08/16/2010 1:26PM

Purses cut for W. Va. Breeders Classic program

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Purses for eight of the nine races on this year’s West Virginia Breeders Classic program at Charles Town have been substantially reduced because of less available slots money.

In contrast to last fall, when a record $2 million in purses was available, the 24th annual West Virginia Breeders Classic program on Oct. 16 will be worth $1.3 million, a drop of $700,000.

The featured Classic at 1 1/8 miles retains its $500,000 purse, but the value of the Cavada for fillies and mares was sliced in half to $250,000. Seven other supporting stakes, formerly $140,000 apiece, will be worth $75,000 this year. Two years ago, West Virginia Breeders Classic purses totaled $1.87 million.

Carol Holden, president of West Virginia Breeders Classic Ltd, explained the purse cuts were necessary as a result of a decrease in slots wagering. The purse money for the Breeders Classic races comes from an account overseen by the West Virginia Racing Commission, not from the general purse fund used for overnight and other stakes races at Charles Town.

"While it's a big drop from 2009, it wasn't long ago anything over $1 million was fantastic," Holden said.

She pointed out that in 1987, the Classic was worth $100,000 and four other stakes races were $25,000 each. The card had to be filled with three open company races.