(Wikipedia Photo)

(Wikipedia Photo)

Over 40,000 people showed up opening day where the surf meets the turf at the Saratoga of the west.  Just over 6,000 showed up last Saturday to witness and wager on the Commonwealth’s biggest race the $500,000 Virginia Derby.

A total of just over $1.9 million was wagered on the VA-Derby card while the Del Mar opener raked in over $10.2 million.

Which begs the question, what’s the big difference?

Well…there’s the Pacific Ocean, palm trees, tradition, a lovely town with hotels and restaurants and the ghost of Bing Crosby for starters.  Then, of course, there are the top horses, owners, trainers and jockeys…

Meets like Del Mar, and Saratoga which opened yesterday (with attendance of over 21,000 and handle topping $15 million), are on racing’s “watch list” – as in watch them for good reasons.  Others, like Colonial Downs, are on the “watch list” for totally different and worrisome reasons.

Starting today, VSN.com will be taking a look at the industry here, regionally and nationally as we search for answers to where we are and how we got here.  The next trick is figuring out how to fix the myriad of problems.


  1. The problem relates to location. Fredericksburg was the ideal location for the track, not New Kent. Unfortunately, politics entered the scene and eliminated chances of getting a track in the northern arena. Another factor has been the lack of support from breeders and steeplechase racing fans in the Leesburg, Manassas, Warrenton, The Plains and surrounding areas. They have shown almost no interest in helping Colonial Downs grow. So. now we see how this omission has found itself. Poor attendance has led to low wagering. No improvement appears in sight.

  2. As they say – LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION……….

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