Penn No Longer Purse Bottom-Feeder
by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: 2/20/2009 10:27:17 AM
Last Updated: 2/22/2009 1:35:36 PM

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
 



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