Historic Horse Racing Measure Advances to Governor

-- One step closer to re-opening Colonial Downs --

As Chief Co-Patron of House Bill (HB) 1609, New Kent’s Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R) is extremely happy to announce the measure is on the way to the Governor.  HB 1609 passed the House by a vote of 79-21 and the Senate by a vote of 31-9.  This bill provides a means by which the important goal of creating jobs and generating additional revenue for New Kent County through the re-opening of Colonial Downs may be achieved.  Historical horse racing is a crucial step toward revitalizing horse racing in the Commonwealth and re-opening of the track. 

HB 1609 establishes historical horse racing (HHR) as a form of horse racing in the Commonwealth that creates pari-mutuel pools from wagers placed on previously conducted horse races and is hosted at (i) a racetrack owned or operated by a significant infrastructure limited licensee or (ii) a satellite facility that is owned or operated by (a) a significant infrastructure limited licensee or (b) the nonprofit industry stakeholder organization recognized by the Commission and licensed to own or operate such satellite facilities. Under the provisions of this bill, revenues generated on pari-mutuel pools by wagering on historical horse racing, will be distributed to the Virginia Racing Commission, and a portion to the locality in which the racetrack is located.

“Ongoing discussions between “Revolutionary Racing” and Virginia horse industry representatives have identified this pathway to resuscitate historic horse racing in Virginia.  By combining the national and international horse racing experience of Revolutionary Racing with the talents of our Virginia horse racing industry, we can re-open Colonial Downs and create opportunities for major investment, including but not limited to capital projects and 500 jobs,” stated Delegate Peace.

The closure of Colonial Downs negatively impacted New Kent County, reducing the local government’s budget by $402,200 in Fiscal Year 2015 et seq.  Prior to its closure, Colonial Downs was a major revenue source in the form of tourism dollars for schools and revenue sharing for roads. 

Peace continued, “Horse racing is a vital component to the continued economic growth of New Kent County and the Richmond Region.  As the only Delegate representing New Kent, I can tell you that a reopened Colonial Downs is in the best interest of our citizens.”

Rodney Hathaway, New Kent County Administrator, in an e-mail to Peace asserted, “We (New Kent County) thank you for your leadership and assistance with this project, and look forward to a new beginning at Colonial Downs.”