By T. D. Thornton
Penn National will slice 16 dates off its 2023 racing schedule (from 150 to 134), Parx Racing will add four dates (from 150 to 154), while Presque Isle Downs will remain level at 100 dates, according to a master calendar approved Nov.29 by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC).
“The reduction in days at Penn National was based on a mutual agreement between the horsemen and the racetrack, to try to maintain the current purse structure,” Anthony Salerno, a spokesperson for the PHRC, wrote in an email to TDN.
Penn National in 2022 had been approved for a nearly year-round 150 dates, running three-day weeks over 50 weeks, with week-long breaks in April and September. But in 2023, Penn National has scheduled “dark” periods during the first week of January, for two weeks April, the final week of September, and for three weeks in October, according to a calendar provided by the PHRC.
The Parx slate looks roughly the same compared to the 2022 template. Three-day race weeks will extend over 50 weeks, with a two-week break in August and five Saturdays and Sundays added to the mix. In 2022, when Parx added weekend dates, Wednesdays were usually trimmed from the schedule. But for 2023, those will instead be four-day racing weeks.
Presque Isle will begin its season one week earlier in 2023, on May 1. But the first three weeks of the year will be reduced from four-day weeks to three before Presque Isle rounds out the season with four- and five-day race weeks before closing Oct. 19.
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