West Virginia Classics Tops Million-Dollar Weekend

This year's West Virginia Breeders Classics will be worth $850,000 and top a three-day a weekend of racing worth a record $1.2 million at Charles Town Races.

The Eight Classics races will be run Saturday, Oct. 13. The night before, three $50,000 stakes sponsored by the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association are scheduled. Stakes purses for the two days will be $1 million, also a record at Charles Town.

Sam Huff, president of the West Virginia Breeders Classics, said the event will be held the second weekend in October every year. Previously, the Classics, for West Virginia-breds, has moved around the fall calendar.

The feature race on the Oct. 13 program is the $250,000 Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles. Last year, Huff devised a grading system for the Classics races (it isn't recognized by the American Graded Stakes Committee, which doesn't grade restricted races) that sets the Classic as a Restricted West Virginia grade I event.

Dick Watson, president of the Charles Town HBPA, said the Oct. 12 program will have seven other races with fattened purses on what amounts to a night for horsemen. The regular program on Sunday, Oct. 14, will bring the total purse outlay for the three days to about $1.2 million, he said.

Purses at Charles Town now average about $120,000 a day. The track, owned by Penn National Gaming, has video lottery terminals and slot machines.