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Charles Town concludes season with record daily handle

Charles Town Races canceled the remaining five races on its Friday evening card and also canceled its Saturday night program -- the final live program scheduled for 2012. Live racing at Charles Town is tentatively scheduled to resume at 7:15 (EST) on Wednesday, the first live performance currently slated for the new year.

Following the closure of its 2012 season on Friday evening, Charles Town was able to boast a new record for average daily handle for a second consecutive year, and this time did so by hitting the seven-figure mark for the first time in the track's 79 year history.

The average daily all-sources number of $1,001,938 -- which includes all completed live racing programs -- established a new benchmark, topping the previous record of $954,280 set in 2011, by five percent. A new record for total all-sources handle was also set in 2012 with $227,660,327 wagered on Charles Town's races.

"To be racing as long as Charles Town has and now reach a milestone like this is something our entire team should be immensely proud of," said Vice President of Racing Operations Erich Zimny about hitting the $1 million mark in average daily handle. "We'll do our best to build on our 2012 success as we move forward in 2013."

All told, average daily handle at Charles Town has grown 30 percent between 2009 and 2012.

Jockey Jose Montano, who spent much of 2012 as an apprentice, cruised to the riding title by racking up 216 wins, 109 ahead of runner-up Travis Dunkelberger. Montano, who came into 2012 with just 28 victories to his name, saw his 1,027 mounts earn a total of $3,442,187 on the racetrack. Included in those 216 wins were five stakes triumphs, including one division of the Tri-State Futurity and a pair in the West Virginia Breeders' Classics.

For the seventh consecutive year, Jeff Runco found himself on top of Charles Town's trainer standings. Runco won 159 races at the track in 2012, including a pair of scores in the West Virginia Breeders' Classics with Waves and Tides and In the Fairway. In addition to topping the list at Charles Town, Runco's 2012 campaign will enable him to finish amongst the country's top 25 trainers in wins for the fifth straight year and he also stands poised to finish in the top 10 nationally for the first time in his career. Ronney Brown finished second with 79 victories.

Charles Town had previously announced that the 2013 season is slated to include 235 live racing days, as well as an increase in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic purse to $1,500,000. The $500,000 increase allows for the Charles Town Classic -- which will be held on April 20 -- to be the most lucrative Thoroughbred race run in the United States outside of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup.

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