Parx Racing and the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (PTHA) announced Friday the creation of the $20 Million Parx Racing Fall Festival from Aug. 29-Oct. 20. The purse level at the Bensalem oval will be doubled for the meet duration of 32 live race days, with the aim of increasing field size, enhancing betting interest and drawing new fans to the racetrack.
During the past several years, Parx and the PTHA have built up the Fall Festival around the $1 million GII Pennsylvania Derby, won in 2015 by GI Breeders' Cup Classic hero Bayern (Offlee Wild), and the GI Cotillion S., won by GI Breeders' Cup Distaff heroine and champion Untapable (Tapit).
“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 Willson, 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.”
Funding for the festival was obtained by reducing live race days to 153, with a break during the Christmas holidays through mid-February and another occurring for three weeks in August beginning in 2016. Parx will also invest an additional $4.4 million in infrastructure and property improvements with a new safety rail, beautification of the paddock and winner's circle, and a variety of enhancements to the backside including paving and planting of trees between barns.