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WYOMISSING, Pa. -- With the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic (G2) less than two months away, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and Zia Park Racetrack & Casino have reached an agreement to again partner with HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, to provide coverage of the remaining five events in the Penn Gaming Racing Challenge as well as the West Virginia Breeders' Classics.
Similar to what the network aired for the events the previous six years, HRTV will provide coverage, complete with in-studio commentary and analysis by network talent for each of the six event days.
The first of the events arrives on April 19 with the sixth running of the Charles Town Classic. With a purse of $1,500,000, the Charles Town Classic again stands as the richest thoroughbred race in the United States outside of the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup.
The 2011 edition of the Charles Town Classic drew the three eventual finalists for older male and last year's running was taken by Game on Dude who won a half-length decision over both Clubhouse Ride and Ron the Greek. In addition to the Charles Town Classic, the April 19 card also features the $200,000 Sugar Maple presented by CANTER Mid-Atlantic, the $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial presented by Budweiser and $50,000 Webb Snyder Charles Town Dash.
Post time for the first race on Charles Town Classic day will be 5 p.m., with the Classic itself scheduled to go off at 10:30 p.m.
On May 31, the second running of the $500,000 Penn Mile is on tap as part of a card that also includes the $200,000 Mountainview Handicap, $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup and $100,000 Penn Oaks. HRTV covered the 2013 Penn Mile card, which broke virtually all of the standing single-day pari-mutuel wagering records in track history. The inaugural Penn Mile was won by Rydilluc in race that also included graded winners Jack Milton, Noble Tune and Are You Kidding Me.
The first race on Penn Mile day is scheduled at Penn's standard first post of 6:00 p.m.
Next up will be the Charles Town Race for the Ribbon on Sept. 20, which is headlined by the track's newest graded race, the $500,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) won the last two years by Grade 1 winners So Many Ways and Book Review and in 2011 by Strike the Moon over eventual two-time Eclipse Award winner Groupie Doll. The seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-old fillies joins the Test (G1) at Saratoga as the richest race in the country restricted to three-year-old filly sprinters. Additionally, the card has a trio of $100,000 stakes in the Researcher, Wild & Wonderful and Pink Ribbon.
The final two events in the Penn Gaming Racing Challenge take place on Nov. 26.
Zia Park will play host to the second Land of Enchantment Day, highlighted by the second running of the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks as well as the $200,000 Zia Park Derby. Much like Penn Mile day, 2013's inaugural Land of Enchantment day shattered virtually all of the single card wagering records in Zia's history and was punctuated by Unusual Way's dominating six-length victory in New Mexico's richest race for fillies.
Following the races in New Mexico, Penn National takes the spotlight with its Thanksgiving Eve Racing Festival featuring the $200,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap in addition to the $100,000 Swatara.
While not a part of the Penn Gaming Racing Challenge series, HRTV will also provide coverage of the 28th running of the West Virginia Breeders' Classics, to be held on Oct. 18. Formed in the 1980's by Carol Holden and NFL Hall of Famer Sam Huff, the Breeders' Classics hit its high note in 2009 when total purses for the event reached $2 million. The races and purses for the West Virginia Breeders' Classics will be released at a later date.
The Penn Gaming Racing Challenge kicked off in January with the Houston Ladies Classic night at Sam Houston - also covered by HRTV -- and binds the six events through points awarded to owners, trainers and jockeys based on their participation and results in addition to containing other incentives for the connections of horses participating in multiple series races.
The Penn Gaming Racing Challenge ultimately rewards the winners of the year-long series with a waiver of stakes fees at Penn Gaming tracks for an entire year as well as a trip to the Penn National Gaming owned M Resort in Las Vegas.