NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- After a five year absence, live horse racing is returning to Virginia Thursday at Colonial Downs for a 15 day meet.

Racing will run on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from August 8 through September 7 and will feature approximately $7.5 million in total purses.

Colonial Downs will now feature a newly named Secretariat Turf Course, named after the 1973 Triple Crown winner whose name is synonymous with horseracing. Secretariat was born at Meadow Stable in Doswell.

Colonial Downs closed in 2014 after the ownership group squabbled with state regulators. Now, a new ownership group, the Colonial Downs group, has committed to invest $300 million and add more than 800 new jobs to the Commonwealth in an effort to revitalize Virginia’s horse industry.

The group hopes to grow horse racing at the site in large part through revenue from historical horse racing machines. Virginia lawmakers signed off on allowing the machines in 2018.