Steeplechase racing, a longtime Virginia tradition, will be a regular feature at Colonial Downs when the New Kent County track reopens under new ownership and management this summer, the National Steeplechase Association and Colonial Downs Group announced Tuesday.
Colonial Downs will open its 15-date meet Thursday, Aug. 8, and will race on a three-day-a-week schedule through Saturday, Sept. 7. Steeplechase racing will be featured during each racing week. While subject to change, current plans call for two jump races each Saturday of the meet.
“The National Steeplechase Association Board of Directors and I are delighted to be a part of the inaugural meet of the new Colonial Downs,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “We have a very large constituency in Virginia, and there's great enthusiasm in the jump-racing community for returning to a tremendous facility.”
“Colonial Downs welcomes the return of steeplechase racing to the Secretariat Turf Course, a 1 1/8-mile circuit that is–at 180 feet–the widest in North America,” said Jill Byrne, Colonial's vice president of racing operations. “Jump racing has such a deep history in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region, so we are thrilled to host a time-honored tradition as racing returns to the Commonwealth.”