Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort has released its 2016 racing schedule and, as was the case last year, the West Virginia track will offer 160 programs.
As recently as 2014 Mountaineer raced 195 days, but ongoing reductions in purse revenue coupled with new competition from Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in neighboring Ohio led the track to abandon is year-round racing schedule.
Racing will be held five nights a week on a Saturday-through-Wednesday schedule beginning April 16. The meet will end Nov. 26. Racing will begin at 7 p.m. ET each day with the exception of the Aug. 6 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) card, which begins at 2 p.m.
The will be a one-week overlap with Mahoning Valley, which is located about 45 minutes from Mountaineer, in April, and four weeks in November. Mountaineer director of racing Rose Mary Williams said some overlap was unavoidable given the 160-day schedule.
For 160 programs in 2015, Mountaineer averaged $98,381 per day in purses, its lowest average since the late 1990s. In 2014 purses averaged $118,925 per day with 35 more racing programs.
Williams said the plan is to maintain purses at last year's level.
"Purses will start out the same as last year, and whether that changes depends on what happens legislatively," she said. "Hopefully we'll be able to maintain that, but it's going to be hard."