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Sports · October 15, 2014

Virginia’s thoroughbred race track will close Nov. 1

Photo/Virginia Thoroughbred Association
Colonial Downs once hosted 45 days of thoroughbred racing in a season. This year, it had none.
Dramatic change is necessary to move Virginia racing forward. The glory days have faded into memory and the Virginia Thoroughbred is well on its path to demise
— Jeffrey Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Jacobs Entertainment Inc., the track’s owner
Virginia’s only thoroughbred race track, Colonial Downs in New Kent County east of Richmond, will close Nov. 1.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Wednesday morning:

Jeffrey Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Jacobs Entertainment Inc. of Golden, Colo., which owns the racetrack, told the Virginia Racing Commission this morning that he has turned over his operating license for Colonial Downs, making good on a threat he made earlier this month.

“Dramatic change is necessary to move Virginia racing forward,” Jacobs told the commission. “The glory days have faded into memory and the Virginia Thoroughbred is well on its path to demise.”


For the first time in its 17 years, the race track hosted no thoroughbred racing this summer. Colonial Downs and the organization representing Virginia horseman remained deadlocked over the number of racing days.

The track proposed fewer racing days with larger purses. The horsemen disagreed.

The only pari-mutuel wagering on thoroughbred racing in Virginia this fall will take place Saturday, Oct. 25, at the International Gold Cup steeplechase meet at Great Meadow.

Fauquier citizens and organizations, including the Warrenton-based Virginia Thoroughbred Association, have played significant roles in the industry, including the effort to win voter approval of pari-mutuel wagering in 1989. The later Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel served on the original state racing commission. Mr. Arundel abstained from the vote to grant Colonial Downs the license, because he believed its location wouldn’t attract enough horses or spectators.

Until recently, Warrenton resident Ernie Oare served on the commission.

Click here to continue reading Times-Dispatch story.
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