Charles Town Picks
About Charles Town
Charles Town is a racetrack and casino facility which is located in Charles Town, West Virginia. It is around 60 miles from Baltimore and roughly 10 miles from the historic Harpers Ferry.
It is currently owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties, and the day-to-day operations are overseen by the Penn National Gaming. They purchased the facility back in 1997.
Charles Town is home to one of the smallest racetracks in the US, with a six-furlong oval track often resulting in races held over the four-and-a-half and five furlongs. It is described as conventional dirt, and there are currently no plans to build a turf course.
The main track has a width of 60 feet and has a four-and-a-half furlong chute, which allows route races to be held at CharlesTown.
The track possesses a state-of-the-art casino, which was the first to be built in West Virginia. Sports betting has been available at this venue since August 2018.
There is also a 153-room hotel on-site. The track also possesses a grass enclosed grandstand and clubhouse, with the former being able to seat up to 3,500 spectators.
Racing takes place all-year-round at Charles Town with live race-days typically taking place Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The track takes a short break around the holiday season before recommencing in mid-January. It was the first East Coast track to hold live racing during the winter months.
Charles Town only hosts Thoroughbred racing at the track. There are currently no plans to introduce Quarter Horse contests.
The track holds a number of valuable stakes races throughout the season, with the West Virginia Breeders Classic being the standout contest. This event pays over $500,000 to the winning connections, while the overall purse for the day has recently risen above the million-dollar mark.
Charles Town Racetrack History
Charles Town opened in 1933 and became the first pari-mutuel betting track in West Virginia. The first live race-day was staged on December 2 and was organized by Albert Boyle of the Shenandoah Valley Jockey Club.
The owners spent $160,000 in order to get the venue up to scratch and to ensure that the West Virginia venue was fit to stage winter racing. Despite a number of naysayers suggesting that Charles Town would struggle to get visitors through the door, the track saw numbers increase over the first decade despite the perilously cold conditions.
Hall of fame jockey Bill Hartack was a regular at the track during the early days, and he set a number of track records – many of which still stand today. He once rode 24 winners during Charles Town’s24-day winter meet.
John F. Kennedy and his wife visited the track in 1960 as part of their presidential campaign.
In 1969, Barbara Jo Ruben became the first female jockey to win a pari-mutuel race in the US, with the 19-year-old guidingCohesion home by half-a-length. She went on to have an incredible career and was invited back to the track in 2019 to mark the anniversary of the event.
The track closed for two weeks in 1979 with all horsemen asked to vacate the premises, although racing soon recommenced, with Sunday being added to the calendar soon after the re-opening.
The first running of the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic was held at the track and was organized by NFL Hall of Famer Sam Huff.The inaugural prize purse consisted of $100,000 and was won by local raider Onion Juice.
The track was purchased by Penn National Gaming in 1997, and they conducted a $175,000,000 upgrade of the facilities.They built new barns and opened a multi-million dollar simulcast center.
The Charles Town Classic was held for the first time in 2009, with inaugural race open to older horses running over a mile and one eighth. Researcher won the first two renewals of this contest.With a prize purse of over $1 million, the race continues to attract a high-quality field and is one of the richest contests in the US.
Charles Town Track Configuration and Bias
When the track rides fast (which happens throughout the majority of the summer months), this often hinders closers. The fast dirt at Charles Town tends to allow frontrunners to get enough leverage to win wire-to-wire, and this is a key facet of summer racing in West Virginia.
Frontrunners often struggle when the rain has come down, and the track is riding sloppy.
Winning Post Position
There has been plenty of racing at CharlesTown in 2019, and the stats suggest that there is a fairly even split when it comes to post positions. In sprint races, the inside positions have the edge, with stalls one and two producing 15.8 and 15.9 percent of the winners, respectively.
Stalls three and seven were also fairly productive, with 14.4 and 14.6 percent of horses starting here entering the winner’s enclosure, respectively.
Stall nine was the poorest starting position, with just 11 of the 169 runners being drawn in this slot managing to secure victory (6.5 percent).
In route races, the inside stalls also produced the highest number of winners. Stall two had 18.6 percent of the winners, while the inside position yielded 17.6 percent of all winning thoroughbreds. Stall five showed a fairly poor return of just over 10 percent, while only one of the 12 runners starting in stall nine entered the winner’s enclosure.
Neither of the two horses who began in stall 10 were first to pass the post.
Charles Town Racing Season
Charles Town is one of a handful of tracks in the US to host year-round racing. The West Virginia venue takes a small break for the holiday season before racing returns at the beginning of the calendar year. Racing typically takes place Thursday-Sunday although they often stage additional cards on Thanksgiving and Labor Day.
There are a number of stakes races held at the track and these command decent-size purses. The standout races include the Charles Town Mile and the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic.
● Charles Town Classic
● Charles Town Oaks
● Robert Hilton Memorial
● Coin Collect Stakes
● Fancy Buckles Stakes
● Robert G Leavitt Stakes
● Dickie Moore Stakes
● Misty Bennett Pink Ribbon Stakes
● Sadie Hawkins Stakes
● West Virginia Breeders Stakes
● West Virginia Breeders Distaff
● West Virginia Lottery Breeder’sClassic
● My Sister Pearl Stakes
● Eleanor Casey Memorial
Charles Town Address
750 Hollywood DriveCharles Town, WV 25414
Charles Town Best Jockeys and Trainers
There are a number of respected horsemen who regularly compete at the track, and these handlers enjoy regular winners at Charles Town.
There are a number of riders who regularly race at Charles Town. Many of the experienced athletes regularly produce winners and have a knack of getting a little extra out of their mount in the final furlongs. Here are some of the names to watch out for.
|Jockey||Races||Win Rate||Place Rate||Show Rate|
|Lopez Carlos Eduardo||467||23.34%||44.75%||49.46%|
|Acosta J D||208||16.83%||24.04%||38.94%|
|Trainer||Races||Win Rate||Place Rate||Show Rate|
|Figgins Ollie L||113||47.79%||53.98%||71.68%|
|Johnson Jamey R||111||36.04%||36.04%||42.34%|
|Obed-Letts Keturah E||88||29.55%||37.50%||37.50%|
|Carlisle John C||84||27.38%||35.71%||51.19%|
|McKee Cynthia E||149||26.85%||48.32%||58.39%|