12/08/2009 12:00AM

Charles Town Classic to offer $1M purse for all


Charles Town will offer a track-record $2.8 million in purses for its 12 stakes for open company in 2010, according to a release issued by the track on Tuesday.

In the biggest change to the schedule, the purse for the second running of the 1 1/8-mile Charles Town Classic will be doubled to $1 million.

For the inaugural race last April, the base purse was $500,000, with a tiered structure of bonus money available for graded stakes winners. The actual purse turned out to be $615,000 because the winner, the locally based Researcher, was a Grade 3 winner. Now, the purse is a guaranteed $1 million for all runners.

Although the 2010 lineup closely matches the $2.7 million schedule for the West Virginia track's open stakes program in 2009, some of the money has been swapped around, allowing for significant purse boosts for the two major races for 3-year-olds.

The Red Legend and the Charles Town Oaks both received a $150,000 purse hike and will be worth $400,000 apiece. The seven-furlong races are now the richest sprints for 3-year-olds in the nation.

To help fund the purse increases for the Red Legend and the Oaks, the Charles Town Invitational Dash was reduced from $250,000 to $100,000.

Like in 2009, the 12 open stakes will be bundled into three major event days.

The Classic headlines a card on April 17 that also includes the $250,000 Sugar Maple, the $100,000 Blue and Gold, and the $75,000 Webb Snyder.

The Red Legend is the feature on the June 19 Sprint Festival program which includes three $100,000 stakes: the Dash, the Lady Charles Town, and the Wild and Wonderful.

The Oaks will top a Sept. 18 Race for the Ribbon card which includes the $100,000 Charles Town Juvenile, the $100,000 Miss Shenandoah, and the $75,000 Pink Ribbon.

The schedule for West Virginia Breeders' Classics Night, worth a record $2 million this fall, and all other stakes for West Virginia-breds will be announced later.

Charles Town has been able to significantly raise stakes purses, thanks to the infusion of funds created by more than 5,000 slot machines. Slots generate $39 million annually for the breeding fund and purses.