The Virginia Equine Alliance, a strong supporter of jump racing since its inception in 2014, will inaugurate cash payments to Virginia-owned or Virginia-trained horses at seven point-to-point race meets in the commonwealth this spring.
Each starter will receive a $200 cash starter reward for each point-to-point start.
Although the point-to-points are not sanctioned, its participants often race under rules in National Steeplechase Association races. For many horses, the point-to-points are a final preparation before racing in NSA meets.
“We hope to get more horses out for the point-to-points and to get people excited about the races,” said John B. “Jeb” Hannum, the Virginia Equine Alliance’s executive director. VEA officials estimate the spring races will attract 200 starts by Virginia-owned or -trained horses.
In addition to the starter rewards, the VEA will provide a $10,000 grant to the Virginia Point-to-Point Foundation to defray some operational costs. The VEA also provides $25,000 in purse supplements to each of the commonwealth’s NSA meets.
Since the closing of Colonial Downs in 2013, steeplechasing has helped to keep racing alive in Virginia. The Virginia Equine Alliance was formed in the aftermath of Colonial’s closing, and revenues generated from off-track wagering sites and online betting platforms have supported race purses.
Colonial Downs, located between Richmond and Williamsburg in New Kent County, will reopen under new ownership this summer, and steeplechase racing is likely to be part of its racing program over 15 dates between Aug. 8 and Sept. 7.
The point-to-point starter incentives were first reported by Betsy Burke Parker on Fauquier.com.