About Mountaineer Park Racetrack
The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort wouldn’t exist today without the efforts of Al Boyle,
who spearheaded the building of Waterford Park (opened 1951) near Chester, West Virginia. But
the racetrack’s eventual conversion into the Mountaineer racino complex is credited for elevating
the level of thoroughbred racing to where it stands today.
The West Virginia Derby (nine furlongs, dirt, 3-year-olds) certainly benefited from the installation of
slot machines in 1994. The Derby was first run at Tri State Park in 1923 before reappearing at
Waterford Park in 1963, but lay dormant through much of the ‘80s and ‘90s until the slots started
bringing in revenue. By 2002, the Derby had earned Grade 3 status and was bumped up to its
current Grade 2 in 2009, with the purse steadily increasing to $750,000.
Mountaineer Park has a one-mile dirt oval and a seven-furlong turf course, both with a slight curve
down the front stretch. Aside from the increased Derby purse, Mountaineer Park has shelled out
for one of the busiest thoroughbred racing calendars in the country with over 200 dates on the
Easily the biggest date on the calendar: the first Saturday in August, when Mountaineer runs nine
of its 13 annual stakes races with the West Virginia Derby (the track’s only graded stakes) as the
main event. The richest purse for the non-graded stakes was $200,000 for the West Virginia
Governor's Stakes (8.5 furlongs, dirt, 3-years-olds and up); all the rest were for $100,000.