Colonial Downs to close, leaving Virginia with no thoroughbred track


The owner of Colonial Downs has surrendered his license to operate Virginia’s only thoroughbred racetrack and says he’ll close the turf oval on Nov. 1 amid a dispute with horse owners and trainers.

Jeffrey P. Jacobs announced his decision Wednesday to the Virginia Racing Commission, which was to consider his proposal to bring in a new horsemen’s group amenable to his vision of elevating the New Kent County track’s national profile. He was proposing fewer races and bigger purses.

Officials said the decision dimmed any prospect of thoroughbred racing at Colonial Downs in 2015. The dispute had already canceled the 2014 season.

Frank Petramalo Jr., executive director of the 1,300-member VHBPA, called Jacobs’ new horsemen’s association a ”sham group.” He said the dispute is about control rather than economics.

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