In for the long run

January 25, 2000

Betty NewmanBy LARRY YANOS / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Betty Newman accepted a challenge from good friend Ruby Stine in 1966 and has been involved with thoroughbred horse racing at Charles Town ever since.

cont. from lifestyle

Newman, born and raised in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and now residing in Charles Town with her husband, Charles, has been matre d' in the dining room at Charles Town Races since 1994 after previously serving as a waitress, hostess and dining room manager.

"I've been employed at Charles Town since May 1970," Newman says. "I started at Shenandoah Downs in the late '60s, and both tracks were under one management. They just alternated racing dates. I used to clean the dining room at Shenandoah Downs and, several years later, Ruby suggested I become a waitress. I told her I didn't think I could carry those huge trays. Ruby encouraged me, gave me four tables to start."


Newman has been working in the dining room in one capacity or the other ever since and thoroughly enjoys her job.

Roasted Veal Chop with Winter Berry and Sherry Sauce


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brandy
  • 3/4 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 quart beef stock
  • 4 12-ounce veal loin chops
  • fresh rosemary
  • dried cranberries

Combine first five ingredients and reduce by half on low heat.

Add cranberry sauce and beef stock.

Sear veal chops in frying pan or on grill. Bake in 350-degree oven for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on preferred doneness.

Garnish with fresh rosemary and dried cranberries.

After serving as a waitress and dining room hostess for many years, Newman was named dining room manager at the track in 1990. She assumed matre d' duties four years later when Don Dopson retired.

"I think the fact I've had so many different jobs in the dining room helps me in this position," Newman says. "I don't analyze my job. I try to do the best I can, and I'm not afraid to pitch in when and where help is needed. My job is like any business, you have ups and downs. You just have to work at it."

Newman says her job is to "satisfy the customer and provide a pleasing day at the racetrack for the visitor."

"Our dining room can seat over 900 people now, so things do get hectic sometimes," Newman says. "I enjoy helping people, though, and I'm happy when they're happy."

When not keeping an eye on work, she likes to follow the Washington Redskins.

"When I was a waitress, I waited on many Washington players, and I got to follow their careers," Newman says. "Billy Kilmer and Pat Fischer would always ask for my table. They were very nice, down-to-earth people, enjoying themselves at the racetrack. I've also waited on many soap stars."

Newman says one of her joys these days is watching the old-timers come back.

"Management has made some terrific changes, and it's good to see the former patrons returning," Newman says.

The matre d' puts in some long days.

"On racing days, I'm usually there between 1 and 2 reviewing the reservation list and making sure everything is in order, and I leave between 11 and 12 that evening."

Charles Town employs 30 people who work in the dining room. In addition to the regular menu, the track offers a seafood buffet on Friday nights and a prime rib buffet on Saturdays.

"I like steak the best, but I've also tried the veal, and I like it. The veal chop is on the menu, but the T-bone steak special and the crab cakes are the most popular items on the menu," Newman says.

When not at the track, Newman works at Jones Nursery in Charles Town and spends time with her husband, Charles.

They have four daughters: Dena Whiten of Frederick, Md.; Denise Carter of Charles Town; Delana Newman of Ashburn, Va., and Donna Newman-Roman, of Martinsburg, W.Va., who was Mrs. West Virginia 1990.

"I enjoy my family. We do a lot of things together," says Newman, who also has three grandchildren.

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