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Susan Williamson – Horse Racing Returns to Colonial Downs

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Susan Williamson

When we researched the many attractions of Williamsburg, VA, we were excited to learn about Colonial Downs. Then, we were sad to hear that it was no longer operating. Although I have read all of the articles, I’m not sure where the fault lies, so I will not comment on that.

But it is re-opening with historical horse racing and by 2019, live racing. Yes! I’m not sure how the historical horse racing works—couldn’t you just look up the results before placing a bet?  Obviously I’m missing something here. The Virginia legislature apparently had to legalize historical racing and a billboard along I-64 says “Thank you Virginia.” I concur with any action that allows this lovely facility to operate.

I’m also not quite sure about the interior remodeling.  First of all, it was only open a short time—why would it need to be remodeled? And the description I read said sleek and modern, with feminine historical touches. Pardon? That sounds like a recipe for decorating disaster.  On that thought, maybe that should be a new show on HGTV—Greatest Decorating Disasters.

But I digress. Virginia, birthplace of Secretariat, should of course have live racing. The sport of kings is most appropriate in the Tidewater with its colonial heritage. Economically, horse racing supports horse farms and their suppliers and results in the continuing land use by beautiful horse farms.

Socially, there is nothing quite like a day at the races– an occasion to wear a hat, perhaps, or to dress in tweeds and boots, to watch magnificent animals do what they were bred and born to do. I can’t wait.

Hmm, it might even be a place to sell horse themed mysteries and children’s books . . .


Susan Williamson is a lifelong horseperson, former newspaper editor, extension agent and food coop manager. She is the author of three novels: Desert Tail, Tangled Tail, Dead on the Trail and a children’s book, The Riding Lesson, as well as How to Buy Your First Horse.

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