CHARLES TOWN OFFERING INCENTIVES

Charles Town is offering purse incentives in certain races with seven or more starters. The new program takes effect just one day after the Colonial Downs meet opens on June 5th.


While fields at Charles Town are limited limited to 10 starters because of the track configuration, the West Virginia track is feeling the pinch of competition for horses.

“We’re in a competitive location geographically, and in a competitive time on the calendar,” Charles Town racing secretary and former Colonial Downs racing secretary Randy Wehrman said in a statement. “We’re taking a step to reward horsemen who help us to drive both quality and field size.”

The races that qualify for the extra cash are allowance events, including starter allowance races and optional claiming allowance races, as well as open claiming races with a claiming price of $16,000 or $12,500. Maiden special weight races aren’t part of the incentive scheme, officials said.

For each horse above six starters, purses will increase $1,000. So the maximum increase will be $4,000.

Under the plan, $200 will go to each horse finishing seventh through 10th, while $800 will be added to the published purse and paid out accordingly to the top six finishers. The $200 purse incentive will be paid in addition to the $100 currently paid to horses finishing seventh through 10th at Charles Town.

Charles Town officials said they will study the impact of the purse incentive plan on a monthly basis to determine whether it should continue.

Though Maryland racing ended May 23 for a few months, Colonial Downs opens June 5. The Virginia track offers a large percentage of turf races and attracts horses from Charles Town and other mid-Atlantic racing jurisdictions.