Horse racing has been a staple in West Virginia since as far back as the 1930s. It all started in 1933 when the Charles Town Turf Club opened for business and pari-mutuel gambling began.
Soon after, in 1937, another track opened at Wheeling Downs and horse racing became a large part of the community in the Mountain State.
Despite things being quite different in 2019, which includes a strong WV sports betting industry, horse racing still lives on in WV and there are plenty of residents who are very much interested in thoroughbred racing.
Let’s take a look at the horse racing schedule in WV for 2019 and when the big events will be taking place at West Virginia’s two thoroughbred racetracks:
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
The track at Charles Town Races is probably the most famous in the state because of some of the marquee racing events held there. Each year, the venue holds the Charles Town Classic, along with several other notable stakes races.
Live thoroughbred racing is provided year-round and there is also simulcast wagering available for a number of tracks around the country.
Racing is offered every Wednesday through Saturday from January through April. In May, the schedule changes to just Thursday through Saturday.
The post time is 7 p.m. for every race day with the exception of special events on April 20 and September 21.
There are a total of 164 live racing days at Charles Town Races.
Special events include the aforementioned Charles Town Classic day on April 20. This is the richest horse race on dirt in the US for older horses besides the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup. Post is at 12:30 p.m. and there are 13 races that day.
Twelve races will be held on Sept. 21 for Race for the Ribbon day. Post time will be 5 p.m. for this event. The track will also host the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics XXXIII on October 12. There will be a regular 7 p.m. post that day.
The track holds several high-stakes races, too. In addition to the Charles Town Classic, horse racing fans can look for the Dance to Bristol S. and the Robert Hilton Memorial races have purses worth six figures. Both races take place on April 6.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
The other place to be for live horse racing in WV is the Mountaineer Racetrack. Live racing events for 2019 begin on Sunday, April 28. However, there is simulcast racing available during the entire year and the casino even provides an OTB section on its main casino gaming floor.
Like Charles Town, Mountaineer’s track is open mostly on Sunday through Wednesday each week, with some Saturday exceptions.
Once the season begins, live races will be held every Sunday through Wednesday until December 4. All post times are 7 p.m. except for special events.
There are a total of 130 live racing days in 2019 at Mountaineer.
The two special event days take place on Saturday, May 4, and Saturday, August 3. Look for an early post time of 2 p.m. on Aug. 3 for the West Virginia Derby.
Sports betting on the horses in WV
All five of WV casinos have sportsbooks that accept wagers on horse races. In addition to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, players can also bet on the horses at the other WV sportsbooks:
Additionally, there are several online horse betting apps available for WV residents. Unfortunately, WV’s only mobile sports betting app, BetLuckly Sportsbook is not one of them. A complete list of available horse racing betting apps is available in our WV guide to horse racing.