Mountaineer concludes season, plans for 2014

CHESTER – Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort will conclude its live racing season tonight and tomorrow, 10-race cards. The first post each evening will be 7 p.m.

The 210-day season was originally scheduled to conclude on Dec. 20. But postponements caused by inclement weather necessitated an extension into the final weekend of the year.

With three race dates remaining in the season, Mountaineer’s live cards had generated an all-sources wagering handle of $244.9 million. The simulcasts of imported races from other tracks had generated an additional $8.45 million in wagers. The purse distribution totaled $26.15 million, of which 92.29 percent had been awarded via overnight races.

“For a small track in West Virginia’s northern panhandle, we generate some good numbers,” said Rose Mary Williams, director of racing at Mountaineer. “Our total wagering handle is up two percent from last year. We’ve run over 1,900 races in 2013, and have averaged better than 8.1 starters per race.

“We also want everyone to be aware that we will be making a change in our 2014 live season, which will begin on March 1,” Williams said. “We’ll again offer 210 race cards. But they will occur from Saturdays through Wednesdays. Friday evening cards will be eliminated. Wednesday evening cards will take their place.”

Mountaineer officials believe that Wednesday cards will generate more wagering than Friday evening offerings. Nine races per card will be offered through Sept. 30. Ten races per card will be offered from October 1 through the scheduled close of the 2014 season on Dec. 20.

There will be no racing on Easter Sunday. The Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby, which again will highlight a card comprised entirely of open stakes, has been scheduled for Aug. 2. It will be Mountaineer’s only afternoon card of the season, with a first post of 2 p.m.

The track will be closed for training from Mondaythrough Jan. 12. Training will resume Jan. 13 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through the remainder of the month. A more extensive training schedule (details to be announced) will be in place beginning on Feb. 1.

Closing Week Notes:

The 23 -length score by Destiny’s Ahead in Thursday’s third race, a maiden event at six furlongs for $5,000 claimers, was the largest margin of victory in any Mountaineer race this season. Sent off as the 2-1 second choice under jockey

Andrew Ramgeet in the field of 10, the four-year-old filly went to the front midway through the far turn and widened her lead from thereon. It was the ninth career start for Destiny’s Ahead, from which she has also gained a pair of placings.

Through Thursday, Deshawn L. Parker had achieved 200 victories at Mountaineer in 2013, assuring him of another jockey title at the Hancock County track. Second position in the standings will go to Christian P. Pilares, who had achieved 182 wins. Parker was named to ride nine races on Friday, eight today and six on Sunday: Pilares was named in nine, eight and six of the races on those cards respectively.

The win ratio for Parker at Mountaineer this season has been 23 percent from 868 mounts. Pilares has a win ratio of 15.8 percent from 1,150 mounts.

While post-time favorites have won 38.9 percent of the races at Mountaineer this season, the average payoff for a two-dollar win ticket has been a lucrative $11.61. The average payoff for a winning two-dollar perfecta ticket has been $75.77.