Penn National

MATCH Series Returns in 2022

The Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series (MATCH) returns for a 9th season with a $2.2 million stakes schedule that spans April 16 through Oct. 3 and more than $400,000 in bonus money for owners, trainers and breeders. The Series, a competition among horses in four divisions, is designed to identify the best horses, and their owners and trainers, in the Mid-Atlantic region. It will be contested this year at Laurel Park, Hollywood at Penn Gaming, Colonial Downs and Parx, with Parx hosting this year's Championship Day. Horses competing in MATCH earn...

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Behind the Lens: Bill Denver

New Jersey native Bill Denver is today's subject in TDN's rotating series profiling racetrack photographers. We ask about memorable horses, races, and people they've viewed through the lens, and also talk about how the craft of equine imagery has evolved. Denver, 60, is the founder of Equi-Photo, which currently shoots the races and provides winner's circle photographs at Monmouth Park, the Meadowlands Thoroughbred meet, Parx, and Penn National. Separate from his work at East Coast tracks, Denver has previously freelanced for college athletic departments and numerous newspapers, including the New...

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Longtime Track Superintendent Robert Beaubien Passes Away

Robert "Bob" Beaubien, a longtime track superintendent at tracks including Penn National Race Course, Prairie Meadows, Turf Paradise and Delta Downs, passed away Sept. 1. Beaubien was widely known and respected among his peers, and he was an active participant at the annual Track Superintendent Field Day helping to share his knowledge with others. "Bob was a very nice guy and very knowledgeable," said Jake Leitzel, director of track maintenance at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. "He was the type of guy that would do anything for you....

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Pennsylvania-Bred Stakes Schedule Receives a Boost

The Pennsylvania-bred stakes schedule received a major boost for the remainder of the year, with four stakes doubling in value to $200,000, plus the addition of two $100,000 stakes. A total of $2.6 million in purses will now be paid out in restricted, state-bred stakes in 2021. "Our revenue has stabilized and the Race Horse Development Trust Fund has stood strong," Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association's executive secretary Brian Sanfratello said. "We wanted to send a message that Pennsylvania is on the move and the premier place to breed and race."...

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PA Raids That Yielded 'Significant Contraband' Now Termed as 'Nothing of Substance'

One month after initially stating at a Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC) meeting that May backstretch raids at Parx yielded a "significant amount of contraband" and "items that have no business on the backside," Tom Chuckas, the director of Thoroughbred horse racing for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, gave a Tuesday update that now describes the yield from those searches in markedly less sensationalistic terms. "In the last months, enforcement action was taken both at Penn National and at Parx," Chuckas told commissioners at the June 29 PHRC meeting during...

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Penn National Implements HeadCheck Jockey Health Program

Penn National Race Course announced a new partnership with software company HeadCheck Health, Inc. that will equip all staff with a customized system for optimizing concussion and injury management for jockeys within and between racetracks. HeadCheck is a secure HIPAA compliant system that aims to improve track management by allowing clear and immediate communication of suspected injuries and jockey health status. This program will help ensure nothing slips through the cracks and all jockeys receive appropriate care before returning to ride. Since 2019, HeadCheck--covered in the TDN this March--has worked...

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Annex Adds Blinkers for Penn Mile

'TDN Rising Star' Annex (Constitution), a disappointing eighth as the favorite in the GII American Turf S. at Churchill Downs May 1, adds blinkers for Friday evening's GII Penn Mile S. at Penn National. The chestnut was perfect in his previous three trips to the post, including narrow wins in the Palm Beach S. Feb. 27 and Cutler Bay S. Mar. 27. The speedy Original (Quality Road) collected third in his previous two attempts in the GIII Kitten's Joy S. Jan. 30 and Woodhaven S. Apr. 17. He will be...

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'Dramatic' Purse Account Improvements at Penn Nat'l, Presque Isle

Purse account revenues from gaming have improved "dramatically" at both the Penn National and Presque Isle Downs racinos in the past six weeks, enabling Penn National to add an extra weekday of racing starting June 8 and Presque Isle to potentially tack on race dates at the end of the meet that begins July 5. The news came in the form of a one-page memo to members issued Friday by Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association executive director Todd Mostoller. "For the first time since the pandemic started, we have...

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Pennsylvania Casinos Reopen Monday

Pennsylvania casinos have been greenlighted to reopen as of Monday, Jan. 4, rekindling revenue streams that fund Thoroughbred purses in the state. Governor Tom Wolf announced Dec. 30 that because COVID-19 mitigation efforts have been working to tamp down the spread of the pandemic, he will allow more stringent safety restrictions that went into effect Dec. 12 to expire as planned. But that doesn't mean a full-blown opening for the 13 casinos in the state: Mitigation efforts will roll back to what they were on Dec. 11, which still caps...

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If Casino Stays Closed, Penn Racing to Hinge on Break-Even Handle

The Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (PHBPA) met with the management of Penn National Dec. 28 to come up with a contingency plan to keep racing going through January using purse money already "on deposit" in the event that Governor Tom Wolf's COVID-19-related closure of Penn's Hollywood Casino extends past the currently mandated Jan. 4. date. "Penn National has agreed to continue live racing through [January], provided the handle generates a break-even scenario for the company," Todd Mostoller, the PHBPA's executive director, wrote in a one-page memo to members...

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Problems Persist with Gmax Timing System

Despite a press release in late August from Equibase in which the company announced it would be conducting an "extensive analysis" of its Gmax timing system, the technology has continued to produce a number of inaccurate times at the racetracks it services. The TDN has found recent examples from Del Mar, Tampa Bay Downs and Penn National that show there were problems with the Gmax timing of the races. Gmax, which is operated in the U.S. by Equibase, relies on Global Positioning System (GPS) to record times, as well as...

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PETA Buys Stock in Racetracks

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a longtime critic of many of the practices in horse racing, has purchased stock in four companies which own racetracks--VICI Properties, Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming, and Gaming and Leisure Properties—in order to make their case in the boardroom, according to a press release from the organization. The release says that, "PETA's proposed changes include replacing dirt tracks with high-quality synthetic ones, banning trainers who have multiple medication violations, and banning whipping. Tracks will be encouraged to work with state racing authorities when...

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