When Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races concluded its live racing season on Saturday night, and with an all-sources handle of $2,207,509 thanks to the first mandatory payout of the Charles Town 6-12, the track also accomplished another feat: a new record for wagering volume per race for the fourth consecutive year.
The $147,818 wagered per race at Charles Town in 2018 represents a 6.5% increase over the previous record high of $138,821 set last year. Additionally, handle generated for each $1 in purses paid increased to $8.13, a spike of 4.2% versus 2017. All told, since 2009 alone, wagering per race has increased by more than 75% while pari-mutuel handle per dollar in purses paid has increased 93.7%.
“Setting new benchmarks for wagering in four straight years is an accomplishment everyone associated with our program and racing in West Virginia should be proud of,” said Vice President of Racing and Sports Operations Erich Zimny. “It's incredibly gratifying to see the commitment of the individuals on our team as well as the relationships with our business partners lead to collective success.
“Charlie McIntosh and his team in the racing office do a great job and without people from the gate crew, jockeys' room, track maintenance and mutuels pulling in the same direction, it wouldn't be possible.”
For the first time in his career, Arnaldo Bocachica ended the year on top of the jockey standings at Charles Town by both wins and earnings. Winning at a near 30% clip in 2018, Bocachica's 159 winners from 557 starts allowed him to bank $2,619,432 in earnings over the course of the year.
For the thirteenth consecutive year, Jeff Runco took the top spot in the trainer standings by saddling 125 winners at Charles Town – 22 more than runner-up Ronney Brown. Charles Town's perennial top two conditioners were far clear of Tim Grams, who found the winners circle 57 times in 2018.
On April 21, Charles Town hosted the 10th running of its biggest race, the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. The race would feature the eventual winners of New York's only two Win & You're In races for the Breeders' Cup Classic in Whitney winner Diversify and Jockey Club Gold Cup victor Discreet Lover. Despite the presence of the two Grade 1 winners, Stronach Stables Something Awesome dug in late to hold off War Story and pull off a 9.30-to-1 upset in West Virginia's richest race.
Charles Town's 2019 racing season kicks off on Friday, January 4, with post time for the first race scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Currently, there are 164 live days scheduled at Charles Town for 2019 with the $1 million Charles Town Classic scheduled for April 20.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.