A ten race card featuring two first leg divisions of the Emergency Squads of Virginia Pacing Series will kick off the 15th annual harness racing season Wednesday afternoon at Colonial Downs.
The late-closer series will be contested as the fifth and sixth races on the program, and feature $3,750 purses.
Mark Gray's Poker Champ is the morning line choice in the first division while Jane Dunavant's Reachoutandtouchit is second favorite. After winning at Rosecroft May 12, Poker Champ competed at the Meadowlands this summer but his best showing was a fourth in eight starts there. The latter has struggled since a May 27 win at Tioga Downs but did record a 1:52.4 winning mile at Colonial last fall as a 3 year old. Amanada Jackson's Hillbilly Desire gets third nod. The sophomore filly has only six life starts but was three of four at Colonial in 2011. Her only blemish was a third place finish as beaten favorite in the $47,200 Virginia bred 2 Year Old Filly Championship November 5.
George Anthrop's Mobil Big John is favored in the second division and comes into Virginia on a nice roll. The 5-year-old On The Ribs Again gelding collected a pair of wins and a third in his three most recent starts at The Red Mile in Lexington. KJ Anita, second early choice, is trained by 2011 leading conditioner Manley Brown. Ever since John Wagner took over driving duties for the filly at Ocean Downs, KJ Anita has a earned a pair of wins, a second and a fourth from four outs. Wagner will drive on Wednesday for owner Scott Woogen of Mechanicsville.
The 2012 fall harness season will continue through Oct. 14, with racing scheduled every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM. The $400,000 Virginia Harness Day of Champions, the meet's annual marquee event, will take place on Sunday, Oct. 14.
Gates open at 12 Noon each race day. The 4th floor Turf Club Dining Room will be open on Saturday and Sunday. Advance reservations are encouraged by calling 804-966-7223, ext. 1032.
Opening weekend's activities includes the New Kent County Fair and a respective $5 carload admission/parking special, VHHA "Own a Horse for a Day” promotion on Saturday and a $16 Family ‘n Friends 4-Pack offer on Sunday. For details on these, visit colonialdowns.com, facebook.com/ColonialDownsRacetrack or call 804-966-7223.(Colonial)