01/04/2013 2:42PM

Colonial Downs: Virginia Derby, Colonial Turf Cup get purse cuts


The two biggest races of the summer at Colonial Downs will take substantial purse cuts as part of the 2013 stakes schedule announced earlier this week.

The Colonial Turf Cup, restored to Grade 2 status for this season, has taken a $200,000 hit and will now be worth $300,000. The Grade 2 Virginia Derby will now offer a purse of $500,000, a reduction of $100,000.

According to a press release, the purse cuts were necessary to “help boost the level for overnight races.”

Overall, Colonial will present 15 stakes worth a collective $1.7 million. A year ago, the Virginia track presented 17 stakes worth $2 million. The totals do not include the $30,000 Old Nelson, a starter handicap that Colonial lists as part of its stakes undercard on Colonial Turf Cup Day, June 22.

A pair of stakes for Virginia-breds, the Chesapeake and the Daniel Van Clief, will not be run this summer. Four stakes for open company, including three on the card supporting the Virginia Derby on July 13, received a purse boost of $25,000 apiece to $75,000.

One of those races, the Kitten’s Joy for 3-year-olds and up, will increase in distance from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/2 miles. The Brookmeade for Virginia-bred fillies and mares will lengthen from a mile to 1 1/16 miles.

In addition to the Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby, the graded stakes offered are the Grade 3 Edward Evans All Along on June 22, the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks on July 13, and the Grade 3 Zeke Ferguson Memorial, a $50,000 steeplechase on opening day, June 8.