Mountaineer Racetrack

Mountaineer Racetrack

Tom Lamarra

Mountaineer Begins 210-Day Meet March 1

Mountaineer in West Virginia will begin its 2011 season March 1.

Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort will begin its 210-day meet March 1 with a schedule similar to that of last year.

The West Virginia track will race five nights a week on a Friday-through-Tuesday schedule with first post time of 7 p.m. Eastern. The only exception will be Aug. 2, the day of the West Virginia Derby (gr. II), when post time will be 2 p.m.

Through August, 10-race programs will be scheduled; from September through December, nine races a day will be offered.

The purse structure for 2011 hasn't changed. Through Dec. 28, 2010, (208 racing days) purses at Mountaineer averaged $117,604 per card, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. Purses totaled more than $24.46 million for the year at the track, which has video lottery terminals and table games.

Because of changes in state law that shifted some purse money to shore up a workers’ compensation fund, and an overall decline in gaming revenue, Mountaineer purses have declined over the past five or six years. In 2005, for instance, purses totaled $37.76 million for a daily average of $151,642 over 216 days of racing, according to TJCIS.

Eight other stakes will be offered Aug. 6 in conjunction with the $750,000 Derby.

Returning to Mountaineer after a few months in Florida is jockey DeShawn Parker, who won the most races in the United States last year. Parker is a regular at Mountaineer but rode at Tampa Bay Downs under a new schedule in which Mountaineer is dark January and February.

Parker will be honored at Mountaineer March 1 for his 2010 achievement.