The 2005 Mountaineer season begins Jan. 15. Racing initially will be held on a Saturday-through-Tuesday schedule, with Friday nights added later.
Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort will offer a beefed-up stakes schedule in 2005 that includes a purse hike for the West Virginia Derby (gr. III) and the addition of stakes for 2-year-olds.Mountaineer, where racing benefits from revenue from video lottery terminals, has carded 28 stakes worth more than $3.1 million next year. Almost one-third of them will be run Aug. 14 on one of two afternoon programs all year.The nine stakes will be topped by the West Virginia Derby, which will go for $750,000, up from $600,000 this year. The Derby is for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles. The West Virginia Governor's Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, got a $25,000 purse hike to $125,000.Among the seven $85,000 stakes on the special card are two new ones: the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes at six furlongs, and the Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies Stakes at six furlongs. Traditionally, the track has carded no 2-year-old stakes, and in fact has offered no 2-year-old races until the latter part of the year.In another purse change, the Mountaineer Mile Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at one mile will go for $125,000, up from $100,000. The race is carded for Nov. 12.Eighteen other stakes will go for $75,000. The first will be held May 7, and the final stakes of the meet Dec. 27.The July 4 program, traditionally raced at night, will have a 2 p.m. post time like West Virginia Derby day. Three stakes--two on the turf--are carded for July 4.