Mountaineer Will Cut Races, Purses

Mountaineer Racetrack's request to reduce the number of nightly live races in December was rejected by the West Virginia Racing Commission. Instead, Mountaineer has dropped live races from nine now through September, and 10 in October and November, to eight. Purses also have been reduced.

The West Virginia Racing Commission recently rejected Mountaineer Racetrack’s request to eliminate 14 days of live racing in December and advised the track to reduce the number of nightly live races. As a result, officials at the racetrack, located in New Cumberland, announced races have been reduced from nine—10 in October and November–to eight per night.

Officials also said purses have been reduced. For example, a maiden special weight race that formerly went for $19,400 now will be worth $17,500. Purses for a first-level allowance dropped from $22,200 to $20,000. Mountaineer officials told commissioners they’re concerned they will run out of purse money before the end of the year. In that case, commissioners said the track would be permitted to end the season earlier.

Mountaineer made the request to help it compete with the new Mahoning Valley Race Course near Youngstown, Ohio, which will replace Beulah Park near Columbus on the Ohio racing circuit. Located less than a one-hour drive from Mountaineer, it will offer races from November through April. Racinos in Pennsylvania also are taking customers from Mountaineer, officials said.

Additionally, earlier this year Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill that will cut an estimated $2.5 million a year from video lottery revenue appropriations to various Thoroughbred and greyhound breeders’ and reduce purse funds by 10 percent, redirecting the money to the State Excess Lottery Revenue Fund.