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Horse racing puts Chesapeake bar in winner's circle

When it comes to horse racing there is a business in Chesapeake that is cashing in every day, no matter who comes in first.

Chesapeake — CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- They call it the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby.

When it comes to horse racing there is a business in Chesapeake that is cashing in every day, no matter who comes in first.

With the yelling, drinking, and betting, it may feel like Church Hill Downs in Louisville, but it’s actually Buckets Bar and Grill in Chesapeake.

Live horse race betting is back in town for the first time since Colonial Downs closed in 2014.

“When you have horse betting and a track in an area for 20 years you are going to have a lot of interest so when that just disappeared there was a lot of pent-up demand for racing,” said Darrell Wood with Virginia Equine Alliance.

Buckets is the only place in Hampton Roads, not counting your home computer, where off-track betting is legal.

In March and April, they brought in more than one million dollars in wagers each month.

“I got an itch to gamble, so I got to scratch it, and I come over here,” said James Rudolph of Newport News.

“It’s intense the adrenaline from the betting,” said Taylor Gatliff of Chesapeake.

The Virginia Equine Alliance said the days of stand-alone betting locations are over. The new goal is to team up with already established businesses that provide the atmosphere, the food, and the TVs.

“At any one given time you can see 10 different tracks, every track has 10 races, so literally every two or three minutes a race goes off,” said Wood.

Tiemann said he’s glad his friends are no longer being kept in the stable when it comes to having fun in Hampton Roads.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t like to play baseball or golf, they like to gamble on horses,” said Tiemann.

With Colonial Downs being sold and the new owners chomping at the bit to reopen, the Hampton Roads horse racing fan base is only expected to continue to gain momentum.

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