Dick and Janene Watson were at the forefront of the rebirth of Charles Town Races when video lottery terminals began operating in the mid-1990s. But they haven't been able to race their horses for the track's gaming fueled-purses for more than two years, and perhaps might never get the chance again.
Randy Funkhouser, prominent horse owner and president of the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent Association, was told Oct. 16 he would be able to run his horses in the Oct. 20 West Virginia Breeders' Cup Classic.
The West Virginia House of Delegates has approved legislation that would allow the counties in which four racetracks are located to vote on table games at the facilities, which already have video lottery terminals.
Legislation that would expand the West Virginia Racing Commission from three to five members and create the oversight position of a director of racing appointed by the governor has been introduced in the House of Delegates and sent to the House Committee on Government Organization.
West Virginia lawmakers are considering two bills--one that would prohibit account wagering, and another that would authorize county referendums on the addition of casino-style games at Thoroughbred and Greyhound racetracks.
The president and vice president of the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have resigned, and a West Virginia owner/breeder who headed the organization when video lottery terminals were introduced in the mid-1990s has again taken over as president.
Following the refusal of jockeys to ride the remainder of the live card after two races had been completed Jan. 7, Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa., announced Jan. 9 it would cancel live racing and training for this week while attempts are made to fix "inconsistent" portions of the racing surface.
The latest condition book at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort reflects a 20% reduction in purses primarily brought about by the shift of some video lottery terminal revenue to the state to fix its workers' compensation system.
The former president of the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is calling for a special election in the wake of what he calls repeated attempts by the current president and board of directors to discredit him and his wife.
Thoroughbred interests in West Virginia are hopeful lawmakers will correct action that took revenue for a proposed breed development program at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort and shifted half of it to an incentive program for racing Greyhounds.
A West Virginia legislator whose district includes Charles Town Races & Slots is advocating a plan to enlarge the racing surface and, if necessary, renovate dilapidated Shenandoah Downs and race there during the down time--or perhaps permanently.
Legislation endorsed by the West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee would allow casino-style table games at the four racetracks in the state, but the panel also doubled the state tax on the games from 12% to 24%.
Representatives of horsemen's groups are working in the West Virginia capital of Charleston to fend off an effort by Gov. Joe Manchin to take $5 million from purse accounts at each of the state's four racetracks to help pay off a $3-billion debt in the state workers' compensation program.
Total Thoroughbred purses increased 3.42%--mostly from a limited number of sources--in 2004, while total handle on Thoroughbred races run in the United States declined less than 1%, according to a year-end "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" report released Jan. 12.
The Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association announced Jan. 7 it has signed a new contract with Penn National Gaming Inc., owner of Charles Town Races & Slots, which increases the number of live racing dates per year.
Officials were meeting the morning of Oct. 1 to discuss ongoing problems with the racing surface that have led Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia to again cancel racing for at least another week.
The former president of the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said he would fight charges leveled by the current Charles Town HBPA board of directors over alleged unauthorized loans and purchases while he was in office.
Just weeks before work is to begin on banking the turns of the racing surface at Charles Town Races & Slots, a new organization called "The Thoroughbred Club" claims a survey reveals support for expansion of the six-furlong track to seven furlongs.