Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: December 21, 2022
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Christian Martinez,

Three Major Thoroughbred Stakes Races to Relocate to Virginia in 2023

Arlington Million, Beverly D. Stakes and Secretariat Stakes to Run at Colonial Downs

RICHMOND, VA - After approval from the American Graded Stakes Committee, the Office of the Governor announced today that three internationally-renowned Thoroughbred stakes races will be moved to Virginia. Those turf races that will soon run at Colonial Downs in New Kent are the Grade 1 Arlington Million and Beverly D. Stakes and the Grade 2 Secretariat Stakes.

The relocation of these significant races follows approval from the Virginia Racing Commission for 27 live race dates at Colonial Downs during the 2023 meet to be held July 13 through September 9. Colonial Downs also announced last week that they will modify their typical live race days to Thursday, Friday and Saturday as opposed to the traditional Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday schedule, making horse racing more accessible for Virginians and visitors from around the country. Next year’s meet will be the first under the operation of new owners, Churchill Downs Incorporated.

“It is an incredible honor to continue the legacy of these exceptional races by hosting them in our Commonwealth,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I am deeply committed to growing our equine industry and as we work to revive the rich traditions of this sport in Virginia, these stakes races will accelerate our progress and ignite excitement for the fans.”

“Churchill Downs Incorporated remains steadfast in our goal to increase the relevance of the racing product at Colonial Downs and in Virginia,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We appreciate the American Graded Stakes Committee for their approval of this move, which is an important step toward that goal in terms of wagering growth and entertainment value. We are also committed to increasing the flow of purse revenue from historical horse racing to allow for expansion of race dates in the future.”

“We are grateful to Churchill Downs for the emphasis they have put on bringing world-class races to Virginia which give jockeys, breeders and trainers more opportunities to showcase the best of Virginia’s equine industry,” said Debbie Easter, President of the Virginia Equine Alliance. “Governor Youngkin’s involvement and efforts to secure these three races in particular should be commended as we collectively work to ensure a bright future for horse racing in the Commonwealth.”

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s historic Triple Crown-winning season. The legendary horse will now be commemorated in the year of this milestone anniversary by debuting the stakes named in his honor on the Secretariat Turf Course at Colonial Downs in the state where he was born, bred and trained to be a champion. 

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