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By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution of Virginia in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

Festival of Racing Day

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth’s admiration for horses dates back to 1610 when the first horses arrived in Jamestown, and, since then, Virginia’s equine industry has grown and flourished; and

WHEREAS, Virginia’s growing equine industry is directly connected to its strong ties to agriculture, farming, and land preservation; and

WHEREAS, live racing, horse farms, breeders, and stable hands have made Virginia one of the largest and most impactful equine states in the country; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth’s own Colonial Downs located in New Kent County features the Secretariat turf course, the widest of its kind in North America, and the 1¼-mile dirt course is second in size only to Belmont Park; and

 WHEREAS, for the first time on August 12, Colonial Downs will host three prestigious turf stakes races that had been previously run at Arlington International Racecourse for decades; and

 WHEREAS, the first ever "Festival of Racing" program will feature the Grade 1 Arlington Million ($1 million purse), Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes ($500,000 purse) races, and the Grade 2 Secretariat Stakes ($500,000 purse) race; and

WHEREAS, the Arlington Million, geared to attract the best turf runners in the world before the year end Breeders’ Cup World Championships, first took place in 1981 as the first thoroughbred race to ever offer a $1 million purse; and

WHEREAS, the first Beverly D Stakes, a race for fillies and mares three years of age and up, was first run in 1987, and seven winners have gone on to be voted American Eclipse Champion Female Turf Horse; and

WHEREAS, the Secretariat Stakes, named for Virginia-born Secretariat, widely considered the greatest racehorse of all time, was inaugurated in 1974 and is for three-year-old turf horses at the one-mile distance; and

WHEREAS, the spectacular Secretariat "Racing into History" bronze statue, sculpted by acclaimed artist Jocelyn Russel, will be at Colonial Downs for fans to enjoy on "Festival of Racing" Day as it concludes its national tour including extended visits at this year’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes; and

WHEREAS, from Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses to steeplechase jumpers, swimming ponies to bucking broncos, Virginia is for horse lovers, and citizens are encouraged to celebrate the biggest day in Virginia horse racing history on Saturday, August 12, at Colonial Downs;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Glenn Youngkin, do hereby recognize August 12, 2023, as FESTIVAL OF RACING DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.