Live horse racing returns to Colonial Downs this month for the first time since the racetrack was shuttered in 2014.
Here’s everything you need to know about Colonial Downs and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium if you plan to hop on I-64, make the drive over to New Kent County and get in on the action.
There will be live thoroughbred horse racing on the track every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Aug. 8 to Sept. 7, including a daytime race on Labor Day and the Virginia Derby on Aug. 31.
Renovations on the turf and dirt tracks at Colonial Downs began last April, according to a past Tidewater Review report. Crews worked to burn all existing turf left on the track and resurface it with new turf. They also revitalized the stable areas, race offices, clubhouse and suites.
Daily purses will average a minimum of $500,000 throughout the 15-day race schedule, according to a news release from Colonial Downs Group, which took over the property last year. The Virginia Derby, a long-running racing meet, will feature a $250,000 stakes purse, the release states.
On Aug. 10, the first Saturday of the racing schedule, you can expect to see four stakes races on the turf course, each with a $100,000 purse, according to the release.
The group will supplement its live horse racing operation with Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, a large gaming facility next to the horse track that offers hundreds of historical horse racing machines, four bars spread across its first and third floors and a restaurant.
At Rosie’s, customers can play on slot-like machines or watch and bet on live horse races from around the country.
If you plan on checking it out, be ready for food, drinks and 600 historical horse racing machines. Giant windows take up much of back wall on the first and third floors, giving an expansive view of the horse racing track.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the multitude of flashing graphics and sound effects emanating from the hundreds of machines that fill the majority of the vast first floor at Rosie’s. Themes range from historical motifs such as pirate adventures, Greek myths and the wild west.
Historical horse racing machines focused on high-limit gaming are on the third floor, where you can also find automated betting kiosks that let customers place bets on horse races from around the country, shown on rows of flat screen TVs above two bar areas.
If you’re ready to take a pit stop after taking in the races or playing the machines, check out the menu at Rosie’s Kitchen, located at the back left corner of the building’s first floor. There, you can try anything from burgers to donuts, flatbread pizzas, salads and sandwiches.