12/19/2011 1:43PM

Charles Town adds $250K stakes to schedule

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A new $250,000 stakes for 3-year-olds, the Robert Hilton Memorial, is part of the 2012 stakes schedule released Monday by Charles Town.

The seven-furlong Hilton is part of a six-stakes program that launches the stakes season on April 14. The first of four big event nights at the West Virginia track, it will also include the $1 million Charles Town Classic, elevated to Grade 2 status, and the $200,000 Sugar Maple, a race for fillies and mares that was worth $250,000 for its first three runnings.

Overall, Charles Town will offer 28 stakes worth a collective $3.59 million, compared with $3.49 million in 2011. The figures do not include the races on West Virginia Breeders’ Classic night, scheduled for Oct. 20. The purses for those races will not be finalized until about a month before the 26th annual event for West Virginia-breds.

The only stakes dropped from the 2012 calendar is the Charles Town Juvenile, which was worth $200,000.

In addition to the Classic, the other centerpiece events are the $400,000 Red Legend for 3-year-olds, which highlights a six-stakes Sprint Festival program on June 30, and the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, the feature on a five-stakes card honoring the Race fo the Ribbon fight against breast cancer on Sept. 22.

The other six-figure stakes scheduled are the $100,000 Wild and Wonderful for 3-year-olds and up on June 30 and the $100,000 Tri-State Futurity on Nov. 10.