Live thoroughbred horse racing is coming back to Virginia in August.
Colonial Downs was granted its operating license from the Virginia Racing Commission on Thursday. The facility will bring live racing and 600 historical horse racing machines to New Kent County, according to a news release by Colonial Downs.
The Rosie’s gaming emporium with off track betting at Colonial Downs plans to open mid-April. Colonial Downs in partnership with the Virginia Equine Alliance plans to have 15 thoroughbred horse racing dates next year.
Live racing starts Aug. 8-Sept. 7 with a 1,000 stall stable area to open July 25. Updates on Rosie’s, race conditions and race purse levels for Colonial Downs will be announced soon, according to the news release.
Colonial Downs senior vice president and general manager John Marshall said the group is delivering on its promise to revitalize horse racing in the commonwealth.
“This is an exciting step for everyone impassioned by the rebirth of live racing in Virginia,” Marshall said in the news release. “We are already making significant progress preparing Colonial Downs to evolve into one of the country’s premier race meets.”
Virginia Equine Alliance president Debbie Easter said it has been a long four years waiting for the day Colonial Downs will begin operating again after closing in 2014.
“Our owners, breeders, trainers, veterinarians and everyone else associated with horse racing in Virginia have much anticipated the return of live racing at Colonial Downs and the resurgence in our industry that we know will come with it,” Easter said in the news release.
The facility will reopen in April in New Kent with historical horse racing machines and satellite wagering on live horse racing across the country. A few of the facility’s dining options will also be available in April.
Colonial Downs spokesperson Mark Hubbard said the group is excited to bring 800 new jobs and $300 million in investment to Virginia in 2019.
“We are eager to bring thoroughbred horse racing back to Colonial Downs along with a new form of electronic gaming entertainment to New Kent, Hampton Roads, Richmond and the Roanoke Valley,” Hubbard said.
New Kent Economic Development director Matthew Smolnik said the facility will truly become an entertainment destination and put New Kent on the map.
“I was at the Virginia Racing Commission meeting Thursday and to hear the commissioners praise and thank the Colonial Downs group for their investment in Virginia and for submitting such a detailed application was a testament to the commitment and professionalism of the entire Colonial Downs team,” Smolnik said.
“The visitors to the track will experience a much grander Colonial Downs along with the all new Rosie’s Gaming Emporium right in New Kent County,” Smolnik said.
Colonial Downs will generate $25 million annually in state tax revenue, $17 million in annual local tax revenue and $25 million in revenue for Virginia’s horse industry, according to the news release.
Colonial Downs is currently constructing a Rosie’s off track betting parlor in Richmond and looking at possible sites in Hampton, Chesapeake and Vinton.
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