Instead of bettors, unemployment officials will be populating the grandstand today in Charles Town, W.Va.
The track, which had been in operation for 61 years, closed its doors for live racing cards yesterday and now faces an uncertain future. The current owners say they are losing too much money and will not apply for dates in 1995. An effort to boost business with a video lottery was rebuffed by voters on Nov. 8.
Virginia horseman Sam Huff, who founded the West Virginia Breeders Classic, vows that he will get a group together to buy the track and reopen it next year.
However, Paul Espinosa, media relations director at Charles Town, said, "Right now there are no offers and we know of none forthcoming."
The asking price for the track is reported to be $13 million.
Espinosa said about 500 track employees will now be out of work. Another 500 workers are estimated to take care of the horses on the backstretch. The stable area and track will be open for training until Wednesday. Horsemen and management had been set to sign a contract that could keep the barn area open through Dec. 31 and possibly until March 15, but so far that agreement has not been signed.
Foxie G. wins at Laurel
Foxie G., the 3-year-old gelding who failed to be sold at a Timonium auction last weekend, won the $32,350 Snow King Stakes at Laurel yesterday in near-track-record time.
The horse rallied from off the pace and exploded in the stretch, winning the five-furlong race in :57 2/5, two-fifths of a second off the track mark set in 1980 by Dave's Friend.
Trainer Dale Capuano had hoped Foxie G. would bring $100,000 at last weekend's auction. But after X-rays showed the horse had an old bone chip in one knee, bidding only reached $48,000 and the horse was returned to his barn.