Caught up Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races’ two-month shutdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the track’s marquee event – the Grade 2, Charles Town Classic originally slated for April 18 – has found a new temporary home for 2020 as the 1 1/8 mile test for older horses has been rescheduled for August 28 following approval by the West Virginia Racing Commission at its Friday morning meeting. The Charles Town Classic, will be one of seven stakes races on the Friday evening card which gets underway with a special first post of 5:00 P.M. EST.
When it takes to the gate in a little more than two months, The Charles Town Classic purse will represent a trend shared with many other stakes around the country as its purse will be cut to $600,000 for the 2020 edition.
In addition to the rescheduling of the headline event, the Charles Town Oaks (G3) will also be run on the same day as the Classic for the first time. The 7-furlong Charles Town Oaks will be contested for a purse of $200,000. The two graded events will be joined by three other unrestricted 7-furlong stakes in the form of the $150,000 Dance to Bristol for fillies and mares, the $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial for three year-olds and the $100,000 Russell Road Stakes presented by Triple Crown Nutrition for horses three-years-old and upward. A pair of West Virginia accredited stakes – the $50,000 Robert G. Leavitt and $50,000 Sylvia Bishop Memorial – complete the stakes laden card.
While the Charles Town Oaks has been moved from its previously scheduled September 19 date and two other unrestricted stakes originally bound for the same day have been cancelled, a quartet of West Virginia-bred stakes will still remain on the card and serve as a springboard to the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics held three weeks later on October 10.