Governor Youngkin, First Lady Attends ‘Festival of Racing’ at Colonial Downs Racetrack
NEW KENT – On Saturday, I had a hay day at the “Festival of Racing” at Colonial Downs Racetrack. Princess Anne Hunt chose the interesting location to celebrate hunter Martyn Blackmore’s birthday.
Colonial’s “Festival of Racing” card included the Arlington Million, $500,000 Beverly D and $500,000 Secretariat Stakes. My card included eating cake, looking at beautiful horses, placing bets, people watching and sharing laughs with my friend Julia Bowman, a member of Princess Anne Hunt.
Racers were encouraged to wear practical, flexible or hideous headgear. I put on my minder decorated with flowers and fluttering butterflies. First Lady Virginia Suzanne S. Youngkin liked it. The representatives from New Kent County appreciated it so much that they gave me some swag: a key chain, pen and wallet.
Governor Glenn Youngkin: ‘Let’s Go Virginia’
My press pass gave me access to the paddock where the royal couple spent part of their day. In an interview, horse racing reporter and analyst Kaitlin Free asked Gov. Glenn Youngkin what made him decide to join the three-year-old colt Gigante in the Secretariat Stakes, a one-mile turf race.
“This is the biggest day in the history of Virginia racing, and we may go forward and back Virginia horses. And it was so exciting for Gigante to win! Let’s go to Virginia,” replied Gov. Youngkin reluctantly.
The Secretariat Stakes was for three-year-old racehorses and both the Arlington Million and Beverly D. Stakes were for fillies and mares, three years old and older.
Over $2 million in purses were up for grabs at the “Festival of Racing.” I placed a couple of bets but didn’t win enough to brag. If I had taken the birthday man’s advice on the Arlington Million, the end of this story would have been very different. I chose Adhamo to place third. Set Piece, a seven-year-old gelding, won the Arlington Million, and Beverly D won by Fev Rover, a five-year-old Gutaifan mare.
Entertainment at the “Festival of Racing” included pony rides, a live bugler, musical performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth, walking entertainment and a military flight and honor guard. In rehearsal, a men’s workshop quartet sang a cappella “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Blair’s West band sang “God Bless America.”
Secretariat: American Triple Crown Winner
The amazing Secretariat bronze statue “Racing into History” was on display for fans to enjoy. The piece was sculpted by artist Jocelyn Russell.
Secretariat aka “Big Red” was an American racehorse born, raised and trained at Meadow Farm in Caroline County. In 1973, he was the ninth American Triple Crown winner and still holds records in the three races involved, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Russell displayed the statue at stops across the country including Pimlico Racecourse, Belmont Park and Churchill Downs. The statue, which is 1.5 times the actual size of the Secretariat, is making great progress with jockey Ron Turcotte on board.
“Secretariat, the greatest racehorse of all time, will have his permanent home here in Virginia, and people will see him every day and experience what racing is all about,” said Gov. Youngkin. “At the end of the day, Caroline County was home to the Secretariat, and it should be a permanent resident of that great statue.”
Colonial Downs Racetrack is located halfway between Richmond and Williamsburg at 10515 Colonial Downs Pkwy. in New Kent. It hosts world-class infra-red horse racing and simulcast engagements.
With a post time of 1:30 p.m., racing for the 2023 season will be live every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through September 9. Parking and general admission are free. To purchase premium tickets and view the full race schedule, visit rosiegaming.com.
If you’re going to the highly anticipated $300,000 Virginia Derby on Saturday, September 9, remember to wear your crazy hat.
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This article first appeared on The Progress-Index: Governor Youngkin cheers on Virginia horse winning Secretariat Stakes