New Kent celebrates return of horse racing at Colonial Downs

New Kent celebrates return of horse racing at Colonial Downs
New Kent County is celebrating the return of racing at Colonial Downs. (Source: NBC12)

NEW KENT, VA (WWBT) - New Kent officials are celebrating the return of horse racing at Colonial Downs. The county says it is hoping to gain millions in tax revenue and generate hundreds of jobs.

On April 27, Revolutionary Racing and Peninsula Pacific purchased the track for about $20 million and are working to bring racing back to the state.

This comes after the facility closed its doors back in 2014 due to a disagreement with state regulators.

A crew was out on Tuesday burning the dead cover of grass on the track that hasn't been used for racing since the summer of 2013.

"Horse racing is part of the fabric of New Kent County. There's a reason our county logo features a horse," said Chairman Thomas W. Evelyn, who serves on the county Board of Supervisors. "When Colonial Downs closed in 2014, we not only lost hundreds of jobs and critically needed tax revenue to fund our schools, roads, and law enforcement; we also lost a part of our identity. Now, we are thrilled to celebrate the return of horse racing at Colonial Downs. Good jobs and revenue are coming back to our county. We look forward to working with the teams at Revolutionary Racing, Peninsula Pacific and JNB Gaming to ensure that horse racing is now here to stay in New Kent County. This is a moment we will long remember."

Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation during the 2018 General Assembly session to allow horse racing in the state.

According to an independent analysis, the return of horse racing statewide could "create over 1,400 new jobs, an annual economic impact of $349.1 million, and generate $41.6 million in annual state and local tax revenue," New Kent officials said in a press release.

There are also talks of possibly setting up a casino shop nearby.

A group working with the Pamunkey Tribe bought 600-acres of land off Interstate 64 along the New Kent, Henrico County line.

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