Posted: April 21, 2020
Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Sal DeBunda, in a video interview posted on the organization’s website, provided an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the state and discussed measures the horsemen’s group is taking at Parx Racing, which has been closed since mid-March.
The interview is available at the PTHA website.
In regard to questions about when live racing might resume, DeBunda said: “I don’t have an answer to that, but I do have a goal in mind—June, but there has been no indication that is going to happen.”
As for purses, DeBunda said the average daily payout for overnight races could be about $150,000, or 50% lower than it was before the shutdown. He noted that both revenue sources for purses—slot machines at casinos and pari-mutuel wagers—have been cut off due to the COVID-19 shutdown in Pennsylvania.
DeBunda also said he intends to propose that Parx not shut down for most of August as planned and instead race three days a week in the summer.
“We’re trying to do everything through the PTHA to get open as soon as possible,” DeBunda said.
DeBunda also said it “seems likely” in his opinion the proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to take $204 million a year from the Race Horse Development Trust Fund to pay for a college scholarship program “probably will not happen,” though it’s possible the racing industry may be asked to kick in some of its slots revenue to help fill state budget holes brought about by COVID-19 expenditures this year.