What is viewed as the strongest “open” racing card in the history of Charles Town Races & Slots will be held June 21, with the centerpiece of the evening a $200,000 invitational at the West Virginia track’s signature 4 1/2-furlong distance.
The “Speed Festival” is made up of four open stakes worth a total of $500,000. One-night programs with purses in excess of $1 million have been raced at Charles Town, but they have been dominated by stakes for West Virginia-bred horses.
The $200,000 Charles Town Invitational Dash attracted a field of 10—the maximum at Charles Town, which has a three-quarter-mile racing surface—and two also-eligible horses. The highweight is New Jersey-bred Joey P., owned by John Petrini, trained by Ben Perkins Jr., and to be ridden by Travis Dunkelberger.
Joey P., a multiple stakes winner, seeks his first victory outside of New Jersey. He’s 9-5 in the morning line.
Michael Dubb’s Pete’s Wonder is second choice in the early line. The Anthony Dutrow trainee finished second in his last start behind Ravalo in the Karl Boyes Memorial on the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs & Casino. Ravalo, who was nominated for the Dash and would have been favored, wasn’t entered.
Other stakes on the program are the $100,000 Lady Charles Town for 3-year-old fillies at 4 1/2 furlongs, the $100,000 West Virginia Sprint Derby for 3-year-olds at 4 1/2 furlongs, and the $100,000 Red Legend Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, which is run around two turns at Charles Town.
The 10-race card June 21 includes the $50,000 Coin Collector Stakes for 3-year-olds bred in West Virginia. Coin Collector was a popular local horse who won the West Virginia Breeders Classic.
Of the other five races, none carries a purse lower than $25,000. There are three maiden special weight events—two of them for 2-year-olds—and two allowance races.
Post time for the first race is 7:15 p.m. EDT. The Festival stakes will broadcast live on HRTV, with the first stakes set for 8:47 p.m. All four stakes will be part of a pick four (races five through eight), with the Dash, the last of the four open stakes, set for 10 p.m.