Parx Racing Reduces Live Dates, Adds ‘Fall Festival,' $4.4M In Capital Improvements - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Parx Racing Reduces Live Dates, Adds ‘Fall Festival,’ $4.4M In Capital Improvements

Parx Racing and the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (PTHA) announce the creation of a new, annual $20 Million Parx Racing Fall Festival that will commence on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, and continue through Oct. 20, 2015. By doubling purse levels throughout the two month festival, Parx and the PTHA have created a signature racing meet that will attract top horse racing talent in the industry, increase the field size of the races, enhance betting interest, and draw new fans to the racetrack.

Over the past four years, Parx Racing and the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (PTHA) have worked to build a Fall Festival around one of the track's signature racing days – the $1 Million Pennsylvania Derby (GII) and Cotillion Stakes (GI) – which last year featured Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome, along with the eventual Breeders' Cup Classic champion Bayern. In addition, last year's Cotillion Stakes was led by Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Untapable. This exciting new initiative will build on that past success by doubling purses for each of the 32 live race days during the new Fall Festival.

Parx Racing will not run eight scheduled dates from Aug. 15-28 leading up to the Fall Festival to complete some capital improvements to the facility.

“Parx is thrilled to work with the PTHA on this revitalizing plan to enhance our overall live racing product for our owners and trainers as well as racing fans,” said Joe Wilson, COO Parx Racing. “This significant agreement is a reflection of the ongoing commitment of Parx Racing and the PTHA to offer the highest caliber racing program for our devoted fans. We especially look forward to our new $20-Million Parx Racing Fall Festival and the great anticipation that will be generated each year leading up to it.”

To help fund the increased purse levels during the Fall Festival, Parx and the PTHA have agreed to reduce the annual number of live racing days to 153. This reduction in live race days will consist of two separate breaks in winter and summer that will include the Christmas holidays through mid-February and three weeks in August beginning in 2016. The track will remain open for training year-round, including the days closed for live racing.

Parx Racing scheduled 210 racing days in 2015, so the reduction to 153 is a 27 percent cut in live dates.

Also as part of the new agreement, Parx Racing will invest an additional $4.4 Million in racetrack infrastructure and property improvements to enhance the overall racing experience for everyone associated with the live racing events. Improvements will include installation of a new safety rail, beautification of the track's paddock and Winner's Circle, and a variety of enhancements to the backside including paving and planting of trees between barns.

“The PTHA is excited by the changes to our live racing schedule and the creation of a signature racing meet during the fall at Parx that will attract some of the top national and regional horses and talent,” said Salvatore M. DeBunda, President of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. “Doubling purses will improve the competitiveness and caliber of our racing product, make the races more exciting, and increase fan and bettor interest.”

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