Overnight races will receive a 10% increase compared with last year when Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort commences its 63rd season of live Thoroughbred racing Friday, March 1.
The nine-race card has a scheduled first post of 7 p.m. EST.
The anchoring event on the 210-day Mountaineer schedule, the 44th edition of the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. II), will highlight a special 2 p.m. program Saturday, August 3. The entirety of the West Virginia Derby card will be comprised of open stakes, nine in all for guaranteed purses totaling $1.65 million.
Overnight races (allowance, starter allowance, maiden special weight, and claiming events) have received 10% purse raises at Mountaineer this year. Open claiming purses will range through seven levels, from $12,500 for horses running for $5,000 tags, to $31,100 for horses entered for tags of $50,000.
"Over the decades, going back to our opening season (as Waterford Park) in 1951, we've run nearly 127,000 races at Mountaineer, for purses in excess of $605 million," said Rose Mary Williams, the track's director of racing. "We've got a well-established niche—one that spans many decades—in a Thoroughbred industry where the competition among racetracks for horses is enormous. And while the North American gaming market is ever-expanding, we do everything we reasonably can to fortify our position."
Black-type offerings for the whole of Mountaineer's 2013 schedule add up to a baker's dozen. They begin with the Independence Day and Firecracker Stakes, both of which will be $75,000 purses on the grass July 2.
They will culminate with the $130,000 Mountaineer Mile and $85,000 Sophomore Sprint Championship, to be run on Nov. 2 and Nov. 12, respectively. Mountaineer's aggregate purse distribution for stakes will exceed $2 million.
Mountaineer's live racing season will extend through Friday, Dec. 20. Racing will be offered Fridays through Tuesdays, with Wednesdays and Thursdays being dark.
Nine races per card will occur during the opening six months of the season, and ten races per card will be offered during October, November, and December. This is a reversal from recent years. The change was made because more horses appear to be available during the latter months.