(NEW KENT, VA) — Colonial Downs will open its 17th thoroughbred race season this Saturday with three consecutive steeplechase events followed by six flat races including a trio that boast full fourteen horse fields, and the simulcast of the Belmont stakes between live races.
Featured race is the 16th running of the $50,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial Steeplechase Stakes (Gr. III), which attracted a large and highly talented field.
Among the dozen horses entered are Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away, the 2010 Eclipse Award winner, and leading owner Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy, a two-time Grade 3 winner already this year. Also entered for the 2 1/4-mile Ferguson were last year’s champion female competitor, Cat Feathers, and talented novice Mr. Hot Stuff.
The steeplechase stakes has been carded as the 3rd race, and will immediately follow the Belmont Stakes simulcast which goes to post at 6:36 PM.
Last year’s leading jockey and trainer will combine forces with the morning line favorite in Saturday’s $30,000 maiden special weight sixth race sprint. Sheldon Russell, who won his second straight riding championship in 2012, and Hugh McMahon, who won his first trainer’s title, send #3 Arkle Park out as the 3-1 early pick against eight other horses. The 3 year old Divine Park colt is coming off a runner-up finish at Atlantic City Racecourse April 13th.
Of the flat races scheduled, the fourth, eighth and ninth have 14 horse fields. The seventh has 13.
Doors to the general admission areas open Saturday at 11 AM for early simulcasting from Belmont Park. Dining rooms and Sky Suites open at 5 PM. First live race is at 6 PM and the Belmont stakes simulcast is at 6:36 PM.