Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Charles Town boosts stakes


Charles Town Races has allocated a record $2.7-million to its open stakes schedule for 2009, including a new race for older horses that could be worth as much as $1-million.

Last year, Charles Town offered a record $900,000 in unrestricted stakes purses. Penn National Gaming Inc. owns Charles Town, located in Eastern West Virginia near the Maryland and Pennsylvania boarders.

Most prominent among the additions this year is the Charles Town Classic on April 18 that will offer a guaranteed purse of $500,000 and tiered incentives for graded stakes winners. Grade 1 winners will compete for a $1-million purse, and the pot will be worth $750,000 for Grade 2 winners and $600,000 for Grade 3 winners.

Owner Tracy Farmer is pointing multiple Grade 1 winner Commentator to the Charles Town Classic, Thoroughbred Daily News reports. The gelding’s trainer, Racing Hall of Famer Nick Zito, has never started a horse at Charles Town, according to Equineline statistics.

Also on the April 18 card, Charles Town will debut the $250,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at seven furlongs for older females and $100,000 events at seven furlongs for three-year-olds and at 4 ½ furlongs for three-year-olds and older.

Another stakes heavy program on June 20 will feature the $250,000 Charles Town Invitational Dash at 4 1/2 furlongs and $250,000 Red Legend Stakes at seven furlongs for three-year-olds.

On August 1, Charles Town has four open stakes on the schedule including the $250,000 Charles Town Oaks at seven furlongs.

Charles Town also is the home of the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics Night, which offered $1.875-million in purses in 2008.

“We consider all these events to be significant showcase days for our racing,” said Dickie Moore, Charles Town’s general manager of racing. “To have these three days set the table for the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics makes our program very formidable. Fortunately, thanks to roughly $35-million in purse funds generated by our slot machines … we’re capable of purring on events like this.”

Charles Town open stakes schedule

April 18 Charles Town Classic, *$1-million, 4 yo &up, 1 1/8 miles;
April 18 Sugar Maple Stakes, $250,000, 4 yo &up fillies & mares, seven furlongs
April 18 Blue & Gold Stakes, $100,000, 3yo, seven furlongs
April 18 Webb Snyder Stakes, $100,000, 3 yo &up, 4 1/2 furlongs
June 20 Charles Town Invitational Dash, $250,000, 3 yo &up, 4 1/2 furlongs
June 20 Red Legend Stakes, $250,000, 3yo, seven furlongs
June 20 Lady Charles Town, $100,000, 3yo fillies, 4 1/2 furlongs
June 20 Wild and Wonderful, $100,000, 3&up, seven furlongs
August 15 Charles Town Oaks, $250,000, 3yo fillies, seven furlongs
August 15 Charles Town Juvenile, $100,000, 2yo, seven furlongs
August 15 Miss Shenandoah, $100,000, 2yo fillies, 4 1/2 furlongs
August 15 West Virginia Sprint Derby, $100,000, 3yo, 4 1/2 furlongs
*$500,000 guaranteed; $1-million for Grade 1 winners, $750,000 for Grade 2 winners, and $600,000 for Grade 3 winners.