Racing year may be shortened at Mountaineer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Racing Commission could decide later this week whether to shorten the racing year at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort by 14 days.

The commission has scheduled a special meeting for 2 p.m. Friday to consider Mountaineer’s request to reduce the number of thoroughbred racing days from 210 to 196.

Mountaineer’s controversial request is one of four items on the meeting agenda, said acting commission Executive Director John Myers.

Also pending before the commission is a request from Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to shorten its racing calendar by 22 days, he said.

Mountaineer’s request, which would essentially end December racing at the Newell track, comes at a time of smaller purse funds and growing competition from racetrack casinos in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The proposal is endorsed by the Mountaineer Park Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

At Friday’s meeting, the racing commission will consider, and possibly vote on, a written opinion issued by hearing examiner Jeff Blaydes, Myers said.

“They may decide to take another look at it. There’s no guarantee of a final ruling, but that is one possible outcome,” he said.

Blaydes’ opinion will not be made available to the public until the day of the meeting, Myers said.