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Racetrack Diaries

Mountaineer Park


August 7, 2004-West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park. This is one track that is out in the middle of nowwhere. It is sandwiched in between Ohio and Pennslyvania. It took about 6 hours to get here from New Jersey and I also went to Wheeling Downs (a dog track with slots) and my girlfiend actually won some money there too. We also wet to the Pro Foorball Hall Of Fame and some other places as well. 

If you do decide to ever come out to visit the track, the best bet it to actually stay in the hotel with the track. I ended up having to drive like 25 miles away and stayed in Ohio. The  hotel and a huge slot area are on the other side of the track. Plenty of places to eat and over 3,500 slots and the place was packed with people plucking coins into the machines. There is nothing else to do out in this area unless you like gold and strip clubs ha ha. 

The purses are insane with the slots and the track is a one mile course with a turf course as well. The track grandstand area isn't bad and they had a nice outside area to sit and watch the races. You couldn't get near the jockeys at all, which sucked as I wanted to meet Dodie Duys. 

Post time was 2pm with the Derby being shown on ESPN. The crowd was fairly big, but no too big where you feel you were being stuffed. 

Race 1 was an allowance race going 6 furlongs with a purse of $47,800 for 3 year olds. I decide to play a $1 exacta box with the #1 horse who is shipping in from Churchill Downs and the #5 with leading jockey Dana Whitney. My 2 horses are nowhere to be found and the #6 comes in followed by the #3 and pays $88.40 for an exacta. 

Race #2 is a stakes race with a purse of $85,000 going 6 furlongs. Elibar Coa is in today to ride and he is on a nice horse so I put him on top with the 8 horse and play a straight $3 exacta and a Penn National horse with Trainer John Zimmerman and jockey Thomas Clifton beat me.

Race #3 is another $85,000 stake race going 6 1/2 furlongs. With only a 6 horse field I play a trifecta and an exacta. Eibar Coa has another good live mount and I use him on the #1 and I play Trainer John Zimmerman's horse in a combo with #2 horse and the #2 comes off the pace and Chad Murphy just nips out the #1 at the wire and I hit the exacta for $17.80, but not the trifecta. 

Race #4 is another $85, 000 stake race going 1 mile on the turf. I see  Philadelphia Park jockey Harry Vega is in to ride a horse shipping from Monmouth, so I throw $5 to win on him. Harry gets 2nd as the #10 comes and beats him a photo, topping a $45 exacta. 

Race #5 is yet another $85,000 stake race again going 1 mile on the turf. I see Harry Vega is again in this race and I put in there along with the #9 in a $4 exacta straight. I collect as I get a great ride from Harry as he nips the #9 at the wire and I get back $47.20. Saw Mary Doser as she was out here to ride, but her horse was up there and faded. 

Race #6 is yet another $85,000 pot going 6 furlongs on the main track. With all these out of town riders in to ride, sometimes it is tough making the right choice. I play a 2-7 exacta box with Elibar Coa on a nice horse and back him up with #7 who is shipping in for trainer John Zimmerman from Penn National. The #2 and #7 get in a speed dual and both fade as #1 horses takes advantage of this and crosses the line 1st and I lose. 

Race #7 is the $100,000 West Virginia Governor's Cup, going 1 mile and 1/16th on the main track. Again it is tough when you have all these out of town horses running as you don't know if they will like Chester, WV or not ha ha. I play a 1-6 exacta as I look over and figure #1 looks strong and should not lose the race and throw #6 in there for 2nd. Well, the #6 just nails down my #1 in the last 16th and it pays $20.60 and I am kicking myself  for not boxing it and throwing $2 more dollars into the pot. 

Race #8 is the 35th running of the West Virginia Derby. Grade III going 1 mile and 1/8 on the main track with a purse of $600,000. This on paper was a very easy race for me to figure out. Todd Pletcher shipped in Pollard's Vision with Elibar Coa and I knew he would be in the money. Nicolas Zito is not shipping a horse here unless he thinks he can win so I box both of them in a trifecta. Now I just need a 3rd horse. I decide, since this is out last race before we go to play a 3/7 3/7 with 6 and a 3/7/ 3/7 with 8. The race goes off as I expect with Coa up there and the #7 coming flying at the last furlong to nip Pollard's Vision and I collect the trifecta and the exacta. I great ride by Rafael Bejarano and after the race we go over to the winner's circle to watch the roses get put on the horse and the trophy presentation. After I get my money I head over to the gift shop, get some goodies and then head out on the roads for a nice 7 hour ride home.

See ya at the races.

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