Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort, which recently inked a three-year contract with horsemen, has officially issued a 2004 racing schedule that calls for 228 programs of racing effective Jan. 19.
Weather conditions already have led to cancellations. The Jan. 24 program was bagged after three races, and the Jan. 25-26 cards were scrapped.
From March to November, the West Virginia track will race five nights a week (Friday through Tuesday), with nine races per program in March and 10 races per program thereafter. In December, the track will offer two five-day weeks and three more programs after the Christmas holiday, each with 10 races.
The customary post time is 7 p.m.
The January and February schedule calls for nine-race programs four nights a week (Saturday through Tuesday), with one week off (Feb. 20-24).
The lone daytime program will be held Saturday, Aug. 7, when the West Virginia Derby (gr. III) is scheduled. Post time that day will be 2 p.m.
In 2003, purses at Mountaineer totaled more than $39 million in large part because of revenue from video lottery terminals. As part of the agreement with the Mountaineer Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the minimum claiming price will go from $4,000 to $5,000 from July 1 through Dec. 1, 2005. After that, it will be revisited.