09/09/2011 2:23PM

Charles Town to cut exotic takeouts


Charles Town plans to reduce the takeout on trifecta, superfecta, pick three, and pick four wagers from 25 percent to 22 percent, effective Sept. 17.

Approval for the change was granted by the Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the West Virginia Racing Commission at the commission’s meeting Friday morning.

According to the track, the reductions are the first in the 78-year history of Charles Town. The 3-percent cut represents a 12 percent decrease in the cost of the exotic wagers.

“We’ve listened to our customers, weighed the risks and rewards for our business, and arrived at this decision,” said Erich Zimny, the track’s director of racing operations. “Cutting the price of two-thirds of the exotics we offer by a double-digit percentage is both significant and, at a minimum, a step in the right direction.”

The 22-percent takeout on the exotic wagers may give Charles Town a competitive edge over its neighbors in the mid-Atlantic region. The only other regional track with a takeout that low is Colonial Downs in Virginia, which operates a summer meet in June and July, offering an identical 22-percent takeout on exotic bets.

Zimny indicated that the track will watch the impact the reduced takeout has on handle before making any decision to expand the program to win, place, show, daily double, and exacta wagers.

“We believe this will be popular with our customers now, but we’re also trying to gather information to make the correct long term business decisions,” Zimney said. “If our customers respond positively and these pools increase substantially, further reductions are certainly on the table, but that’s something we have to see play out in practice first.”

The first night bettors will be able to play the Charles Town card with the reduced takeout rates coincides with the track’s third annual Race for the Ribbon event, which features six stakes, highlighted by the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks, the richest sprint in the country for 3-year-old fillies.