Pennsylvania Thoroughbred tracks awarded 385 racing dates for 2023

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Nov. 30, 2022

Pennsylvania’s three Thoroughbred tracks were approved for a combined 385 racing programs in 2023, a reduction of 18 from 2022.

The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission at its Nov. 29 meeting approved the dates applications as well as renewed the three-year operating licenses for Parx Racing and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. The license for Presque Isle Downs & Casino was approved earlier in 2022.

Parx was granted 151 days, down from 153 in 2022; Penn National was awarded 134 days, a decrease of 16 from this year; and Presque Isle will offer its usual 100 programs in 2023. Combined with the 436 racing dates awarded to three Standardbred tracks, next year’s total allotment in Pennsylvania is 821.

Parx (Keystone Turf Club and Bensalem Racing Association, both operated by Greenwood) will race from Jan. 2-Dec. 27 on a Monday-through-Wednesday schedule with the exception of four Saturdays: May 6, May 20 and June 10 for the Triple Crown events, and Sept. 23 for the Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion Stakes card. Parx Racing Chief Operating Officer Joe Wilson noted pari-mutuel handle on the live product has increased 70% in recent years, and that 2022 is running ahead of 2021.

Parx first post times will be the usual 12:25 p.m. or 12:55 p.m. depending on the time of the year with a few exceptions including Sept. 23.

Penn National (Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association and Penn National Turf Club, both operated by PENN Entertainment) kicks off its season Jan. 11 and will race through Dec. 29, largely on a Wednesday-through-Friday schedule with first post time of 6 p.m. Wednesdays will be dark to accommodate three special Saturday programs on the Triple Crown days with post times to be determined.

The reduction of live racing dates at Penn National is concentrated in October. There will be no racing the last week of September and the first three weeks of October, according to the calendar submitted to the PHRC.

Presque Isle Downs, operated by Churchill Downs Inc., will race from May 1-Oct. 19. Racing will be held three days a week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) in May, and four days a week (Monday through Thursday) from June through October. First post time is set for 1:30 p.m.