NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- Live horse racing will return to Colonial Downs in New Kent this summer, but with limited spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Colonial Downs Group announced Thursday that horse racing will return to its New Kent County track beginning on Monday, July 27.
The group says provisions are in place for a limited number of spectators based the state's COVID reopening phase at the time of each race.
Under Phase Three of Virginia's reopening plan, which currently allows outdoor venues to cap attendance at 1,000 spectators.
Colonial Downs is planning to implement the following protocols at the track:
· Up to 1,000 spectators will be admitted to the outdoor areas of the grandstand and the track apron.
· A 6-foot social distancing policy will be enforced.
· Guests will be required to wear masks indoors and encouraged outdoors.
The group says they will adjust their attendance cap if Virginia changes their regulations regarding attendance at outdoor sporting events.
"We will implement the latest in safety and health measures to ensure the well-being of our guests, and limit attendance in accordance with Virginia regulations governing outdoor events," said John Marshall, Colonial Downs’ Executive Vice President of Operations. "As we continue to monitor the effects of COVID-19, our top priority will always be protecting the health and safety of our guests, team and racing participants.”
There will be 18 race dates in July, August ans September, up from 15 days in 2019. Racing will run on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with a scheduled post time of 5:30 pm.
The Virginia Derby will take place Tuesday, September 1, and the final race of the season is Wednesday, September 2.
General admission to all races is free and the first 1,000 guests will be allowed access on a first come, first serve basis.
Ticketed online reservations are available for limited indoor seating at www.colonialdowns.com.
All races will be televised on the TVG Network, with wagering available through TVG.com.