Charles Town

Randy Funkhouser Passes Away

Raymond Joseph "Randy" Funkhouser, II, a longtime member of the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association (HBPA), passed away Feb. 4. He was 70. Born and raised in Charles Town, West Virginia, Funkhouser returned to Jefferson County after graduating from Stanford University to partner with his mother Ruth and mentor Frank Gall in running O'Sullivan Farms. He was actively involved in the West Virginia Thoroughbred industry and farmland preservation, working tirelessly for decades with legislators and community leaders to protect and enhance the industry in the state. Funkhouser served as...

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The Week in Review: Letruska Belongs in the Classic

Minutes after another easy win by Letruska (Super Saver), this time in the GI Juddmonte Spinster S. Sunday at Keeneland, trainer Fausto Gutierrez told reporters that the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff, and not the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, would be next for his 5-year-old mare. That was hardly a surprise. Gutierrez and German Larrea, the Mexican billionaire businessman who owns the horse, are looking to play it safe. Letruska is simply better than every other filly and mare in the sport and shouldn't have any problem winning the Distaff. The...

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WVRC Chair Wants Charles Town to Switch to Synthetic

Although he stopped short of saying that a surface change at Charles Town Races might soon be mandated by state racing regulators, West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC) chairman Ken Lowe Jr. made it clear during Tuesday's meeting that he will be advocating for a synthetic surface to replace the traditional dirt that comprises the track's six-furlong oval. Lowe's Apr. 20 comments came against the backdrop of 11 equine fatalities at Charles Town so far in 2021. The track is closed for racing Wednesday through Saturday this week to perform maintenance...

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Live Racing at Charles Town Cancelled Through Nov. 14

Live racing has been cancelled at Charles Town through Nov. 14 after two jockeys tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the track intends to apply for additional days with the West Virginia Racing Commission. Those days would be Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16. Live racing is currently slated to resume Nov. 19.

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Two Odds-On, Length-of-Stretch Charles Town Winners DQ'd for Class 1 Positives

Two odds-on favorites who won their respective races by 15 1/2 and 7 1/2 lengths at Charles Town Sept. 17 have subsequently been disqualified after both tested positive for the widely abused-in-humans synthetic opioid fentanyl and eutylone, the street-drug stimulant known as "bath salts." The Charles Town board of stewards, however, is citing "substantial mitigating factors" and terming both "trace level" cases as "environmental contamination" that will spare both horses' trainers from steep Class 1, Category A penalties. The explanation, according to a pair of West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC)...

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Mountaineer Adds 12 Dates; Charles Town Drops 10

Mountaineer Park will be adding 12 dates to its current race meet while Charles Town will drop 10 programs. Both moves were approved Sept. 17 via telephonic meeting of the West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC). "The action that causes this was the cancellation of the West Virginia Derby card," WVRC executive director Joe Moore explained to commissioners prior to the 3-0 approval vote for the Mountaineer increase, which will tack on the dozen programs between Dec. 6 and 23. "Now the $500,000 approved for the West Virginia Derby cannot be...

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Tonalist's Shape Foregoes Lilies for CT Oaks

Dual graded winner Tonalist's Shape (Tonalist) bypassed the Sept. 4 GI Kentucky Oaks in favor of running in Friday's GIII Charles Town Oaks. Victorious in the GIII Forward Gal S. and GII Davona Dale S. in February at Gulfstream, the chestnut was off the board as the favorite behind leading Oaks contender Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) in the GII Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks Mar. 28. Returning to winning ways in Hollywood Wildcat S. in Hallandale May 15, she was fourth last time in the nine-panel GI CCA Oaks in Saratoga July...

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West Virginia Tracks to Open May 14

During his Thursday press briefing, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that the state's racetracks will resume racing May 14. No spectators will be allowed to attend the races. "In regard to horse racing, on May 14 we will start spectator-less, without people, horse racing," Justice said. "It will be able to resume at that time. It takes a couple of weeks of active training and conditioning before it's safe for the horses, so they will be starting back very, very soon in preparation for us to have spectator-less horse...

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2020 MATCH Series Canceled

The 2020 edition of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series (MATCH) had been canceled due to the ongoing uncertainty of racing schedules and concerns about purse money due to the coronavirus. The series was set to debut with races split between Laurel and Charles Town Apr. 8. "Obviously, we are all disappointed, but it was the right thing to do", said MATCH Series creator and THA Chairman Alan M. Foreman. "No one wanted to compromise the quality of the event and the brand we are building. MATCH is a luxury, and...

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Charles Town Suspends Live Racing

Charles Town has suspended its live racing program following West Virginia Governor Jim Justice's statewide "stay at home" order which will shut down non-essential businesses as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. The track will remain open in the mornings for horsemen on the grounds to continue with light training. As of Monday evening, West Virginia had 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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Maybe Wicked Retired

Stakes winner Maybe Wicked (Mizzen Mast--Something Wicked, by Chimes Band) has been retired from racing, breeder and co-owner Oscar Benavides announced Sunday. Trained by Brad Cox, the 5-year-old mare won last year's West Virginia Secretary of State S. On the board in eight of 15 lifetime starts, she retires with five wins and earnings of $250,283. "She will have a very deserved rest to start next year's breeding season," Benavides's Montesacro Farm tweeted. "Thanks for all the support she received during her career and thanks to our partner Alejandro Machado...

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Charles Town Resumes Racing Friday; Classic Postponed

Charles Town will resume live racing Friday and has postponed the Apr. 18 GII Charles Town Classic, which will be rescheduled on a not yet determined date. With Charles Town's reopening will come new steps to ensure the safety of its personnel and racing participants as the property will be closed entirely to the general public until further notice. The grandstand will be closed for all simulcast and live wagering and not available to anyone other than essential track and West Virginia Racing Commission personnel needed to conduct the live...

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