03/10/2003 12:00AM

Virginia Derby the highlight


The All Along Breeders' Cup, a Grade 3 turf stakes race that's part of the biggest day of the year at Colonial Downs, has gotten a $50,000 purse boost to $200,000 this season.

Colonial, which will hold 14 stakes races during a six-week, 30-day program that runs from June 13 to July 22, also raised the purses for 11 other stakes races to $50,000 apiece.

The track's signature event, the sixth annual Virginia Derby, will remain a $500,000 race for the second straight year. The 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds is scheduled for July 12.

The Virginia Derby undercard will include the All Along, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares, and the $50,000 David "Zeke" Ferguson Memorial, a Grade 2 steeplechase.

All but one of the 14 scheduled stakes races will be run on the Secretariat turf course, the widest grass surface in the country at 180 feet. The lone dirt stakes is the W. Meredith Bailes Memorial, a six-furlong race for Virginia-breds.

Colonial will race five days a week. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday programs will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern. First post for Saturday and Sunday cards will be 1 p.m.