Nominations, which totaled 34 on Saturday, close today.
"It's quite an impressive list," Mangiafico, said. "We've received inquiries from trainers like Steve Asmussen, Anthony Dutrow, Gary Dunleavy, Scott Lake, Tim Ritchey, Kiaran McLaughlin, Jayson Servis, Gary Capuano, Jason Ness, Gary Contessa, Todd Beattie, Michael Pino, Howard Wolfendale and Donald Barr."
Mangiafico stressed that while 34 horses were nominated, who shows up will be the bigger story.
Once the nomination process is compete, newly hired Charles Town racing secretary Randy Wehrman will issue weight assignments and then the trainers and owners will make decisions.
The race is restricted to 10 starters.
"We expect a strong group of horses for the Festival," Charles Town director of racing Dickie Moore said. "Management and horsemen did a fantastic job of getting this 'open' stakes schedule together and it will surely attract quality horses."
An open race means any eligible horse can enter, it's just not restricted to West Virginia-breds.
"The champion will earn black type -- winning an unrestricted race at $50,0000 or more -- and that's very important regarding the breeding end of the business," Moore said. "It's also great that the distance will be 4 1/2 furlongs. The 4 1/2 has been our signature race for a long, long time. Some of the fastest horses in the world have run 4 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town. We switched the Charles Town Dash from 4 1/2 to 7 furlongs last year and it just didn't work out."
The complete open stakes schedule for 2008:
The $200,000 Charles Town Invitational Dash: 3-year-olds and upward at 4 1/2 furlongs.
The $100,000 Lady Charles Town: 3-year-old fillies at 4 1/2 furlongs.
The $100,000 West Virginia Sprint Derby: 3-year-olds at 4 1/2 furlongs.
The $100,000 Red Legend Stakes: 3-year-olds at 7 furlongs.
The $100,000 Charles Town Distaff Sprint: 3-year-olds-and-upward fillies and mares at 4 1/2 furlongs.
The $100,000 Charles Town Juvenile: 2-year-olds at 4 1/2 furlongs.
The $100,000 The Miss Shenandoah: 2-year-old fillies at 4 1/2 furlongs.
The $100,000 Wild and Wonderful: 3-year-olds and upward at 7 furlongs.
At the end of May, the horsemen's account at Charles Town had a $4.3 million underpayment (money to spend), and Moore said he sees no significant changes in the purse structure in the upcoming months.
"We try to average about $185,000 per day and we like to keep that figure steady the year around," Moore said. "Our horse population remains good and we're attracting trainers and owners from both the United States and Canada. We get inquiries practically every day.
"We have an outstanding stakes schedule, both restricted and unrestricted, this year."
This month, there will be no live thoroughbred racing on Wednesdays at Charles Town. However, full card simulcast action will remain in effect.
Larry Yanos covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at email@example.com