Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission

Clerk Of Scales At Presque Isle Downs Suspended For Failure To Weigh-Out Jockeys

A longtime racetrack employee and the current Clerk of Scales at Churchill Downs Inc.-owned Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pennsylvania was suspended by the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission's Bureau of Thoroughbred Horse Racing for 30 days beginning Jan. 8. Danny Hamilton was found by the stewards to have neglected to weigh-out jockeys before the eighth race Oct. 11. Director of Enforcement Jason Klouser, who led the investigation, said, "The Racing Commission's investigators observed Danny Hamilton failing to weigh-out the jockeys for race 8, which is a violation of numerous...

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Penn National Replacing 51-Year-Old Track Rail

Penn National is getting a new track rail that will replace the one that's been in place since 1972. "That's the original track rail that's been in there since the track opened," Chris McErlean, the vice president of racing for PENN Entertainment, said during Tuesday's Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission meeting. "We are going to a new PVC breakaway type rail that is in use at a couple racetracks right now, and it should be better from a safety standpoint and a maintenance standpoint." Penn National started a scheduled break after...

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Keystone Integrity Teams Sweep Presque Isle To Parx

Uncovering loaded needles and syringes to apprehending an assistant starter who was in possession of a controlled substance, seasoned integrity teams conducted searches and seizures last week across a pair of Keystone State racetracks. Led by the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission staff, the sweeps took place first in Erie at Presque Isle Downs before spending three days downstate at Parx Racing in Bensalem through Saturday's GI Pennsylvania Derby. As part of their integrity program, the Commission once again put together a group of investigators--this time from nine states, plus...

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FTC Confirms May 22 Start Date For HISA's ADMC Program

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday issued what it called a "final rule" that pushes back the start date for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety (HISA) Authority's Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) program until May 22. The ADMC program had been expected to go into effect May 1 after twice having its start delayed this year. TDN had reported on Apr. 25 that this date change was in the pipeline. The switch was revealed when Tom Chuckas, the director of Thoroughbred horse racing for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,...

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HISA's Medication Control Program Reportedly Delayed Again

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority's Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) program, which was expected to go into effect May 1 after twice having its start delayed this year, is reportedly now not going to be implemented for an additional three weeks, until May 22, according to comments made by Tom Chuckas at Tuesday's Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission meeting. TDN is attempting to confirm that news with the HISA Authority after hearing the new ADMC start date discussed at the meeting. Chuckas, the director of Thoroughbred horse racing...

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Penn National Slices 16 Dates in '23 to Preserve Purse Structure

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...

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Op/Ed: That Burton Sipp is Still Racing is Indefensible

Take the time to read colleague Dan Ross's extensive and detailed story on the sordid career of trainer Burton Sipp and you might conclude that, in horse racing, enough is never enough. The story is about a lot more than the many controversies that have shadowed Sipp throughout his career, it is about how racing somehow always let Sipp back in, to give him a third chance, a fourth, fifth chance. It is about the sport's inability to police itself and its failure to permanently ban someone who has no...

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Letter to the Editor: Positive Changes Coming Out of Pennsylvania, by Bryan Langlois, DVM

Over the past few months there have been stories about various State Racing Commissions doing or not doing things for the good of the sport. The Triple Crown season always brings more of a spotlight on the sport and, most times, how there is no progress being made. Quietly, however, one State Racing Commission has been making positive strides in improving the safety, welfare, and integrity of the sport and industry. That state is Pennsylvania. There perhaps has not been a more public vocal critic of the Racing Commission than...

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Richard Vega Suspended by Parx Stewards

According to a ruling posted on the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission's website, trainer Ricardo (Richie) Vega had been "summarily suspended" by the stewards at Parx Racetrack. The story was first reported by the website The decision comes after the racing commission staged a backstretch raid at Parx over the weekend of May 22-23. Investigators searched cars, barns and grooms' quarters. Tom Chuckas, who heads the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, reported to his fellow regulators during a Zoom call that "a significant amount of contraband" had been uncovered and that the...

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