Colonial told to conduct harness meet; Va. panel issues order over track's objections


The Virginia Racing Commission yesterday ordered the management of Colonial Downs to conduct a 30-day harness meet this summer along with the 25-day thoroughbred meet in September and October.

Commission head Robin Traywick Williams said the panel ordered the harness meet over the objections of Colonial Downs officials, who wanted to drop harness racing for a year at the southern Virginia track. They argued that harness racing lost too much money during last year's inaugural season.

"We all felt that the harness people deserved another chance," Williams said.

The 30-day meet will take place between July 1 and Aug. 15, she said. The commissioners chose July 1 because that's when the Maryland Jockey Club takes over management of the track and its off-track betting parlors.

Williams said the commissioners wanted to make sure the Maryland Jockey Club, not Colonial Downs, managed the harness meet.

The thoroughbred meet, the third at the financially troubled track, will take place from Sept. 5 to Oct. 10. Daily purses will probably range from $125,000 to $140,000, Williams said.

Pub Date: 2/26/99

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