Photo courtesy of PAULICK REPORT

Photo courtesy of PAULICK REPORT

by Natalie Voss | 07.15.2013 | 11:57am

(Editor’s Note: Natalie Voss was a VTA intern some years back and spent a summer at Colonial Downs.  Her article is well done as we’d expect and some of the comments are accurate while others [regarding VA’s source market fee and CLN share of same] are not…)

It’s 6:10 p.m. on Saturday at Colonial Downs, two hours before the post time of the track’s biggest race of the year, and from inside the press box you can tell there’s a crowd outside.

Even when the band, which seems to be playing covers typical of wedding receptions, takes a break, there’s a buzz rising from the apron. Fans are two or three deep in spots along the rail, and the crowd thickens once the horses leave the paddock for the post parade. It’s not quite standing room only—a few families have brought folding chairs or quilts, treating the night like a picnic— but it’s close. There are groups of girls wearing fancy hats like the ones they’d seen on TV this past May; families with little kids; young couples out for a date.

On Friday night, the eve of Virginia Derby day, the crowd was lighter but its demographics weren’t much different. People gathered in clusters wherever the horses were, trying to sort out which number they thought was prettiest, or which one Horacio Karamanos was on.

To read the rest of Natalie’s post, click here.

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