11/12/2010 7:19PM

Webb Snyder among seven new inductees to Charles Town Hall of Fame


Webb Snyder, 97, one of the original 150 members of the Jockeys’ Guild and a rider at the Charles Town’s inaugural meet in 1933, is among the seven newest members to Charles Town’s Hall of Fame.

Five former riders, track workers, and racing officials, along with two horses, will be honored at the track on Dec. 4, joining 18 other members with ties to the West Virginia track who were inducted in the first two classes.

In addition to Snyder, the other inductees are former riders Scotty Prain, Joe Servis , and Phil Grove; long-time chart caller Bobby Via, and horses Jiva Coolit and Pooch.

Snyder, who will turn 98 in January, was named to ride seven horses on the first-ever card at Charles Town on Dec. 2, 1933, but was delayed by a snow storm while traveling from Rockingham Park in New Hampshire and missed the card. He rode from 1933 to 1952, then spent 14 years as an outrider at Charles Town. A race on the Charles Town Classic, the Webb Snyder Stakes, is named in his honor.

Prain was a regular rider at Charles Town throughout the 1930s and 1940s.  After retiring, he held various positions around the track in the racing office and jockeys’ room.

Grove spent 13 of his 29 years as a jockey riding at Charles Town and neighboring Shenandoah Downs. He rode the 3,500th winner of his career at Charles Town in 1992, and had 3,991 winners in a career that ended in 1997. He now serves as a steward for the Maryland Jockey Club.

 Servis started his racing career as a jockey, winning more than 500 races. Later, he worked as manager for the Jockeys’ Guild before serving as a Charles Town steward for nearly 25 years. Two of his sons, Jason and John Servis, are now trainers.

Via graduated from Charles Town High School and spent 30 years as one of the top chart callers in the country.  He was employed by Daily Racing Form and worked many different meets around the country, but spent the bulk of his career at Charles Town before retiring in the late 1990s.

Jiva Coolit, trained by Frank Smith, was one of the top sprinters in the region in the 1970s. He won 39 races and $340,000 during his career and for many years held the track record for six furlongs at Penn National with a time of 1:08.80.

Pooch, trained by Elwood Kirk, was a consistent runner who made at least 10 starts every year during a long career while racing from 1950 to 1960. He won 47 of 209 starts, including one streak of 11 straight races.