“That was great,” he said. “If they can do that in Maryland, I’d like to do that in West Virginia.”
The first running of the West Virginia Breeders Classics followed, in 1987. And soon, the event, restricted to horses bred or sired in West Virginia, became the highlight of Charles Town’s fall racing calendar.
In the nearly 30 years since, the Classics have generated some $25 million in purses for the Mountain State’s thoroughbred horsemen. They’ve raised thousands more for state and local charitable organizations. And they’ve netted immeasurable goodwill and positive publicity for racing and breeding in West Virginia.
The event has grown from five races — with total purses of less than $250,000 — to a nine-race card that’s broadcast live on HRTV and Comcast Mid-Atlantic and in which the featured Classic itself has a purse of $500,000.
And it’s more than just a day at the races. The event also includes a gala dinner, a Breakfast of Champions, and a golf tournament.