by Nick Hahn

Even before the conclusion of Colonial’s meet on July 13, many racing officials were assessing the figures looking to improve the 2014 meet. I am not a CPA, nor do I track financials on a daily basis during the meet — I’m too busy handicapping — but in the meet’s aftermath, I found a few numbers that were meaningful to me.  Herewith, my 10-to-1 Colonial countdown… and, by the way, let’s hope the number of racing days never makes this list.

10 The number of starters in the Virginia Derby. With no clear dominant three year old turf horse this summer, the Virginia Derby was up for grabs. This year’s Derby competitors should be a fun group to follow coming out of Providence Forge. Virginia Derby winner War Dancer appears to be headed to the $1 million Travers on Saratoga’s dirt; Charming Kitten and Rydilluc are aiming at the $200,000 Racing Hall of Fame on the same venue’s grass; and Jack Milton and Draw Too are eying the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.  At one time the Virginia Derby purse was more than double that of any other three-year old turf stakes. Now at $500,000, it’s even with the Penn Mile. Word to the wise: Don’t shrink the purse any more.

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  1. I remain disappointed in the absence of attendance at the Virginia Derby. With so many people attending college football games across the Commonwealth, and in particular, the 50 K fans at the steeplechase races at The Plains, what are the major reasons more fans do no attend the Virginia Derby? Where is the fan interest? Obviously, elsewhere. Are fans unable to learn how to wager? Are they against wagering? Are the horses unknown to them? Is Colonial Downs too remote an area to attend? Some investigation must be do on this matter.

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