West Virginia Horse Racing Scene Takes Off For The 2022 Season

Written By Dave Bontempo on April 14, 2022 - Last Updated on February 6, 2023
WV horse racing

Mountain State bettors enjoy a unique horse racing menu.

Besides gambling on their apps, they reside in one of the few states with nearly year-round live thoroughbred action.

Starting next week, West Virginia’s two major tracks (Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Park in New Cumberland) will operate simultaneously, albeit on different nights.

Charles Town is racing now, primarily Wednesday through Saturday nights.

Mountaineer Park launches its live season next Monday.

After its April 18 opening, Mountaineer runs next Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. Once it completes 17 May dates, it settles into a June-November string of running every Sunday through Wednesday.

Charles Town will race on most Thursdays-Sundays.

West Virginia bettors thus have the best of two worlds: busy racing circuits that don’t conflict with one another. Bettors view live racing as a nice complement to what’s available on their apps.

Modern-age technology enables them to go to their online device and place a bet to avoid being shut out. This is especially effective at a racetrack to overcome long betting lines.

Bettors can thus use apps to gamble remotely or to avoid being denied a bet at the track.

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How to analyze a WV horse race

You will get to know the Mountaineer circuit. Patterns develop over time.

One will sense which jockeys are hot, which trainers deliver winners, how the track plays with sprints and how it fares in distance races.

Do the favorites run to form? How big are the fields? How good are the payouts if long shots hit the board for the trifecta or superfecta?

Breaking down Charles Town

Leading jockeys:

  • Arnaldo Bocachica, 55 winners, 73% in the money percentage (first, second or third)
  • Marshall Mendez, 46 winners, 54% in the money percentage


Bocachica and Mendez may both surpass the $1 million earnings mark this week. Bocachica entered the week with $996,000 in earnings this season. Mendez is next with $940,000.

Looking for angles: Mendez is listed on seven mounts Wednesday night. Bettors may see that angle, along with any race that has both Mendez and Bocachica listed, as an opportunity.

Leading trainers:

Anthony Farrior leads with 53 winners and $811,000 in earnings. His horses finish in the money 72% of the time. That’s why his entries are often good to key in exactas, trifectas and superfectas.

Ronney Brown is next with 32 winners and $503,000 in earnings. His horses finish in the money 53% of the time.

Farrior and Brown tower above the field.

More info for WV horse bettors

Charles Town often delivers payouts with telephone number digits in big fields during the middle of the week.

And Saturdays offer the best horses available. Owners and trainers try to point their entries toward these dates, which offer the highest purses.

For bettors, big fields offer potentially large payouts. In small fields, the money is usually with the win and exacta lines.

Both tracks operate on May 7, which is Kentucky Derby day. This is a rarity and the only day listed in which the tracks will go head to head with each other.

It makes sense for the tracks to launch 7 p.m. cards on the heels of the Kentucky Derby. Bettors will already be on the premises for the Run for the Roses. It figures that attendance would be reasonable on that evening, too.

Kentucky Derby preview

Major prep races have unfolded over the past two weekends. Some takeaways:

Epicenter labeled himself as a potential favorite with a definitive stretch run and triumph in the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby.

The final one-eighth of a mile at the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby is a major proving ground for the field, and Epicenter has the shortest to stretch out.

Taiba won the Santa Anita Derby in only his second race. That’s a rare and remarkable achievement. He had the put-away surge to look like a special horse.

The Kentucky Derby will be his third race.

Zandon rallied to win the Blue Grass Stakes and will get a good share of Derby betting respect.

Mo Donegal showed he’s the master of New York by capturing the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. He prevailed in a time that was nearly five seconds faster than a similar race at the 1 1/8-mile distance last year at the same track.

Cyberknife continued his evolution with a front-running effort in the Arkansas Derby. In so doing, he repelled Secret Oath, the filly trying to win the first Derby qualifier since the points standard was introduced in 2013.

White Abarrio was the Florida master, winning both the Holy Bull and the Florida Derby. Displaying versatility, he first won the Holy Bull as a front-runner and then the Florida Derby as a stalker.

Photo by David J. Phillip/Associated Press
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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