Colonial Downs Racetrack

Virginia Derby

18th running of the $200,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby (Gr. 3)

​Tuesday September 1, 2020

Colonial Downs – New Kent, Virginia
1 1/8 miles over the Secretariat Turf Course

Virginia Derby History

The first Virginia Derby was held at Colonial Downs on October 3, 1998 in front of 8,103 fans. Governor James S. Gilmore III declared the day “Secretariat Day” in honor of the newly dedicated turf course. Even though the track opened in 1997, the turf course was not ready to use until ’98. From 1998 until the 2013 Virginia Derby, the stakes was contested at the 1 1/4 miles distance. It received Grade 3 status in 2004 then earned Grade 2 recognition which the stakes maintained through that ’13 edition.

The first three Derbies were held in the fall then in 2001, the racing season switched to summer. Instead of going head to head with major Breeders’ Cup preps, the new mid-July Derby date attracted higher quality horses including Eclipse award champions like Kitten’s Joy, English Channel and Gio Ponti who all won Virginia’s Derby. In 2002, the purse rose from $200,000 to $500,000 and in ’06, it rose to $1 million. From ’05 thru 2010, the Derby was part of the “Grand Slam of Grass”, a four race series that offered a combined $5 million in purse and bonus monies to a horse that swept all four (Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby at Colonial, the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington, and the Breeders’ Cup Turf). The closest any horse got to the sweep was Paddy O’ Prado who in 2010 — the Grand Slam’s last year — won the Turf Cup, Derby and Secretariat but did not compete in the Breeders’ Cup.

The final thoroughbred meet during Colonial’s first incarnation was in 2013. In 2015, the Virginia Derby was renamed the Commonwealth Derby and was contested at Laurel Racecourse through 2017. It was not held in 2018 since Colonial Downs had planned to begin racing in 2019 and would be able to showcase a graded stakes as part of its first year offering even by taking a year off. The three Commonwealth Derby editions held in Maryland are not considered true Virginia Derbies, so the ’19 edition was actually the 17th running of this stakes.

2019 – English Bee (English Channel – Evil Kitten); Jockey – Jorge Vargas Jr.; Trainer – Graham Motion; Owner – Calumet Farm
2013 – War Dancer (War Front – Deed I Do); Jockey – Alan Garcia; Trainer – Ken McPeek; Owner – Magdalena Stable
2012 – Silver Max (Badge of Silver – Kissin Rene); Jockey – Robby Albarado; Trainer – Dale Romans; Owner – Bacon/Wells
2011 – Air Support (Smart Strike – Gaze); Jockey – Alex Solis; Trainer – Shug McGaughey; Owner – Stuart Janney III
2010 – Paddy O’Prado (El Prado – Fun House); Jockey – Kent Desormeaux; Trainer – Dale Romans; Owner – Winchell Thoroughbreds
2009 – Battle of Hastings (Royal Applause – Subya); Jockey – Tyler Baze; Trainer – Jeff Mullins; Owner – Michael House
2008 – Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat – Chipeta Springs); Jockey – Garrett Gomez; Trainer – Christophe Clement; Owner – Castleton Lyons
2007 – Red Giant (Giant’s Causeway – Beyond The Sun); Jockey – Horacio Karamanos; Trainer – Todd Pletcher; Owner – Peachtree Stable
2006 – Go Between (Point Given – Mediation); Jockey – Garrett Gomez; Trainer – Bill Mott; Owner – Peter Vegso
2005 – English Channel (Smart Strike – Belva); Jockey – John Velazquez; Trainer – Todd Pletcher; Owner – James Scatuorchio
2004 – Kitten’s Joy (El Prado – Kitten’s First); Jockey – Edgar Prado; Trainer – Dale Romans; Owner – Ken & Sarah Ramsey
2003 – Silver Tree (Hennessy – Blue Begum); Jockey – Edgar Prado; Trainer – Bill Mott; Owner -Peter Vegso
2002 – Orchard Park (Hennessy – Blue Begum); Jockey – Edgar Prado; Trainer – Bill Mott; Owner – Peter Vegso
2001 – Potaro (Catrail – Bianca Cappello); Jockey – Brent Bartram; Trainer – Jonathan Sheppard; Owner – Augustin Stable
2000 – Lightning Paces (Thirty Eight Paces – Bear Feet): Jockey – Greg Hutton; Trainer – John Robb; Owner – Tulip Hill Farm
1999 – Phi Beta Doc (Doc’s Leader – Smart Queen); Jockey – Ramon Dominguez; Trainer – Robert W. Leonard; Dennis Foster & Robert Leonard
1998 – Crowd Pleaser (A.P. Indy – Creaking Board); Jockey – Jen-Luc Samyn; Trainer – Jonathan Sheppard; Owner – Augustin Stable

New Kent County Virginia Derby Attracts 47 Nominations
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Trainer Graham Motion Plans To Enter Four Horses In Derby Day Stakes August 31st at Colonial Downs
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Calumet Farms English Bee Leads Nine Entered For Saturday’s Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs
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$100,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance/Kitten’s Joy And $100,000 Exacta Systems Rosie’s Stakes Bolster New Kent County Virginia Derby Undercard Saturday Evening At Colonial Downs
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New Kent County Virginia Derby Night Wagering Menu Features Two Pick 5 Bets With Industry Low 12% Takeout
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American Idol Contestant Shayy Winn To Sing National Anthem
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Four Wheel Drive Makes A Victorious Debut In $100,000 Exacta Systems Rosie’s Stakes $100,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance/Kitten’s Joy Goes To Doc Boy
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Historical Horse Racing

Historical Horse Racing