West Virginia Horse Racing Takes Spotlight This Weekend In The Mountain State

Written By Dave Bontempo on July 28, 2021 - Last Updated on July 31, 2021

While the PGA pauses, Olympics, MLB and NFL betting heats up, but Mountain State bettors are savoring a different luxury they can afford — and even handicap.

West Virginia horse racing has two live thoroughbred race meets running more than 300 days per year. One facility produced a whopping $41,722 payout (more on that below) in a race last Saturday.

Mountaineer Casino Race Track & Resort in New Cumberland runs most Sundays through Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races operates live Thursday-Saturday cards at 7 p.m.

Both have WV sportsbooks on the premises.

Online gamblers can also access the action via TVG.

Mountain State bettors have the best of both racing worlds. They can gamble on big afternoon races like Saturday’s $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes from Saratoga, in which Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality is considered the early favorite.

They can also play West Virginia’s live and occasionally lucrative evening tracks.

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Superfecta Slam At Charles Town Races

On July 24, Charles Town delivered a $1 superfecta worth $41,722 in the sixth race.

It’s part of what makes “Charlie’s Town,” as nationwide bettors affectionately dub this facility, a treasure trove of hidden gems. Long shots are live.

In this race, Northern Ridge at 10-1 came from dead last, like almost-in-Maryland last, to circle the field and win down the stretch. Pistol P, the 2-1 second choice, finished second.

Westbury Estates, at 22-1, was third, and I Got a Brother, 30-1, completed the superfecta, which paid “telephone numbers.”

What is the breeding ground for a potentially large betting score?

  • Start with big fields. This one had nine, a good avenue for multiple-betting entries and good prices.
  • Unique variables: The distance was 1 1/16 miles, which constitutes two turns at most race tracks. At Charles Town, this race had three. The front-runners were there for two turns but faded around the third.
  • Pace considerations: Here, it was too hot. There was a speed duel up in the front, and the leaders tired. That enabled two of the long shots, Northern Ridge and Westbury Estates, to hit the board.

Pistol P ran a smart stalking race to stay second, and I Got a Brother forced the early duel and faded but held onto fourth at huge betting odds.

How A Bettor Might Stumble Into Fortune

There was no way to predict that these would be the top four horses. But somebody hit the big one. How do you give yourself such a chance?

A couple of things must fall into place.

  1. The favorite has to run out of the money.

And that’s what happened here. Just Gets Better, the 9-5 pre-race choice, was locked up in the speed duel with I Got a Brother. He faded out of the money late.

Pistol P, the 2-1 second choice, finished second and was a good selection to place the superfecta bet around.

  1. You have to sprinkle the right long shots around a key horse.

This means taking a $1 trifecta or superfecta “key,” a horse that you can put in the first or second position, and hoping that long shots fill in the other spaces.

There was nothing to indicate that Northern Ridge (fifth, seventh and ninth in his recent races) would suddenly win. Especially when he had to come from dead last to do it at Charles Town.

But if you trusted 2-1 shot Pistol P to finish in the top two and assembled several underdogs around him, you might have “backed into” a payday.

Pistol P finished second to the 10-1 winner. A 22-1 shot followed him across the line third, and a 30-1 shot was fourth.

For $48, a big-budget bettor could have “keyed” Pistol P in the first and second position with four additional horses in the $1 superfecta wager. Expensive, but this one paid.

For $24, you could have put him first and second with three horses for the $1 superfecta, but that’s even tougher to hit.

For $12, you can key any horse first and second with three other horses in a $1 trifecta. In this case, that paid $526.10.

Budgets determine when bettors can take a stab. Avoid a big investment if you believe two short-priced horses will finish in the Top 3.

Betting At Charles Town Races

Names to watch at Charles Town:


  • Arnaldo Bocachica
  • Dennis Araujo
  • Fredy Peltroche
  • Gerald Almodovar
  • Antonio Lopez

Top trainers include:

  • Jeff Runco
  • Anthony Farrior
  • Ronney Brown

When you see a top jockey riding for a top trainer, give that horse additional respect.

Mark The Calendar

Next weekend, on Aug. 7, Mountaineer has a rare Saturday afternoon card and its signature race, the $500,000 West Virginia Derby.

Photo by Seth Wenig / The 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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