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At the Races - Stakes races on the shelf for now

June 12, 2005|by LARRY YANOS

Stakes races, unless funded by the West Virginia State Racing Commission, have been put "on hold" at Charles Town Races & Slots for the rest of this year.

Wayne Harrison, president of the Charles Town Division/Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, says he would like to see the stakes schedule remain intact - if the money is available.

"A stakes program benefits horse racing and we want to keep it, even if we have to reduce the purse structure of the stakes," Harrison said. "I think it's important to have and we will review each stakes (race) on an individual basis."

He said the two stakes scheduled for July - the $75,000-added Go for the Green Stakes and the $100,000 Charles Town Dash - could be run later in the year if things go well financially.

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"For now, there will still be stakes races here but only funded by the state," Charles Town Director of Racing Richard Moore said.

That schedule includes the West Virginia Breeders Classics night of racing, four prep races for the Oct. 8 event, and four races on Owners' Day (July 31).

The Owners Day card features the HBPA Horsemen's Stakes, the HBPA Dash, the HBPA West Virginia Stakes and the HBPA West Viriginia State Racing Commission Stakes. All have $40,000-added purses with preference given to horses which have run at Charles Town.

The nominations close on July 17.

On another note, Moore says purses were increased by 10 percent on June 1 and will increase again on July 1.

"We once had an overpayment of $200,000 and now it's $3 million," Moore said. "With better weather, we are seeing an increase in slot machine revenue as well as simulcasting and live racing."

The purses at Charles Town are averaging $140,000 a night. Moore thinks it could reach $160,000 in July.

"We had some issues earlier in the year, for example the $4.6 million requested by the governor for workmen's compensation issues, but things are looking better now," Moore said.




Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He writes a weekly horse racing column for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at larryy@herald-mail.com

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