Presque Isle Downs

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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Liam's Map Filly Makes It Three Straight at Presque Isle

7th-Presque Isle Downs, $45,046, Alw (NW3L), Opt. Clm ($40,000), 9-21, 3yo/up, f/m, 6f (AWT), 1:08.64, ft, 2 3/4 lengths. ROSES FOR DEBRA (f, 3, Liam's Map--Essential Rose, by Bernardini) would be perfect but for a debut demotion at this venue May 23 when two lengths best, only to be taken down for drifting in and causing interference. A clear-cut maiden winner second time out June 9, the gray filly was last seen posting a facile 3 3/4-length triumph in the state-bred restricted Malvern Rose S. over an extra sixteenth of...

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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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Pennsylvania Racing Commission Releases Welfare and Safety Quarterly Report

The Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission reported Monday on the progress of its Equine Safety and Welfare Plan, a list of tangible steps intended to increase protections for horses racing at Pennsylvania's six tracks. The measures, which the commission began implementing Mar. 1, 2022, included an Integrity Hotline for reporting suspected illegal or unethical behavior. "Early results from the hotline and other measures have been promising and reinforce the thorough consideration that went into developing the action plan," said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, who chairs the commission. "Implementing the strategy...

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Downes Named Emerald Downs Announcer

Bill Downes has been named track announcer at Emerald Downs for the Washington track's 2022 season which opens May 15. He replaces Tom Harris who recently stepped down. Downes served as Indiana Grand track announcer from 2013 to 2021, and before that called races at Ellis Park, Beulah Park, Presque Isle Downs, and River Downs. He also was back-up announcer at Churchill Downs. "I'm thrilled to come to Emerald Downs," Downes said. "Emerald is a track I've always held in high esteem. I was there once for a two-day handicapping...

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PAHBPA Swats Back at Presque Isle in Counterclaim Over ADW 'Money Grab'

In an ongoing dispute over whether Presque Isle Downs (PID) has been steering on-track patrons to make bets through advance-deposit wager (ADW) platforms controlled by its corporate parent and then not counting those bets as on-track wagers that provide better revenue for purses, the Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (PAHBPA) swatted back in federal court with a Sept. 7 counterclaim to claw back at least $75,000 in disputed funds. PID had fired the first salvo of litigation on June 24 in the form of a civil lawsuit that sought...

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Presque Isle Takes HBPA to Court to Keep ADW 'Money Grab' from Arbitration

Federal court documents filed June 24 show that Presque Isle Downs and Casino (PID) and the Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (PAHBPA) have been locked in an ongoing dispute over the revenue sharing of advance-deposit wagers (ADW). The disagreement centers on allegations by the PAHBPA that over the past several years, PID--whose corporate parent is Churchill Downs, Inc., (CDI)--has been steering on-track patrons to make bets through ADW platforms like TwinSpires that are controlled by another CDI-owned entity, the Churchill Downs Technology Initiatives Company (CDTIC). Allegedly, PID is not...

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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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PA Breeders Map Awards' Structure for 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association released the rundown of the payment structure for the remainder of the 2020 season. Breeder awards, which will remain at the same rate as before the closure, will include an additional 25% for maiden races (first through third). The breakdown is: 50% for PA-Sired PA-Breds and 25% for non-PA-Sired PA-Breds. Breeder awards in all other races will remain at 40% and 20%, respectively. Additionally, owner bonuses will remain unchanged: Parx will be at 40%, Penn National at 20%...

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Pennsylvania Shutdown Lifted, Parx to Reopen June 22

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has given permission for the state's Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks to resume racing. According to Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President Sal DeBunda, Parx will resume racing June 22. Todd Mostoller, who heads the horsemen's groups at Penn National and Presque Isle Downs, said he hopes that Penn National will start racing again June 19. He said it would take longer to start racing at Presque Isle Downs because there are not any horses currently stabled there. "We had hoped to open earlier, but, because of...

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HBPA Aims for Tentative July 6 Racing at Presque Isle

Following a Thursday meeting with the governor's office and the state department of health, the Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (PHBPA) has notified members that a tentative date for live racing at Presque Isle Downs is now July 6. The Presque Isle stable area would tentatively open June 15, according to a one-page memo signed by Todd Mostoller, the PHBPA's executive director. No resumption date was listed for Penn National, where the PHBPA also represents horsemen. Penn National currently has horses stabled on the grounds after stopping racing back...

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Dickinson: American Racing Must Go Back to Synthetics

When it comes to synthetic racing surfaces, Michael Dickinson is obviously biased. He is the inventor of Tapeta Footings, now recognized as the leading synthetic surface manufacturer in North America, if not the world. If several American racetracks were to do away with dirt racing and replace it with synthetic tracks, Dickinson would stand to make a lot of money. Yet, that doesn't mean that Dickinson, who now operates Tapeta Footings with his wife Joan Wakefield, does not have the statistics to back up how safe his tracks are when...

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