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Colonial Downs racing trends

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

July 7th, 2022

Colonial Downs kicks off its 2022 season on Monday, with live racing set for every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday through Sept. 7 at the New Kent, Virginia track.

Home of the $300,000 Virginia Derby (G3) and $200,000 Virginia Oaks (G3), scheduled for Sept. 6, Colonial Downs will offer a record of more than $600,000 in average purses each day, including $60,000 for maiden special weight races.

Below we look at some of the top racing trends at Colonial Downs, from trainer and jockey win percentages to fastest speed ratings across different surfaces and distances, to get you ready for the 2022 meet.

Trainer win percentage since 2019

TrainerStartsWinsWin %ROIEarnings
Michael Stidham
71
20
28.17%
-0.161972
$928,400
Michael Trombetta
66
12
18.18%
-0.289394
$694,450
Hamilton Smith
41
12
29.27%
-0.063415
$377,910
A. Ferris Allen, III
80
12
15%
-0.4775
$394,240
Jamie Ness
43
11
25.58%
-0.062791
$377,640
Dane Kobiskie
37
10
27.03%
0.116216
$351,900
Graham H. Motion
39
9
23.08%
-0.264103
$777,200
Michelle Lovell
25
9
36%
-0.056
$422,750
Michael Tomlinson
38
9
23.68%
-0.031579
$303,950
Carlos Munoz
69
7
10.14%
0.272464
$283,100

Colonial Downs first opened in August 1997 and conducted both Thoroughbred flat racing and Standardbred harness racing until it closed in 2014. Under the management of the Colonial Downs Group and ownership of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, the track reopened for Thoroughbred racing in 2019. Two full seasons have since been run, in addition to an abbreviated 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2019, Michael Stidham has collected the most wins, with 20. The trainer of 2021 Dubai World Cup winner Mystic Guide will bring a 156 24-28-23 ($1,399,500) record into the Colonial Downs meet.

The all-time leading trainer at Colonial Downs, A. Ferris Allen III (12-for-80 since 2019) has saddled 316 winners out of 1,782 starters, while Hamilton Smith (12-for-41 since 2019) has won 261 times in 1,331 starts.

Graham Motion, winner of both the 2019 and 2021 Virginia Derbies, is tied with W. Robert Bailes for third in all-time victories (104) at Colonial Downs.

Top Colonial Downs turf trainers

Since 2019, Stidham has also been the top turf trainer at Colonial Downs' Secretariat Turf Course, the widest grass racing surface in the U.S. In that time frame, he is 17-for-54 and earned $775,150. Colonial Downs' leading money-earner, Michael Trombetta, has nine wins in 52 starts on turf, with $503,950 in earnings, while Jamie Ness has won at a 25% clip (9-for-36).

Allen III is the all-time leader on turf, with 212 victories from 1,276 starters, and Michael Pino has won at an impressive 29% rate on the grass (78-for-264).

Jockey win percentage since 2019

JockeyStartsWinsWin %ROIEarnings
Horacio Karamanos
213
33
15.49%
-0.357746
$1,471,540
Trevor McCarthy
95
29
30.53%
0.015789
$1,129,090
Mychel Sanchez
132
25
18.94%
0.259848
$901,850
Forest Boyce
115
24
20.87%
-0.057391
$1,047,870
Joseph Rocco, Jr.
86
20
23.26%
-0.205814
$691,200
Sheldon Russell
92
16
17.39%
-0.418478
$836,820
Daniel Centeno
52
16
30.77%
0.226923
$521,980
Charles Lopez
161
14
8.7%
-0.230435
$568,250
J. Acosta
144
12
8.33%
-0.169444
$662,000
Paco Lopez
53
11
20.75%
-0.316981
$420,300

Horacio Karamanos has been hugely successful at Colonial Downs, where he won six straight riding titles and triumphed in the 2007 Virginia Derby with Red Giant.

The Argentinian rider has won 513 races from 2,366 mounts (21.7%) at Colonial Downs, more than twice the amount of Mario Pino, who has the second-most victories (255) all time at this track.

Since 2019, Trevor McCarthy is the second-leading rider by wins but has won 30% of his mounts (29-for-95). He has also crossed the wire first in 21 of 80 starts (26.3%) on Colonial's turf, while Forest Boyce has won at a 22.6% clip (23-for-102) on the grass.

Two-time Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Daniel Centeno is 16-for-51 on turf since 2019 with a +0.251 ROI, while Mychel Sanchez is 20-for-112 with a +0.243 ROI.

Hot jockey-trainer combos

As for top jockey-trainer pairings, Stidham and McCarthy have won a hefty 45% (9-for-20) of races together at Colonial since 2019, with $340,500 in earnings. McCarthy has also been successful when joining forces with Jamie Ness, with whom he has won five of 16 races at this track.

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Forest Boyce are 6-for-18 since 2019, with a 33% win percentage and $248,000 in earnings, and Michael Trombetta has been most successful when working with rider Julian Pimentel (6-for-27) since 2019.

Thomas Vance and jockey Charles Lopez are tied with the second-most wins (6-for-35) as a combo since 2019 but also boast a +0.557 ROI.

Sires by wins on turf since 2019

SireStartsWinsWin %ROI
City Zip
32
10
31.25%
-0.265625
English Channel
49
8
16.33%
-0.683673
Uncle Mo
24
8
33.33%
0.770833
Tapit
19
7
36.84%
4.805263
Munnings
34
7
20.59%
-0.211765
Great Notion
20
6
30%
0.245
Quality Road
18
6
33.33%
-0.327778
Street Magician
31
5
16.13%
-0.158065
Fed Biz
14
5
35.71%
6.664286
American Pharoah
16
4
25%
-0.45625

When it comes to pedigree angles, multiple graded stakes winner City Zip has produced the most successful progeny on Colonial Downs' turf, with 10 first-place finishes out of 32 starts.

Leading sire Tapit has seen success with his offspring as well, with seven wins from 19 turf starts for a 36.8% sire win rate and a +4.805 ROI.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo is another high-percentage sire, with eight victories from 24 turf starts for a 33.3% sire win rate and +0.771 ROI.

On the flip side, Curlin, Pioneerof the Nile, Street Sense, and Super Saver have each failed to get a win from more than 10 starts by their progeny on Colonial's turf course.

Fastest speed ratings since 2019

HorseSireRace dateSurfaceSpeed ratingOddsWin payoff ($2 bet)
John Jones
Smarty Jones
8/17/2019
Dirt
101
3.20-1
$8.40
Kadri
Mark Valeski
8/17/2021
Dirt
99
.70-1
$3.40
Just Might
Justin Phillip
8/2/2021
Turf
99
.70-1
$3.40
Saracosa
Bernardini
8/23/2021
Dirt
98
18.20-1
$38.40
Satellite Storm
Coast Guard
8/9/2020
Turf
98
1.10-1
$4.20
Just Might
Justin Phillip
8/23/2021
Dirt
97
1.10-1
$4.20
Gogo Shoes
Carpe Diem
8/3/2021
Turf
95
1.60-1
$5.20
Continuation
Munnings
8/16/2021
Dirt
95
6.30-1
$14.60
Eons
Giant's Causeway
7/26/2021
Turf
94
5.60-1
$13.20
Grateful Bred
Great Notion
7/19/2021
Turf
94
2.10-1
$6.20

John Jones, sired by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, clocked the highest speed rating at Colonial Downs since the track reopened when he wired a one-mile allowance in August 2019.

The dark bay beat second-place finisher On Patrol by 3 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:34.28, a track record, and posted a 101 Brisnet Speed rating.

Gio Ponti, winner of the 2008 Virginia Derby, clocked a track-record 111 Brisnet Speed figure in his 1 1/4-mile stakes win on turf. The Tale of the Cat son went on to win four straight Grade 1 races at age four — the Frank E. Kilroe Mile H., Manhattan H., Man o' War S. and Arlington Million — and finished second to Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic.

The six fastest speed ratings at Colonial Downs have all been produced in the Virginia Derby, while Saay Mi Name earned a 106 Brisnet Speed rating — seventh fastest at Colonial — in the 2005 Chesapeake S., run at six furlongs on dirt.

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