Zero Tolerance For Foxfield Race-Goers

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin
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Friday, February 10, 2006

And they're off! Not the horses at the races of Foxfield, but the police. Race-goers can expect big changes at this year's races.

"We want to stop the unlawful behaviors occurring by a small number of people at Foxfield," said Captain Crystal Limerick with the Albemarle County Police Department.

That is the simple message that law enforcement-- in partnership with the University of Virginia, Virginia State Police, and several alcohol advocacy groups --want race-goers to know.

"We're going to have a significant increase in law enforcement presence our there for things that do break the law," said Captain Limerick.

Horses have been racing at Foxfield for almost 30 years. Officials say the race's rich history has been tarnished since the Easters ended in the 1980s. The coalition had adopted the policy of zero tolerance to knock-out underage drinking and other unlawful behaviors. Foxfield's director could not be happier because it used to not be this way.

"Students have been drinking forever at colleges and universities, but this new thing is almost like they're bent on self-destruction rather than just enjoying drinking in the afternoon so to speak," said Patrick Butterfield, the Director of the Foxfield Races.

The approach to have local police in and around the field, and state police on the outside, is expected to work well to maintain order. While there will be some law-breakers ready to take their chance, there will be extra sets of eyes and ears, to make sure they are caught.

"We'll send out a representative from our office to monitor what's going on out there, and assess how things are going as far as under age drinking, drunken behavior, and those sorts of things," said Andrew Torget with Mother's Against Drunk Driving.

Keeping the races focused on what they are all about: horses.

This will be the 28th year of the races at Foxfield which will be held on Saturday, April 29.

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