02/04/2004 12:00AM

Mountaineer: Seven stakes in a day

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The first Saturday in August will be the biggest racing day of the season at Mountaineer Racetrack.

A program featuring seven stakes, highlighted by the 35th running of the Grade 3, $600,000 West Virginia Derby, is scheduled for Aug. 7. The stakes package on that card will be worth $1.12 million - or more than 40 percent of the $2.64 million stakes schedule for the entire 2004 season.

In addition to the West Virginia Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, Mountaineer's premier racing card will include the $100,000 West Virginia Governor's Handicap at 1 1/16 miles and five other stakes worth $85,000 apiece.

Besides the West Virginia Derby and the Governor's Handicap, the only other six-figure stakes is the $100,000 Mountaineer Mile on Nov. 13.

Seven of the track's 28 stakes at the meet will be contested on turf, including two of the three stakes on the July 4 holiday program. In addition to a pair of one-mile grass races, the Independence Day Handicap and the Firecracker Handicap, the Fourth of July card will also feature the Mountain State Handicap, a six-furlong sprint on the main track.

There will be two stakes apiece on both the Memorial Day and Labor Day holiday programs.