Racetrack signing expected by Dec. 1

November 13, 1996


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Penn National Gaming Inc. is expected to sign the final papers to purchase the Charles Town Races around the end of the month, track President Roger Ramey said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, architects and engineers have already started some of the preliminary work on the renovation of the 63-year-old oval, Ramey said.

"As soon as the changeover in ownership takes place, you can start to see some dirt flying," said Ramey.

Ramey said attorneys from both sides are currently negotiating the sale of the track to Penn National.

Penn National Gaming Inc., which operates the Penn National Race Course near Harrisburg, Pa., said it would take over the struggling thoroughbred track if county voters approved video lottery in the general election.


Video lottery overwhelmingly passed in the election, collecting 64 percent of the vote.

Before Penn National offers live racing and video lottery at the track, officials with the firm said they will renovate the oval and build new facilities such as a training oval beside the existing track and new barns.

The track closed Sunday to allow workers to begin making the renovations. Live racing is expected to resume at the track by April 1, officials said.

Ramey said Penn National will have to apply for racing dates from the West Virginia Racing Commission over the winter in order to begin racing in the spring.

About 400 track employees will be out of work during the renovation, officials said. Many of the workers will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Officials from the West Virginia Department of Employment Security are expected to be at the track today to accept unemployment claims.

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