Horse Racing

Dollars and Consciousness: Colonial Times

It can’t Racecourse Saratoga or Del Marbut on a busy summer racing schedule Colony Downs most certainly makes some noise thanks to a wallet fueled by historic horse races, a well-adjusted schedule and continued emphasis on turf racing.

This is Colonial’s fourth year of operation under the Colonial Downs Group and owner Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, which brought the New Kent, Va., racetrack back to life in 2019 after the Thoroughbred race was suspended. stopped for six years after riders and former owner Jeffrey Jacobs were unable to reach an agreement on wallets and race dates.

When Colonial opened in 1997, its early good idea was to offer most of its turf racing on its two turf fields — resulting in large fields that appeal to bettors. That idea continues to pay off, but now Virginia’s lone track is also HHR’s latest success story – a form of pari-mutuel betting through machines that closely resemble slot machines.

In June, HHR machines processed $331 million in Virginia — more than three times the $88 million wagered in June 2019 and up 39% from the corresponding month last year. That first increase can be attributed to more HHR stores being added in the state, and the second figure shows the game is continuing to attract players.

HHR’s continued growth potential in the state plays a key role in the fact that Churchill Downs Inc. signed a buyout agreement in February to acquire the majority of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment’s assets for $2.485 billion, pending the competition of regulatory approvals.

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The HHR interest helped boost wallets at Colonial, reaching $8,614,800 when the track returned to racing in 2019. Last year, that total was $11,517,500 — up 34% from 2019. This year, the track intends to offer $600,000 in average daily wallets—a deal that will see Colonial a prize pool of around $16.2 million at this year’s meeting, which has been extended by six race days. into 27 days. Those days could grow further as more HHR games are added in Virginia.

Colonial races are scheduled Monday through Wednesday, a tournament that avoids going head-to-head with major summer races like Saratoga and Del Mar.

“In an extremely competitive racing environment, we look forward to another season with bigger payoffs and greater incentives for our riders and industry stakeholders towards strengthening participate in the 2022 season,” said Jill Byrne, Colonial’s vice president of racing operations, prior to the meeting. “Our team is delighted to present a diverse program of racing opportunities on our outstanding racing surfaces.”

At the start of the meeting, John Marshall, Colonial’s vice president of operations, said the partnership has also contributed to the track’s growth.

“We are extremely proud of our past performances and the opportunity to build on our enormous success positioning Colonial Downs as one of the elite boutique racetrack gatherings,” said Marshall. of the nation for riders and fans,” Marshall said. “Virginia Equine Alliance and Virginia HPBA have also provided commitment and support to our goal of revitalizing racing in Virginia and continuing its growth and prosperity.”

With a lot of familiar Mid-Atlantic riders importing horses, as well as trainers to evacuate from the trapdoor Arlington International Racecourse like Chris Block and Larry Rivelli, this year’s meeting averaged 8.19 starters per race — up slightly from last year’s 8.1 average.

With the success in this race, Virginia will soon see an increase in livestock production. Just 20 years ago, Virginia’s number of ponies was 463, but in 2020 that number has dropped to 103. And the number of mares crossed into Virginia stalls in 2021 is just 19, down from 19. with 550 animals in 2002.

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