More slots mean fatter purses at Charles Town

June 07, 2003

With the addition of 800 new slot machines in July, the purses at Charles Town Races and Slots will increase significantly.

"It's tough to put a number on it but the horsemen will definitely benefit from the added revenues from the slot machines," said Dick Watson, president of the Charles Town Division/Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. "We currently receive about $80,000 per day from the machines and that figure will substantially increase once the other machines come on line."

The horsemen at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval will receive 14 percent of slot machine revenues (after expenses) to be used toward the purse structure.

"The purse account is in good shape now and will be even better," Watson said. "With the 22 canceled days of racing already this year, we built up a significant underpayment (money in the horsemen's account). It will continue to grow even more starting in July."


Watson said in the month of May, the Charles Town Racetrack was offering a daily purse distribution of $114,000. The average is $125,696 for the year.

Although no final decision has been reached, Watson says the new purse structure should benefit all horsemen stabled at Charles Town regardless of the caliber of the horse or the distance of the race.

Fogelsonger invited to join all-star field of jockeys

Maryland-based jockey Ryan Fogelsonger, the 2002 Eclipse Award winning apprentice, is one of 10 riders invited to compete in the seventh annual National Thoroughbred Racing Associatio All-Star Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park in Dallas on June 20.

Invitations were also extended to Robby Albarado, Russell Baze, Edgar Prado, Jose Santos, Shane Sellers, Mike Smith, Alex Solis, Pat Valenzuela and John Velazquez.

Horse racing fans have an opportunity to choose another participant through an online poll at while Lone Star Park's leading rider will complete the elite cast of a dozen jockeys.

Maryland-based Ramon Dominguez is one of 12 riders on the poll.

Fogelsonger has led both the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park standings in recent meets and ranks second nationally in wins.

Pony tales

n Barclay Tagg, trainer of Funny Cide, will judge the Maryland-bred Yearling Show. The 69th annual event will be held on June 29 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

Past judges include John Ward Jr., Bobby Frankel and Nick Zito.

Alumni from the show, which offers more than $40,000 in premiums and awards, include recent Preakness starters Cherokee's Boy and New York Hero.

n Sunny's Halo, winner of the 1983 Kentucky Derby, died on Tuesday in Tyler, Texas.

The 23-year-old stallion was euthanized due to the infirmities of old age.

Bred in Ontario by David J. Foster and campaigned by the D.J. Foster Racing Stable, Sunny's Halo recorded a two-length victory in the 109th Kentucky Derby - ridden by jockey Eddie Delahoussaye.

Sunny's Halo joined 1964 winner Northern Dancer as the only Canadian-breds to win horse racing's grandest prize.

Sunny's Halo retired at the end of his 3-year-old campaign with nine wins from 20 starts and $1,247,791 in earnings.

n Jockey Richard Migliore was selected by fans, turf writers and jockeys to be the recipient of the 2003 Mike Venezia Memorial Award.

The New York Racing Association instituted the award for riders who "exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship," and first awarded it posthumously to Venezia, who was killed in a tragic spill at Belmont Park on Oct. 13, 1988.

Migliore, 39, was selected over three other finalists: Patricia Cooksey, Aaron Gryder and John Velazquez. Previous winners of the award include Jerry Bailey, Angel Cordero Jr. and Bill Shoemaker.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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