From a Charles Town press release

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2013, and it did so in style.  The 2013 racing season saw the United States’ richest thoroughbred race outside of the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup held over its oval; the track earn its second graded stakes in December; a late closing finish by Fred High to deny Russell Road a third West Virginia Breeders’ Classic; the first ever Eclipse Award earned by an individual or horse based in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle; and the first ever Grade 1 score by a Charles Town based trainer when Ollie Figgins, III saddled Dance to Bristol to a victory in the Ballerina at Saratoga.

And that’s not all.  The track generated an average daily all-sources handle number of $992,368 – which includes all completed live racing programs – that represented the second highest annual total in the track’s history, just missing the record number of $1,001,938 set the previous year. Charles Town fell less than one percentage point short of setting a record for annual handle for the third consecutive year.

Additionally, each of Charles Town’s three event days in 2013 – Charles Town Classic day in April, the Race for the Ribbon card in September and October’s West Virginia Breeders’ Classics – produced a record wagering total for the event. The Charles Town Classic card set an all-sources handle record with $4,398,985 in wagering, besting the prior mark of $3,441,632 set on Charles Town Classic day in 2012.  In September, the Race for the Ribbon program became the first non Classic day card to handle at least $2 million as fans bet $2,225,355 on the program that featured 7 stakes races.  West Virginia Breeders’ Classics XXVII saw $1,576,267 wagered, which narrowly shaded the prior record of $1,526,419, set in 2010.

The full list of all-time pari-mutuel marks set in 2013 includes:

  • Consecutive live cards handling $1,000,000 or more (26 – 2/5/13 to 3/14/13)
  • Highest average daily all-sources handle in a single month (April 2013 – $1,365,857)
  • Highest average daily export handle in a single month (April 2013 – $1,309,629)
  • Highest single card export handle (April 20 – $4,066,108)
  • Highest single card all-sources handle (April 20 – $4,398,985)
  • Highest single race handle (April 20, Charles Town Classic – $1,286,188)
  • Largest WPS pool (April 20, Charles Town Classic – $599,518)
  • Largest Pick 4 pool (April 20 – $215,491)

All told, average daily handle at Charles Town has grown 28.92% between 2009 and 2013.

“To have the second most successful wagering year at a track around for more than three-quarters of a century, the top handicap horse in the country at the time here in April to compete in one of the country’s richest races, a second graded stakes granted to us in December, a rider based here win an Eclipse Award and a local trainer come within a Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint win of training a champion, speaks volumes of how far we’ve come as a track,” said Vice President of Racing Operations Erich Zimny.  “Most of all, I’m incredibly proud of all the hard work the entire team at Charles Town has put forth to make it happen.  We’ll do our best to continue it in 2014.”

(Featured image by Coady Photography.)