In their first 11 months of operation, slot machines at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course produced more than $22.6 million for Thoroughbred purses and breed development. The funds have allowed Penn National to offer a minimum purse that will be higher than that paid by some of its competitors.
For its next condition book, Penn National will set the minimum purse at $10,000 for $5,000 maiden claimers. Neighboring tracks—even those that receive revenue from casino-style gaming—have lower minimum purses. For many years, Penn National was toward the bottom of the heap.
Of the Mid-Atlantic tracks, three now have a lower minimum purse: Laurel Park in Maryland, which is at $8,000; and two West Virginia tracks—Charles Town Races & Slots, at $9,000; and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, at $9,100.
Delaware Park, which opens in April, has set its minimum purse at $13,000. At Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack in Pennsylvania, the bottom purse is $15,000.
The slots casino at Penn National opened in February 2008. From that point through January 2009, more than $2.48 billion was pumped into the machines at Penn National, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. That was good for $22.6 million in purses and breeders’ awards.
For fiscal year 2008-09 (July through January thus far), about $13.9 million was produced for horse racing at Penn National. Statewide, six tracks earned$115 million for purses and breed development during that period, according to PGCB figures.
Penn National officials recently announced overnight purses will average about $140,000 in the next condition book. Purses at the track near Harrisburg have more than doubled since the advent of racetrack gaming in Pennsylvania.
The following is a list of tracks in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Midwest, along with minimum purses:
Track Minimum purse Condition
Aqueduct (NY) $15,000 Maiden claiming $16,000
*Philadelphia Park (PA) $15,000 Condition claiming $5,000
*Delaware Park (DE) $13,000 Condition claiming $5,000
*Penn National (PA) $10,000 Maiden claiming $5,000
*Mountaineer (WV) $9,100 Maiden claiming $5,000
*Charles Town (WV) $9,000 Condition claiming $4,000
Laurel Park (MD) $8,000 Condition claiming $5,000
Turfway Park (KY) $6,000 Maiden claiming $5,000
Beulah Park (OH) $3,500 Condition claiming $2,500
*Track has gaming machines