02/02/2005 1:00AM

Colonial plans split meet, bonus


Colonial Downs and its horsemen are planning to split the track's summer meet in order to hold a three-day Turf Festival over Labor Day with a new race linked to a $2 million bonus, the executive director of the Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said Wednesday.

The plan, which would need to be approved by the state's racing commission, would award the $2 million bonus to a 3-year-old horse who wins Colonial's Virginia Derby; Arlington Park's Secretariat Stakes or Saratoga Race Course's Hall of Fame Stakes; the Colonial Turf Cup, a new $250,000 race at Colonial Downs; and the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf, according to Frank Petramalo, executive director of the horsemen's group. The bonus would be funded by Jacobs Entertainment, the holding company that owns Colonial Downs.

The Colonial Turf Cup would be run over Labor Day weekend, when Colonial would hold a three-day meet nearly a month after the track closes a 37-day summer meet on Aug. 6. The weekend would also include several other yet-to-be-determined turf stakes, Petramalo said.

The racing commission is scheduled to hear the proposal during a meeting on Feb. 16.