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Back to News » $100,000 Mountaineer Classic highlights 2019 Wheeling stakes schedule
Monday, May 6, 2019

Last year’s championship final of the $100,000 Mountaineer Classic was one of the most electrifying finishes in Wheeling Island stakes history.

With a powerful closing rush, L’s Griz came from fourth at the top of the homestretch to get up at the wire to edge AMF Loose End by a nose to capture the stakes crown. L’s Luv It finished third, just 1 ½ lengths back.

The $100,000 Mountaineer Classic is back this year and highlights the 2019 stakes schedule for Wheeling Island. The event is awaiting West Virginia Racing Commission approval, which should be a given at the board’s next meeting.

The racetrack’s featured stakes event is scheduled for October and is sandwiched between a pair of West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association championships – a juvenile and a middle distance stakes.

Unlike last year when greyhounds coming in from other racetracks for the Mountaineer Classic as well as Wheeling-based racers needed four official starts before the entry deadline, there is no start requirement this year. Greyhounds must only have one schooling race and need not have reached a certain grade to enter the stakes event.

Wheeling Island Racing Director Ben Travis is excited about this year’s Mountaineer Classic, which will be conducted on the 5/16th course again.

“With the Mountaineer Classic coming after Southland’s Festival of Stakes along with the no start requirement, we’re hoping to attract more outside greyhounds this year,” Travis noted. “We want to draw as many stars as possible to face off against Wheeling’s best. We’re hoping L’s Griz will be back to defend his stakes championship.”

The winning greyhound will receive approximately 40 percent of the total stakes purse – a nice check of $42,000. Runner up is worth $18,000 with the third place finisher receiving $13,000 and fourth place getting $10,000.

Fifth and sixth place will receive $5,500 each while seventh and eighth will get $3,000 apiece.

There will be three qualifying rounds – Saturday, Oct. 12, Wednesday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 19 – before the semifinals on Wednesday, Oct. 23. The championship final will be on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Travis is hoping for a field of at least 48 sprinters in the Mountaineer Classic.

The $35,000 WVGOBA Juvenile Stakes (5/16th) will be held in September. The first round is set for Wednesday, Sept. 18, the second round on Saturday, Sept. 21 and the semi-finals on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The juvenile stakes final is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28.

The $65,000 WVGOBA Keystone Championship (3/8th) starts on Sunday, Nov. 10, with the second round on Thursday, Nov. 14. The semifinals will be contested on Sunday, Nov. 17.

The keystone stakes championship is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23.

I was introduced to greyhound racing by a friend in the late 1970s at Wheeling Downs and fell in love with the sport and the athletes immediately. Throughout the years, I have developed a deep passion for racing. In the mid 1990s, I started writing a weekly greyhound column and shortly thereafter became a writer for The Greyhound Review.

I have enjoyed watching and writing about these wonderful competitors, including All-Americans DD's Nelson, Kiowa Sweet Trey, Gene's Champion, WW Apple Jax, Greys Royalcrown, Nimby TP Jan, Hi Noon Hero, Gable Sour Cream, KB's Ruckus and Cry Case.