It’s news many have been waiting to hear for years.
“Everything that we had been hoping for is actually happening. It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” said Karen Godsey, owner of Eagle Point Farm.
Chicago based companies “Revolutionary Racing” and “Peninsula Pacific” announcing Wednesday the purchase of Colonial Downs for more than $20 million, with plans to bring live horse racing back to the Commonwealth.
“Dream come true. I can’t even put into words how excited I am,” said Stephanie Nixon, owner of Horseshoe Hill Farm.
Nixon had to send her horses to race out of state when the track closed its doors back in 2014.
“There’s a lot of days that I spent here wondering how I’m going to make ends meet,” said Godsey.
Eagle Point Farm, which trains horses, has been in Godsey’s family since 1947. When Colonial Downs closed she was forced to cut staff. A recent study says the reopened track could create as many as 1,400 new jobs.
“I’m extremely excited for myself but I’m also excited for my feed supplier, my hay man, my blacksmith, my employees, everybody,” said Godsey.
This month the governor signed a bill allowing something called historical horse racing at Colonial Downs. Slot-like machines let people bet on past horse races, without knowing which horse they’re betting on. The move makes racing more profitable. Anticipation had been building for months.
“Sort of like was a tidal wave. It started and now the news yesterday it was like a big huge celebration,” said Nixon.
“It’s nationwide. I have clients all over the country. We at least doubled our clientele,” said Godsey.
After meeting the track’s new owners, farmers are confident horse racing will return.
“I honestly think it’s going to be better. They’re horse people so they know what it takes to make a track work,” said Nixon. I can’t wait. Hurry up and come.”
Further details regarding the return of racing to colonial downs, including racing dates, will be released in the months ahead.