|About the Book|
The rich heritage of Virginia horse racing traces its roots back to the colonial days of the late seventeenth century. Horse racing began as single-day events held at county fairs, family farms, and hunt meets, taking a long and meandering path to become the sport we know and love today. Colonial Downs and More examines the important changes that occurred in Virginias horse racing industry during the last half century, with a particular focus on the debates over pari-mutuel wagering. The legalization of pari-mutuel wagering became a hot-button legislative issue in the 1980s, sparked by horse breeders and owners hoping to improve the industry. In 1988, voters approved the legalization of pari-mutuel wagering, a move that opened the doors for the establishment of a new racetrack that would come to be known as Colonial Downs. Colonial Downs faced major obstacles from its inception. Construction was bogged down by licensing delays and legal issues. Nine long years elapsed before it finally opened its gates in 1997. After a modest opening, attendance and wagering slumped over the next three to five years. Nonetheless, despite the difficulties, the track and associated operations remain high quality, offering breeders and owners needed funds and providing racing fans with unparalleled fun and excitement.