At the races-Breeders Classics card coming together

August 21, 1999

The racing card for the $460,000 West Virginia Breeders Classics is beginning to take shape with the announcement of three $25,000 open stakes races for Oct. 10.

Dick Watson, president of the Charles Town Division, Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, says the three events include the 7-furlong General P.B. Rogers Stakes, the 1 1/16th-mile Dr. William E. Trussell Stakes, and the 4 1/2-furlong Governor's Cup.

"The purses for the open races have been increased from $15,000 to $25,000," Watson said. "They will be part of a nine-race program on Oct. 10."

The seven-race West Virginia Breeders Classics event is restricted to West Virginia-bred or -sired horses but the three open races are eligible to other thoroughbreds.


The weekend of racing starts Oct. 9, with the $75,000 F&M National Corporation Cavada Classic race.

On Oct. 10, the $150,000 Classics feature, four $40,000 races and an additional 7-furlong $75,000 race for three-year-old colts and geldings (West Virginia-bred or -sired) will be contested along with the three "open" races.

If you enjoy sprints, you would have had a great time Monday evening at the Charles Town Races.

Eight of the nine races on the program were contested at 4 1/2 furlongs.

Charles Town Racing Secretary Jimmy Hammond says the races were already in the condition book when he assumed his position from former racing secretary Randy Wehrman, who resigned earlier this month.

"I noticed the number of 4 1/2- furlong races but there was nothing I could do," Hammond said. "There are a lot of horses here who prefer running 4 1/2 furlongs, but there should not be that many races on one card. I personally would rather not have more than five on one card."

Hammond, involved with thoroughbred horse racing for 33 years, says he cannot remember when eight 4 1/2-furlong races were contested on the same program.

"When I saw the card, the fact we had eight 4-1/2 furlong races jumped out on me, I would say the same if I saw eight 1 1/16th- mile races on a card," Hammond said.

"It's uncommon, it just happened," said Watson. "There were some alternate distances in the condition book for that evening but the races didn't fill. Charles Town has many trainers and owners who prefer the 4 1/2-furlong distance. The eight races that night, though, were not by design."

* As of Monday, there was $417,981.51 remaining in the horsemen's account at the Charles Town Races.

"We have lost $170,000 in the month of August, averaging about $15,000 per day," said Watson. "We have projected losses of $240,000 through Labor Day."

Watson and management believe things will improve with the upcoming four-day-a-week racing schedule (Labor Day will be the final Monday program) and the addition of the coin drop video lottery machines.

"When we go back to the four days and get the coin drop machines operating, we should be looking at the plus side and putting money back into the account," Watson said.

* The $25,000-added Sadie Hawkins Stakes at Charles Town on Saturday feature 18 nominees.

Weights for the 7-furlong race for fillies and mares three-year-olds-and-upward will be assigned today by Hammond.

The nominees include: Amberlyn Brooke, Aye Got A Secret, Beachfront Rental, Bonita's Girl, Cherokee Rose, Flying Dove Cafe, Harmony Queen, Hat Boy Hatta, Itrs Been Too Long, J. Jacoby, Katie Pics Her, Painted Holly, Shes A Caper Too, Siouxperhoney, Snobby Glide, Spanishinquisition and Stormin Katie.

There are eight three-year-old fillies among the nominations.

* The last prep race for the $460,000 West Virginia Breeders Classics will be held at Charles Town on Sept. 6.

The $25,000-added 6 1/2-furlong Dr. (Ernest) Benner Stakes will feature two-year-olds.

* The Maryland thoroughbred horse racing scene switches to Timonium Saturday.

Horse racing, held in conjunction with the Maryland State Fair, will be held each day through Sept. 6. Thoroughbred horse racing starts at the Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent, Va., on Sept. 5.

* Monday will mark an anniversary for retired jockey Carl Gambardella.

It was on Aug. 23, 1956, that Gambardella won his first career race - aboard Rollin Warm at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds.

Gambardella, who won over 6,000 races during an outstanding career, competed at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds and Charles Town in his early race-riding years before moving to New England where he spent most of his career.

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