The Biggest Day in Virginia Horse Racing History is Saturday
Posted on August 9th, 2023
Colonial Downs® First Festival of Racing Features 3 Prestigious Stakes Races
NEW KENT, Va. (August 9, 2023) – Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) is proud to bring three major graded turf course stakes races to the New Kent track for the first time, this Saturday, August 12 – the Grade 1 Arlington Million, the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes and the Grade 2 Secretariat Stakes. Combined purses for the three stakes races at the Colonial Downs Festival of Racing Presented by New Kent County are $2 million! All are very prestigious, have storied histories and all have been run for decades, mainly at Arlington International Racecourse which closed in 2021. Additional entertainment features being offered Saturday include a military flyover, honor guard, live bugler, musical performances, pony rides, petting zoo and a photo booth. Parking and general admission both remain free for this special event.
*Track officials are available for preview interviews tomorrow and Friday and will be on-site Saturday*
“Colonial Downs is taking things to a whole new level with these three stakes races under the new ownership of Churchill Downs,” said Frank Hopf, Senior Director of Racing Operations. “Our fans have come to expect a top rate experience and our first Festival of Racing will go beyond those expectations. Some of the top turf horses in the world will be running in New Kent County this Saturday and will bring international exposure to Virginia.”
The initial Arlington Million took place in 1981 and was the first thoroughbred race to ever offer a purse of $1 million. The Million, which received Grade 1 status in 1983, was geared to attract European horses before their year-end championship events in fall. The race annually attracts the best turf runners in the world.
The first Beverly D Stakes was run in 1987 and is for fillies and mares, three years of age and up. The stakes reached Grade 1 status in 1991. The winner of the 2023 Beverly D Stakes automatically advances to the “Cup” Championships at Santa Anita this November. Seven Beverly D winners have gone on to be voted American Championship Female Turf Horse.
The Secretariat Stakes is named for the horse whom many consider to be the greatest of all time. Secretariat was born, raised, and trained at The Meadow Farm in Caroline County. “Big Red” was the 9th Triple Crown winner in 1973, sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in record-setting times that still stand today.
The spectacular Secretariat “Racing into History” bronze statue will be at Colonial Downs for fans to enjoy at the Festival of Racing. The breathtaking piece was sculpted by acclaimed artist Jocelyn Russell, who has trailered it to stops around the country this year including extended visits at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, Pimlico Racecourse for the Preakness, and Belmont Park for the Belmont Stakes. The statue, which will be permanently based in Ashland if fundraising goals are met, is 1.5 times Secretariat’s actual size and showcases the horse racing full stride with jockey Ron Turcotte aboard.
Premium tickets, full racing schedule and information for the Festival of Racing are available at www.colonialdowns.com