Colonial Downs conducted its third “Mixed Breed” card of horse racing Saturday as the harness track’s opening weekend festivities continued in conjunction with the New Kent County Fair.
The afternoon program began with an exhibition Thoroughbred race, continued with a pair of pari-mutuel steeplechase races, then continued and concluded with 10 pari-mutuel harness races. The marathon performance took place over a 6 ½ hour time period to expose several thousand fair attendees to horse racing, no matter what time of day it was, or which breed was competing.
Highlights of the harness portion were respective division victories by Royal Hawaii and Credit Marker in a late-closer series, and a first time Colonial victory by 18 year old provisional reinsman Cory Stratton.
Both Royal Hawaii and Credit Marker scored wire-to-wire wins in the first leg of the Doug & Todd Parker Memorial Trotting Series. Royal Hawaii crossed in 1:58 3/5, two and one-half lengths better than Jailhouse Funk.
Newcomer Dean Magee directed the 4-year-old mare for trainer Kandace Schooley and owners, Jerry and Helen Logan. Credit Marker crossed three ticks faster in the second division as driver Jason MacDougall steered the 5-year-old Credit Winner horse to a 3 1/4-length triumph. Both finishing times were new lifetime marks for the Parker winners. (Colonial Downs)
Among the new faces in Colonial’s driving colony this fall is Cory Stratton, who is branching out on his own for the first time as a trainer and driver. Catch driving for Fran McCahey’s Smarty Merit in a $4375 conditioned pace, Stratton guided the classy 9 year old gelding past Mattonthechooch in mid-stretch, then held off Non Partisan to capture his first win in the Commonwealth. His mild upset returned a $14.40 dividend for a $2 win bet. Smarty Merit’s bankroll soared over the $316,000 mark.
Colonial Downs hosts a ten race card Sunday beginning at 1:00 PM. The current fall meet continues thru November 6th.