Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

When is Charles Town racing open?

  • Wednesday through Saturday, 7:00pm ET
    • Special runnings at 12:30pm ET

West Virginia horse racing, not far from the country's capital of Washington, D.C., boasts of the Charles Town Classic event in addition to the Race for the Ribbon and West Virginia Breeders Classics.

About Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races:

Since it was founded in 1933, the race track at Charles Town has seen and made history. During its
75-plus-year run, the track has welcomed historical figures, teetered on the brink of collapse, and re-emerged as a premiere gaming and entertainment facility.

Founded by Albert Boyle as The Shenandoah Jockey Club, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races became America’s first winter race meet upon the opening its doors in December of 1933. Boyle spent $160,000 - a huge sum during the height of the Depression - to build the facility.

The Boyles had bet that Charles Town would draw crowds as the only northern track to hold races during the winter season, and they were
right. Even with freezing temperatures and odds being calculated by slide rule, the grandstand overflowed. Train service from Baltimore boosted attendance, and the track continued to thrive through World War II.

Jockey Bill Hartack launched his Hall of Fame career at Charles Town in 1952. He rode 24 winners during the 19- day winter meet. He went on to win 4,277 races, including the Kentucky Derby five times, the Preakness three times and the Belmont once.

In 1960, the Charles Town grandstand and clubhouse were completely enclosed and heated. J. Edgar Hoover was a regular visitor to the track, and on April 27, 1960, John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, made an appearance at a democratic rally during his campaign for Presidency.

More racing headlines were made in 1969 when 19 -year-old Barbara Jo Rubin rode into history at Charles Town, becoming the first female jockey to win a pari-mutuel race in the United States. Forty years later, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races would honor Rubin by inducting her into its Racing Hall of Fame.

Later, the facility established a record crowd, when 21,480 patrons packed Charles Town to watch the Sugar Ray Leonard- Thomas Hearns boxing match on closed circuit television.

The Charles Town track was sold to Shenandoah Corporation in 1972, which closed the competing track, Shenandoah Downs in 1975. Year-round racing was moved to Charles Town and was followed by the introduction of live Sunday cards in 1979.

During the 1990s, purses fell, leading to dwindling attendance and fewer high-caliber horses. The track’s future was in serious doubt; as recently as 1996, observers feared the facility would close. Then, during the fall of 1996, voters approved video lottery machines at Charles Town. Penn National Gaming agreed to purchase the facility in 1997, and immediately began a $175,000,000 upgrade of the venue.

Following the purchase by Penn National Gaming, new barns were built and old barns were repaired. Longshots, a multi-million dollar simulcast center, was unveiled in January 1998 and live racing was back on track. Over the following decade, Penn invested even more money with the addition of new gaming areas, an indoor parking garage, numerous dining options including the expansive Epic Buffet, and the Inn at Charles Town, which opened in the fall of 2008. The Inn at Charles Town offers first class amenities including wireless internet, 42-inch Plasma HD televisions, complimentary breakfast and shuttle service to the race track and gaming floor.

Address: 750 Hollywood Dr.Charles Town, WV 25414

Charlestown Racing Stakes Schedule

18-AprCharles Town Classic (G2)$1,000,000
18-AprDance to Bristol S.$150,000
18-AprRobert Hilton Memorial$100,000
18-AprRussell Road S.$100,000
18-AprBook Review S.$100,000
18-AprCoin Collector S. (WV)$75,000
18-AprIt's Binn Too Long S. (WV)$75,000
18-AprConfucius Say S. (WV)$75,000
18-AprOriginal Gold S. (WV)$75,000
9-MayIt's Only Money S. (WV)$75,000
16-MayFancy Buckles S. (WV)$75,000
15-AugRobert G. Leavitt S. (WV)$75,000
22-AugSylvia Bishop Memorial (WV)$75,000
19-SepCharles Town Oaks (G3)$300,000
19-SepDickie Moore S.$100,000
19-SepMisty Bennett Pink Ribbon S.$100,000
19-SepHenry Mercer Memorial (WV)$75,000
19-SepRachel's Turn (WV)$75,000
19-SepSadie Hawkins S. (WV)$75,000
19-SepFrank Gall Memorial (WV)$75,000
10-OctWest Virginia Breeders' ClassicTBA
10-OctWV Cavada Breeders' ClassicTBA
10-OctWV Breeders' Classic DistaffTBA
10-OctWV WVTBA Onion Juice Breeders' ClassicTBA
10-OctWV Division of Tourism Breeders' ClassicTBA
10-OctWV Lottery Breeders' ClassicTBA
10-OctWV Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders' ClassicTBA
10-OctWV Moscarelli Memorial Breeders' ClassicTBA
10-OctWV Dash for Cash Breeders' ClassicTBA
31-OctWest Virginia Futurity (WV)$50,000
7-NovA Huevo S. (WV)$75,000
14-NovMy Sister Pearl S. (WV)$75,000
28-NovEleanor Casey Memorial (WV)$75,000