Day At The Track

Colonial Downs set to start on Wednesday

09:20 AM 15 Sep 2014 NZST
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(NEW KENT, VA --- 9/14/14) ---- Colonial Downs' 17th annual harness racing season will kick off this Wednesday September 17th at the home of the "one turn mile" with a ten race card beginning at 1:00 PM. Draws for both the Wednesday & Thursday programs took place this weekend.

Featured races are a pair of late closer series that boast two divisions each. The Horace Martin Memorial Pacing Series' first leg will be contested at a 7/8ths mile distance and has nine horse fields in each division. Herman Hagerman's McBlack, based on five straight "in the money" finishes at The Red Mile, is favored in race four while Stacey McLenaghan's Hale Street is top early choice in the seventh race.

The second "Martin" leg, scheduled for September 24th, will be at a one mile distance while the third and final legs will be contested at 1 1/4 miles.

The VHHA Pacing Series has a pair of six horse fields that will vie in the fifth and sixth race. George Antrhop's Daggy is top pick early while McLenaghan's Wishingonadragon is favored late. The future VHHA legs will all be at the mile distance.

Corey Braden and Frank Milby, last year's second and third leading reinsmen at the New Kent meet, return to Virginia and have nine and seven drives respectively on Wednesday. Jeff Nisonger, fifth in the '13 standings has six drives in the opener as does Chuck Perry.

Trainer George Anthrop populates Wednesday's card in grand fashion with nine horses in to go while returnees Gerry Longo and Herman Hagerman, along with newcomer David Lake, have five in each.

The Colonial meet will continue thru October 26th with racing slated every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 PM. General admission is $3 and kids 12 and under are free. The 4th floor Turf Club Dining Room will be open on weekends.

Opening weekend features two unique promotions --- one participatory while the other, not quite so.

On Saturday, September 20th, the VHHA (Virginia Harness Horsemen's Association) will select the name of eight fans in attendance to become one day "horse owners". Those fans will return the following day as "owners" and get to keep the amount of purse money their respective horse earns in a $3,000 race. They will also tour the barn area, meet their trainer and driver, and enjoy a lunch for 2 in the VHHA Sky Suite. This promotion will continue every Saturday thru October 18th.

The Sunday September 21st card will feature popular ostrich and camel races, which had become a Father's Day tradition at Colonial Downs in the 2012 and 2013 summer thoroughbred meets. In keeping with a standardbred theme, ostriches will also have a sulky of sorts attached to them for the event. The camel race will be after the 5th harness race and the ostrich race will be after 8th harness race. Kids will be invited to run in a 100 yard dash on the track after the races and will actually line up behind the starter's car.

by Darrell Wood, for Colonial Downs

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