Prayer For Relief won the 2011 West Virginia Derby.

Prayer For Relief won the 2011 West Virginia Derby.

Ethel Riser

West Virginia Derby Returns to Television

The grade II race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Net Aug. 4.

The $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) will return to television this year during a live FOX Sports Net broadcast from 5-6 p.m. EDT Aug. 4.

The West Virginia Derby wasn't televised last year, but had been on TV in previous years.

The West Virginia Derby, which comes with a bonus provision for grade I winners, is one of nine stakes on the Aug. 4 program at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. The track trimmed its stakes schedule this year but boosted purses on Derby day; the lowest purse is $100,000.

"This will be the first time our West Virginia Derby will be shown in high definition," Mountaineer director of racing Rose Mary Williams said. "And the national exposure we'll receive will be a huge boost to the race's growth and prominence. We have a high regard for the FOX crew. I'm really excited about this."

Kenny Rice will host the telecast, which will be produced by Winnercomm Inc. in association with FOX. Kurt Hoover will be the analyst and Millie Ball will provide additional reporting. Mountaineer announcer Peter Berry will provide the race calls.

The telecast will include live coverage of the $200,000 West Virginia Governor's Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds and up. The purse for that race was $125,000 last year.

Earlier this year Mountaineer received West Virginia Racing Commission approval for expenditures related to the West Virginia Derby. Money for the event comes from a special video lottery terminal revenue fund.