Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort will offer financial incentives designed to attract graded-stakes winners for the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) Aug. 6.
Mountaineer director of racing Rose Mary Williams said March 22 the track will offer a $150,000 bonus to any grade or group I winner that wins the West Virginia Derby. In addition, the owner and trainer of any West Virginia Derby starter that has won a leg of the 2011 Triple Crown will each receive a $25,000 bonus per victory, she said.
The 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby, which headlines an all-stakes program held in the afternoon, in 2009 featured Mine That Bird, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He finished third. It was the first time in history a Kentucky Derby winner raced at Mountaineer or in West Virginia.
It appears as though the Derby won’t be televised this year; in 2010 it was shown on some FOX affiliates. Marketing money from the state's video lottery terminal promotional and tourism fund will be used this year for the race bonuses, local promotions, and online contests, officials said.
Mountaineer currently plans to offer prizes—cash and merchandise—from July through Aug. 6, when there will be a grand prize drawing at the track. Also in the works is an online contest that would offer a trip to the West Virginia Derby.
Along with the Derby there will be one $125,000 stakes and seven $85,000 stakes on the Aug. 6 program.