The competition for leading jockey heated up late in the meet, as Homeister, Horacio Karamanos, and Eric Camacho stood within one win of each other going into the final week. In Wednesday’s finale, Homeister reached the winners circle twice and cemented her second straight title with 43 victories, three better than Eric Camacho and four over Horacio Karamanos, who had won four previous titles here.
The race for the leading trainer title was even tighter, as Ferris Allen held a one win advantage over Hamilton Smith entering the Wednesday card. Smith was able to forge a tie in the fourth race as his upset winner, Darby’s Dispute ($67.40), wired the field by
3 ¾ lengths, leaving both trainers with one charge each in the $50,000 Jamestown Stakes.
After Darrin Miller’s Simmstown got his picture taken in the winners circle and accepted the Jamestown trophy, an inquiry was posted and several minutes later, Hamilton Smith’s Pink Pallet (#6 below) got bumped up to the win position via a double disqualification. Smith edged Allen in wins, 29-28, and tied Allen all time with six outright training titles in Colonial’s history. The duo tied atop the leader board in 1998. Conditioner Kathleen O’Connell was third this summer with 19 wins.
Virginian David Ross won the owner’s title again, scoring thirteen wins and another thirteen combined runner up and third place finishes. Earlier in the campaign, Ross earned his 100th win at Colonial Downs. William Backer finished second with ten triumphs.
Of 381 total races conducted, an astonishing 342 were contested over the Secretariat Turf Course, while just 39 were on dirt. Average starters per race was 7.73, down a horse per race over 2009’s 8.89. Average starters per dirt event was 6.97 while turf starters were 7.82 per.
For the first time in ten years, Colonial tinkered with its racing schedule and opted to not race a Friday twilight card and instead try Wednesdays at 4 PM. In addition, Monday and Tuesday post switched from a 5:00 PM start time to 4:00 PM and the entire meet began a week earlier, on Memorial Day weekend, instead of early June.
As expected, on track attendance and handle took a dip with the revised slate, but import and overall handle took a jump. Total all source handle was $34,430,600, or an average of $860,765 this summer, versus $30,413,601, or an average of $760,340 in 2009. Import handle alone was $29,283,633 versus the 2009 total of $24,389,686.
2010 on track attendance and handle figures were 59,962 and $4,283,458 respectively versus 67,758 and $5,052,058 in ’09.
A stellar three year old colt named Paddy O’Prado made headlines at Colonial Downs this summer by becoming the third horse ever to sweep both of the track’s marquee Grade II turf events --- the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup and the $600,000 Virginia Derby.
English Channel accomplished the feat in 2005 and Battle of Hastings did it last year. Jockey Kent Desormeaux and trainer Dale Romans connected to push the El Prado colt’s earnings over the million dollar mark for the Donegal Racing group.
(Photos by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography and Rob Ostermaier, Daily Press)