.1, 1:00 and 1:31 and tried desperately to make every step a winning one. He was close but no cigar. Studio City and Buffalo Raceway's leading driver Billy Dobson had other ideas. Starting a first over trip down the backstretch the final time, Studio City ($7.10) began a slow but methodical grind in chasing down Lutetium. Then in the shadow of the wire, he managed to poke a head in front to capture the win in 2:01.2 over the good track. Cedarridgetag (Peter Wrenn) took the show position. It was the first victory in four starts for Studio City this season. He has now earned $9,135 in 2014 and $133,868 lifetime. The 5-year-old gelding is owned by Scott Woogen and Lisa Denison and is trained by Lisa Lederhouse. Racing will resume on Saturday night with a 12-race card scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m. For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
(NEW KENT, VA --- 10/6/13) ---- With a temperature of 90 degrees and feature races carded at 1 ¼ miles, the prospect of seeing thoroughbreds compete over the Colonial Downs turf course Sunday afternoon seemed like a possibility, but it was pacers and trotters that battled in a pair of long distance series finales over the New Kent dirt oval. The final legs of the Good Ole USA $8,300 Trot and $8,900 Pace were contested in back to back races. Pro Deuce swept the pace by scoring a tight win over Sigh Of Relief and Charlie B in a blanket finish while Rockin To Do edged Elvis Returns by one half length in the trotting feature. Trainer/driver Jason Thompson's Pro Deuce scored a first leg division win in 1:53.0 then wired the field in the sole second leg division at a 7/8ths mile distance. The 4 year old Pro Bono Best gelding took advantage of a perfect pocket trip in the final to nip pacesetter Charlie B and fast closing Sigh Of Relief in 2:26.0. Thompson's only three drives at the Colonial fall meet have been aboard Pro Deuce and all have been wins. Stacy McLenaghan's Rockin To Do earned a first leg division win in a lifetime best 1:55 3/5 but went offstride in the following leg and finished ninth in a ten horse field. Jason Mac Dougall took over in the sulky Sunday and guided the 8 year old Glory B River gelding to a come from behind win in 2:29 2/5. After Taste of Paradise set the first four fractions, Rockin To Do came to the far outside at the head of the stretch and passed Apparition and the front stepper en route to his 26th lifetime win. Colonial Downs returns to action Wednesday with an 11 race card beginning at 1 PM. by Darrell Wood for Colonial Downs
The Virginia Racing Commission awarded 2013 harness racing dates to Colonial Downs yesterday (Nov. 7) at its monthly meeting.
Amanda Jackson's Hillbilly Desire and Tye Loy's Blueridge Dancer scored wins Sunday (October 14) in their respective Virginia-bred three year old filly and colt/gelding pacing divisions as Colonial Downs ushered out its fall meet with the $391,150 "Day of Champions" harness racing card.
Colonial Downs will wrap up its 15th season of pari-mutuel harness racing this Sunday October 14th with the $390,125 "Day of Champions" card.
Wayne Long's Hearts N Flowers scored a convincing wire-to-wire harness racing victory in Wednesday's (October 10) featured filly and mare pacing feature at Colonial Downs as closing week festivities kicked off. Hearts N Flowers, who had been racing primarily in New York Sire Stakes company, came into Virginia with a sophomore year bankroll of over $67,000.
Eloise Eden wired the field and scored a convincing six and a half length win in Saturday's $5,000 Virginia-bred 2 Year Old Filly Trot, which served as a prep for next Sunday's $50,000 (est.) finale at Colonial Downs.
Colonial Downs, in the homestretch now of its fifteenth annual harness racing season, will host a series of $5,000 Virginia-bred prep races this weekend that lead up to next Sunday's $400,000 "Day of Champions" program.
The driver's championship race at the Colonial Downs fall harness racing season heated up Thursday afternoon (October 4) as Chris Page and Corey Braden, two names synonymous with titles here, made big moves in the standings.
On a day when nine of 10 winning horses established new life speed marks at Colonial Downs, Dan O'Mara's 2 year old filly trotter True Day Dream went beyond that and tied a track record - a harness racing record that had stood for five years. True Day Dream entered Wednesday's (October 3) fifth race with five wins, a second and two thirds in eight career starts, so it came as no surprise that she was sent off as the 1-2 betting favorite.
Harness racing driver/trainer Brad Irvine, competing at Colonial Downs for the first time ever this fall, had his best day yet Sunday afternoon when both his horses reached the winners circle.