Beyond the Paddock
Real People...Real Jobs...Real Impact!
Meet (Trainer) Victor Espinosa & His Family
This picture is worth a thousand words! These fifteen members of the Espinosa family are Jefferson County residents and they have a Real Impact on our community. Victor said he has "a real concern for the possibility of losing racing. It would mean selling our home, farm, and horses at a great loss, it would mean losing forever a job that I love."
We need to start thinking about the many families like the Espinosa family. If we lose funding or lose racing days we could lose many residents just like the Espinosa's. Read below to understand how Charles Town Racing impacts our community and families like Victor's.
Victor Espinosa came to Charles Town in 1960 as a Jockey. He rode here until 1980. Victor went to New York for one year to work as an Assistant Trainer to learn more about the training of Thoroughbred Race Horses. In 1981 he returned to Charles Town, took the state test, passed and became a Trainer: he has been training ever since. In addition to training, Victor has invested in a farm, and now is a breeder and owner of Thoroughbreds.
Victor raised 4 children while working in the racing industry. His children all attended school in Jefferson County. His son, Victor, works for Equibase, the official source for all thoroughbred horse racing data and statistics in North America. His son Paul is the General Manager of Frontier Phone Company, is very active in community sports, and serves as a Delegate representing Jefferson County's 66th district. His daughter, Michelle, works for the WV State Racing Commission as a License Clerk at Charles Town . Daughter Mindy works for a doctor's office, and grandson Paul has worked as a sportscaster for our local TV station WHAG
Victor has "a real concern for the possibility of losing racing. It would mean selling their home, farm, and horses at a great loss, it would mean losing forever a job that Victor loves."
"Many people could no longer afford to live here."
Ms. Tobin was born in Martinsburg, WV. Her interest in horses began when she would visit her single mother who worked as a waitress at Charles Town Races. Her first job was walking hots for Trainer Richard Schwartz. Throughout the years, she has worked for various trainers as a groom including her current employer, James W. Casey, since 1996.
Daisy has never left the backstretch. As a single mother she raised her son Jesse and daughter Elizabeth to work on the backstretch galloping horses and “walking hots” to earn their tuition while going through four years of college.
“My fiance’, Lewis Craig, Jr., is a longtime trainer here at Charles Town. We own, breed and raise our own horses. Lewis only trains for himself so if the horses don’t run well there is no money coming in. Year round racing at Charles Town gives us a steady income. This has allowed us to purchase a home in Shenandoah Junction, and rent a farm for breeding WV bred horses. If races and/or days were to be reduced, this would have a great impact on our livelihood. For example our mortgage, rent for the farm, grain, hay, straw, along with our personal expenses would still need to be paid. This would severely affect our business and personal life. Many people could no longer afford to live here. On the breeding side, it’s expensive to breed, own and/or raise horses. Who would want to buy a West Virginia bred horse if the horse could not run? The West Virginia Supplemental Purse Awards would no longer be an incentive for Owners, Breeders and Sire Owners. This would affect the entire community not just the local farmers, feed companies and horsemen; it would have a ripple down effect on all merchants. A loss for everyone.”
When asked about purse cuts and racing day cuts here is what Larry had to say..."This would be a ripple down effect for the entire county from farmers, local business, and schools. This could force some out of the business. "
Larry C. Reynolds is a second generation rider who lives in Charles Town, WV. He is married with three sons and one daughter. Larry’s wife Lori was also a rider from 2001 – 2008. His son Austin is following in his father’s footsteps by starting as a gallop rider at Charles Town then goes to a farm to gallop horses. Lori still gallops horses in the morning before going to her regular job.
His father Larry Reynolds rode for 35 years and retired in 1989 and Larry C. rode for 27 years. Both of Larry’s grandfathers were trainers, in MD, WV and Ohio. In 1986 Larry started as an apprentice (bug) in Montana then came to Maryland for seven month before coming to Charles Town to finish out his bug and stayed till 1991. In 1991 he went to ride in Maryland, left in 1997 to ride at Delaware for one year before returning to Maryland. When two of his main stables left Maryland; one trainer past away and another took two strings of horses to New York and Kentucky, business became slow so he returned to Charles Town in 2001 where he did well as a bug. Came back because purses were good from the slot machines. Larry was a Multiple Graded Stakes Winning Jockey while at Maryland and had a great 2001 year here at Charles Town where he was ranked 47th by Wins and ranked 72nd by earnings in the country. He had hip replacement surgery in 2011 and returned to riding in 2012 and rode here at Charles Town until 2013 when he retired from riding. Larry is currently a jockey’s agent for Carlos Castro and Jesus Sanchez here at Charles Town.
"Fortunately we run year round, scheduled for 220 days. However, recently race cards for Wednesday and Thursday were cut one race per night to eight races, but Friday and Saturdays stayed at nine races. Sometimes the field size is so short. If you’re a jockey and only ride five races a week, you’re really not making any money on just jock mounts. There are a lot of riders here at Charles Town and it’s a starting point for apprentice (bug) riders since many trainers like riding them. You may only have 2-3% of jockeys and trainers who could go to another track and earn a living. Even though my wife has a second job, cutting race days would affect my family.
Racing has a large effect on Jefferson County. If Charles Town were to cut back the number of race days or close down for a month or two this would affect us all a lot, and not just in the racing business. This would be a ripple down effect for the entire county from farmers, local businesses, and schools. This could force some people out of business. I don’t know how people would survive if the track shut down for a month or two. Many people have made a good living here and it would be a shame if racing starts dwindling down."
1) The thoroughbred and greyhound racing industries in West Virginia contribute more than $321 million in total business volume to the state’s economy. To provide some context, this level of output constitutes about 12 percent of the leisure and hospitality sector statewide.
2) The industries support more than 7,300 jobs in West Virginia. This figure is equivalent to about 10 percent of employment in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector.
3) The industries generate more than $100 million in total employee compensation.
4) The industries generate $4.6 million in total state tax revenue.
5) Thoroughbred racing accounts for around three-fourths of the total economic impact of the two industries.
6) Jefferson County, home to Charles Town Races, accounts for nearly half of the total business volume impact of the industries, while Hancock County, home to Mountaineer Park, accounts for nearly 30 percent. The two greyhound racing counties together account for approximately 10 percent of the total business volume impact.
7) Approximately 11 percent of the total business volume impact of the industries that is experienced within the state is outside of the four racing counties.