Colonial Downs in VA to Resume Live Horse Racing in July

Colonial Downs in VA to Resume Live Horse Racing in July

Colonial Downs racetrack will resume live horse races starting in July.

The New Kent County track said in a news release that the season in Virginia will run seven weeks — July 19 to Sept. 1.

Racing will be Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with post times at 1:45 p.m. The total stakes are $2.75 million for thoroughbred races. Wagers can be made win-place-show and exotic.

“As we enter our third year of racing, Colonial Downs looks forward to once again hosting top horses and horsemen from across the country with daily purses offered amongst the highest during the summer months,” Jill Byrne, vice president of racing operations at Colonial Downs Group, said in the release. “The past year of the pandemic has been so challenging for everyone, we can’t wait to see our wonderful fans and supporters safely enjoying the excitement of live horse racing.”

Turf racing has long been a Virginia staple. Colonial Downs opened in 1997 and hosted thoroughbred and harness racing through 2014.

A dispute between the horsemen’s association and then-owner Jacobs Entertainment shuttered the track in 2014.

It resumed racing in 2019 after the General Assembly’s approval of the track’s sale to Chicago-based Rev Racing, and the season was short-lived because of the pandemic in 2020.

Big Closing Week on Tap

The 2021 closing week Aug. 30-Sept. 1 will feature over $1.2 million in stakes races, the release said, highlighted by the Virginia Derby and Virginia Oaks on Aug. 31.

The Virginia Derby was run in July until thoroughbred racing ended in 2013.

In-season, dining is offered at the Jockey Club (casual) and Turf Club (upscale), as well as trackside concessions for spectators.

Colonial Downs also hosts historical horse racing at Rosie’s Gaming Emporium on-site and has a restaurant and bar.

Premium Tickets On Sale Next Week

General admission and parking are free. Premium tickets for private suites, reserved grandstand seating and outdoor club boxes go on sale March 15 at

“I think we are all ready to put some fun back in our lives. With a variety of ticketing and dining options as well as free general admission, Colonial Downs makes for an entertaining afternoon and evening out for everyone,” John Marshall, executive vice president of operations at Colonial Downs Group, said in the release.

Virginia’s online sports betting went live at the end of January and it will have casinos as early as next year after voters last November approved them in four cities. Richmond residents will be asked in November to approve a casino it the city.



Andi Petrini is a Virginia-based freelance journalist for She has nearly 20 years of experience in newsrooms in Virginia and North Carolina, and has been a team editor for sports, news and features. She also led the internship program at the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.), and was a member of Associated Press Sports Editors.

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