It’s derby time in West Virginia

The attention of fans of thoroughbred racing around the world will be directed toward Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort for today’s 49th running of the West Virginia Derby.

The derby, a grade III event which carries a purse of $500,000, will be contested as part of a nine-race afternoon that will begin at 2 p.m. Included on the card is the grade III Governor’s Stakes, which will carry a purse of $200,000.

The biggest horse race of the year in West Virginia, and each year attracts a full field that includes some of the top horses in the country.

It’s come a long way from the first running on April 21, 1923, when the derby was held at Tri-State Fairgrounds near Barboursville. A gelding named Tender Seth claimed the first crown and collected a purse of $2,265.

Maybe even more important than the racing, however, is that the event gives Mountaineer, and the Northern Panhandle, a chance to show off the many amenities our region has to offer. It attracts thousands of fans to the Chester facility, with many more watching on television around the country.

The race offers a chance to show off the facilities at Mountaineer and to shine a positive light on the Tri-State Area. It’s continued success is a tribute to the men and women who work hard to bring quality entertainment to our region.