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Race Dates
1/11- 12/23



  Hollywood in West Virginia!     

Charles TownLogo

Charles Town Races is located, in of course Charles Town, which is roughly 75 miles from Baltimore, and Washington D.C. Charles Town is a three quarter mile dirt oval, with races from four and a half furlongs and up. The facility has a glass enclosed grandstand and clubhouse. The grandstand seating 3,500, the clubhouse another 2,500, the clubhouse also includes the Skyline Terrace restaurant. Charles Town Races was the first track in the Northeast to offer winter racing. There are stables for 1,250 horses.  

Charles Town is the perfect example of the reversal of fortune that a Racino can provide. It started out as a three quarter mile bullring that featured winter racing. By 1994 business was declining rapidly and it looked ready to join it's sister track Shenandoah Downs on the scrap heap. Just lCharles Town Race Courseike in the movies slot machines were authorized in the nick of time.

 Since that time Charles Town again began to prosper it was eventfully bought by Penn National Gaming under the Hollywood Slots Banner. Many major improvements have been made since 1995 both to the facility and racing surface. What used to be a bottom level purse index of 3 is now a 29 which puts it on par with what were it's rich cousin in Baltimore Laurel and Pimlico. Charles Town features the West Virginia Breeders Cup Day yearly as its premier event.

Charles Town was on the verge of closing on two different occasions. In 1979 the tracks obituary was printed in the local paper and horseman were told they had two weeks to leave the premises, but a month later a deal was struck to permit Sunday Racing and the track re-opened. In 1994 when racino wagering was not approved by the locals, the track was again closed. The next vote was successful and the rest is history.

 Charles Town is one of a handful of tracks in the country to run a January 1 to December 31st schedule. It was also one of the first east coast track with winter racing. I have been to Charles Town twice once in the late sixty's on a miserable rainy night, didn't come close to cashing a ticket, even track favorite Kamekameka run up the track for me. The next time was after it became a racino, I was surprised at the number of people actually at the races.