On September 1, 1997, the track was attended by more than 13,000 people on its opening day. The track used several unconventional construction and business approaches. Until 2005, the track was managed by the Maryland Jockey Club under a complicated agreement with Virginia and Maryland regulators and the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit. However, the track was purchased by Revolutionary Racing (a Chicago-based group of investors and gaming executives) for a price of over $20 million in 2018. Revolutionary Racing, alongside other investors, formed the Colonial Downs Group, which currently owns the track. Colonial Downs held its first race since 2013 on August 8, 2019.
It is located in New Kent County, Virginia, adjacent to Interstate 64, halfway between Richmond and Williamsburg.
It featured an autumn harness racing meet and the only 1 and 1/4 mile track in North America with harness racing and featured a one-turn mile. The Secretariat Turf Course is 1 1/8 miles around and is 180 feet wide, while the outer dirt oval is 1 1/4 miles long and is second in length only to Belmont Park’s, which is 1 1/2 miles around.
There are also Graded events were held at Colonial Downs in 2019. These are the Grade III: Virginia Derby; Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup (since 2015, run at Laurel Park as the Commonwealth Turf Cup); Grade 3 All Along Stakes (since 2015, run at Laurel Park); and Grade 3 Virginia Oaks (since 2015, run at Laurel Park as the Commonwealth Oaks).