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At the races

No foreseeable cuts at Charles Town

No foreseeable cuts at Charles Town

June 11, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

Although the underpayment has dropped to $2.5 million in the horsemens' account, Charles Town director of racing Dickie Moore and racing secretary Doug Lamp see no foreseeable cuts in the upcoming purse structure or scheduling for thoroughbred racing.

"We've probably had as much as $5.4 million in the account this year but the $2.5 figure is still OK," Lamp said. "Things should improve as the year goes on, and slot machine revenue and racing revenue will improve with better weather and increased attendance."

Also factoring into the optimism of Moore and Lamp is a West Virginia state ruling which will eventually increase slot machine revenues given to the horsemen's account from 7 percent to 14 percent.

The 7 percent figure is effective with the start of the fiscal year - July 1, 2006 - but will increase to 14 percent later in the fall.

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According to West Virginia Director of Audits/Director of Racing Joe Cuomo, state legislators in 2005 approved a bill which stated that a part of the purse monies at each of the four racetracks be applied toward the workers compensation debt.

"Once the racetracks cumulatively pay a total of $11 million into the workers comp debt, the tracks revert to 14 percent," Cuomo said. "It shouldn't take that long."

Shenny goes down



Shenandoah Downs is about history.

Moore said all the barns at the former thoroughbred racetrack have been razed and the grandstand will come tumbling down soon.

"Trainers who had horses stabled at Shenny have been moved to Charles Town," Moore said.

Shenandoah Downs, a short distance from Charles Town Races & Slots, was a second horse racing track that operated at the same time as the track at Charles Town.

Shenandoah Downs opened in 1959 and was in existence for about 16 years.

"Shenandoah Downs was a great racetrack at one time," Moore said. "It was not needed, though, once ownership decided to make Charles Town a permanent track."

Moore says current management has not decided on the future of the Shenandoah Downs land.

Pony tales



Moore says the newly installed tote board at Charles Town has received rave reviews from the patrons.

"The video screen and tote board is nice. The patrons have made several favorable comments," Moore said.

Lamp says there are approximately 1,370 horses currently stabled at Charles Town.

"We're filled," Lamp said. "We get inquiries every day from owners and trainers but the stalls are full."

Edith Holden, the mother of West Virginia Breeders Classics Executive Director Carol Holden, celebrated her 100th birthday on June 1.

Edith was presented a birthday party in Middleburg, Va., attended by family and friends.

Racing fans at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday had the opportunity to sign the world's largest get-well-soon card for Barbaro - the winner of the May 6 Kentucky Derby who was subsequently injured during the running of the May 20 Preakness Stakes.

The card was 62 feet wide, 7 feet high and featured four life-size images of Barbaro.

Donations were accepted with all proceeds benefiting The Barbaro Fund and the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund. Barbaro's jockey, Edgar Prado, made the ceremonial first signature on the card.




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 larryy@herald-mail.com

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