Every August, West Virginia becomes home to trainers, jockeys, horse racers, and even greyhound racers, all attending one of the hundreds of races held in the state. The state is gearing up for the $500,000 West Virginia Derby Saturday at the Mountaineer Racetrack and the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic on August 26th at Hollywood Casino.
This year will be the 52nd official year in the Grade III West Virginia Derby. The race is for 3-year-old horses and is one of seven stakes on a nine-race program that begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 6th. The race is 1 1/8-mile long and will feature many well-known horses in the event.
There are 31 nominees for the event on Saturday. Among them are Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike and Skippylongstocking and Simplification, two colts who finished fifth and sixth in the Grade I Preakness Stakes on May 21st of this year.
Daniel Alonso’s Skippylongstocking also finished third in the Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes and third in the Grade I Belmont Stakes this year. Skippylongstocking’s trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said, “He’s going to the West Virginia Derby . . . He’ll probably arrive two days before the race. He has been training well (since the Belmont) and needed a little freshening. This race was the main target for him.”
Besides Simplification’s 6th place finish at the Preakness Stakes, the horse also finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and won the Grade II Fountain of Youth States. Trainer Antonio Sano said the colt is preparing for the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby and would make his start in either the WV Derby this weekend or the Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Racing on August 23rd.
Rich Strike is expected to skip the event but is still registered for the event. Trainer Eric Reed expressed how he’d like to work Rich Strike a couple more times at Churchill Downs before the Grade I Travers Stakes in Saratoga Race Course at the end of August. If we see Rich Strike race this weekend, he’s sure to be a favorite.
Home Brew, a Gary and Mary West homebred colt, is also expecting to make his start at the West Virginia Derby. The horse was considered for the Haskell Stakes on July 23rd after finishing first at the Pegasus Stakes in June. The team, however, decided to skip the Haskell Stakes last week and will most likely be starting the horse Saturday.
How Can I Wager On The Event?
Wagering at the track can be a little intimidating for new fans of thoroughbred racing. If this is your first time placing an online horse racing bet, a great place to start is with some of the popular horse wagering apps available in the state:
If you’re attending a race in person, it can be even more intimidating with the overall busyness on the grounds. Check out this helpful guide created by the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to help answer some questions about placing wagering in person.
Race Track Information
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
750 Hollywood Dr. Charles Town, WV 25414
The Hollywood Casino and race track hosts the 14th Annual $1,250,000 Charles Town Classic every August. They also host the Race for the Ribbon and the West Virginia Breeders Classics.
Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort
1420 Mountaineer Circle New Cumberland, WV 26047
The Mountaineer hosts the West Virginia Derby, set to start this Saturday. The Mountaineer is a riverfront casino with live races from May through December. The location of this track makes it a perfect option for fans in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Columbus.
West Virginia is one of the few states with regulated greyhounds racing in the US (Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, and Texas also have active racetracks). To visit or learn more information about greyhound racing in the state, visit one of the resorts below:
1 Greyhound Drive Cross Lanes, WV 25313
1 South Stone Street Wheeling, WV 26003
Mac Daniel is a South Carolina-based freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit www.playonlinecasinomi.com or www.playonlinesportsbetting.com