West Virginia Horseracing

Horseracing in West Virginia is promoted and regulated by the West Virginia Racing Commission. Live racing is conducted in two thoroughbred tracks, namely:

  • Hollywood Casino @ Charles Town Races located in Charles Town
  • Mountaineer Racetrack & Resort located in Chester

West Virginia is also home to two greyhound tracks - Mardi Gras Casino and Resort located in Cross Lanes and Wheeling Island Casino and Resort located in Wheeling.

Betting on horseracing began in West Virginia in 1933. Charles Town Turf Club was opened in the town of the same name (not to be confused with Charlestown, the State Capitol) adjacent to the Maryland and Virginia borders.

In 1937, Wheeling Downs was opened between the Pennsylvania and Ohio borders.

In 1951, about 50 miles north of Wheeling Downs, Waterford Park, opened in Chester. To this day, Waterford Park is still the only mile track and turf course in West Virginia.

Shenandoah Downs, located near the Charles Town Turf Club, was the last horseracing track built in West Virginia.

By the late sixties, Wheeling Downs abandoned horseracing in favor of harness racing. By 1975, Wheeling Downs discontinued harness racing and shifted to greyhound racing.

Shenandoah Downs permanently closed its doors on January 3, 1979, after 19 years of operation.

In 1987, Waterford Park changed hands and was renamed Mountaineer Park. Mountaineer Park Management then convinced the state to allow them to have Video Lottery Terminals for a trial period.

The experiment proved a success! By 1994, slot machines were legalized in West Virginia and the concept for Racinos (portmanteau of racing and casino) was born.

West Virginia Horseracing Tracks

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Horseracing Tracks