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Charles Town Purses soon to be increased

April 15, 2000

The Charles Town Races will have its first purse increase of the year, effective April 30.

"The underpayment (money in the horsemen's account) is now in excess of $1 million and we're moving forward on the purse structure," Dick Watson, president of the Charles Town Division/Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said. "The future of thoroughbred racing at Charles Town never looked better. The coin drop reel type slot machines are doing their part to brighten the horsemen's day."

According to Watson, the purses agreed to by the Penn National Gaming Inc. and the Charles Town HBPA, Inc. will range from $5,500 for a $2,500 claimer to $17,000 for an open allowance going long (mile-and-sixteenth).

"We have come a long way and this increase looks to be the first of many to come, as the current innovations and renovations continue to take shape," Watson said.

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Sticking to their claim

The $2,500 claiming race has long been a staple of the Charles Town Races and Watson wants to keep it intact.

"There's been some talk about increasing the $2,500 claiming price but I feel that would be a mistake," Watson said. "Over the years, Charles Town gained national recognition bu the fact they were running $2,500 claiming races and I don't see any reason to increase it now. With the purse increasing to $5,500 that will appeal to new owners and new owners getting back into the business. There's money to be made, even at that level of competition."

Watson said he met recently with Charles Town Racing Secretary Jim Hammond, Charles Town Director of Racing Richard (Dickie) Moore and Charles Town Marketing Director Bill Bork Jr. and voiced his opinion that the $2,500 claiming races should remain.

"The claiming game at Charles Town has reached an all-time high," Watson said. "I think we had over 700 claims last year and horses continue to change owners and trainers now at a high figure. The $2,500 claimer is especially attractive because you can win one race and make money. Mountaineer Park (near Chester, W.Va.) and Penn National (Grantsville, Pa.) raised their $2,500 claiming prices and it has hurt them."

Watson added "all horses go downhill in some point in their career, I don't care what the breeding or what care they receive. The $2,500 claimer means the owners have somewhere to go. somwhere to run their horses."

A (Pimlico) Special time

Thoroughbred horse racing fans are getting excited about the upcoming Triple Crown Series races but the Greade I, $750,000 Pimlico Special also draws attention from state and area fans.

The Maryland Jockey Club has released the names of 16 nominees for the mile and three-sixteenth Pimlico Special for older horses to be run on Saturday May 13 at the Pimlico Race Course.

Entries will be drawn and riders will be named on Wednesday, May 10.

The complete list, in alphabetical order, includes: Adonis, trainer Nick Zito; Allen's Oop, Dallas Keen; Almutawakel, Mark Henning; Big Ten, Richard Mandella; Budroyale, Ted West; Cat Thief, D. Wayne Lukas; Fred Bear Claw, A. Archie Smith Jr.; General Challenge, Robert Baffert; Golden Missile, Joseph Orseno; Hook Call, Mandella; K One King, Akiko Gothard; Lemon Drop Kid, Flint Schulhofer; Pleasant Breeze, H. James Bond; Puerto Madero, Richard Mandella; Stephen Got Even, Nick Zito; and Thunder Flash, Tim Ritchey.

The Triple Crown Series, restricted to three-year-olds, begins with the Kentucky Derby on May 6 at the Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Ky. and continues with the Preakness Stakes May 20 at the Pimlico Race Course ansd the Belmont Stakes June 10 at the Belmont Park Racetrack in Elmont, N.Y.

Pony tales

* Advanced wagering on the Kentucky Derby will be available today at the Pimlico Race Course and all of the Maryland off-track-betting facilities, including the Cracked Claw Off-Track Betting Parlor in Urbana. Md. The minimum wagers are $2. There are 23 betting interests listed, plus a field bet which includes all of the remaining three-year-old nominees.

* The West Virginia Racing Commission has granted a request by Charles Town management to conduct live racing five days a week in May and June.

The West Virginia thoroughbred oval will add Wednesday night racing to its schedule. Post time for the nine-race Wednesday cards will be 7:15 p.m., the same as Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday post time will remain at 1 p.m.




Larry Yanos, Mail Sports Editor, covrs area horse racing for The Herald-Mail.

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