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Flat Races Expected for Great Meadow Sept. 20

© Leesburg Today - 07/27/2015

The Virginia Racing Commission on Wednesday is expected to approve a proposal to conduct a day of Thoroughbred flat racing at Great Meadow in The Plains on Sunday, Sept. 20, including pari-mutuel wagering on the six-race card.

The races, which will be conducted by the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA), will have a total purse of $150,000 and will be run at either 1 1/8 miles or 1 1/2 miles. The day of racing will be called Virginia Downs Racing at Great Meadow. The purse structure will include a variety of $10,000 races, $20,000 and $30,000.

The proposal being considered also includes the possibility of up to 14 days of flat racing in the future at Morven Park in Leesburg. No specific dates have been set for those races, most likely to begin in 2016. The six flat races at Great Meadow will be run five weeks before the International Gold Cup at the same venue on Saturday, Oct. 24.

The Virginia state legislature had already allocated $4 million a year to the VEA to conduct Thoroughbred racing in the wake of the closing of Colonial Downs, the state's only major race track, this past spring.

The legislature also mandated that a portion of the proceeds from any such venture at Great Meadown or Morven Park must be donated to a designated charity. The Great Meadow races will benefit the Fauquier SPCA, which will receive all revenue from parking, concessions and sponsorships.

""This will be the first time that we're putting these flat races together under this new concept of country racing, as opposed to doing them at one big race track,"" said Will Allison, president of the Virginia Gold Cup. ""The National Steeplechase Association is also very excited about the Great Meadow races because it will a great place for many horses to get ready for the International Gold Cup.""

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