11/09/2012 12:02PM

Colonial Downs to trim days, stakes purses for summer meet


Colonial Downs in Virginia will race seven fewer live racing days next year and cut the purses for its two biggest stakes in an effort to boost average purse size during the 25-day meeting, the track said on Thursday.

The track received approval for the meet on Wednesday from the Virginia Racing Commission. The meet will begin on June 8 and run through July 13, with live racing Wednesday through Sunday. Racing Wednesday through Saturday will be conducted with a 6 p.m. first post, while racing on Sunday will begin at 12:55 p.m.

In a release, Colonial said the efforts to curb live racing dates and cut $300,000 from the purses of the Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby will boost the average race purse from $15,000 to “just under $22,000” next year. The purse of the Turf Cup will drop to $300,000 from $500,000 last year, while the Virginia Derby will be cut to $500,000 from $600,000.

The track will also re-implement a shuttle program for horses based in Maryland. Tracks in Maryland take a live-racing hiatus during the summer.

Tracks across the U.S. have been cutting live racing days over recent years in order to compensate for dramatic declines in the U.S. field crop over the past five years.