Barn Work Under Way at Penn National

A backstretch improvement program has begun at Hollywood Casino at Penn National.

from Hollywood Casino at Penn National

A backstretch improvement program has begun at Hollywood Casino at Penn National, which will spend up to $10 million over the next 10 years to build new barns, refurbish old ones, and make other barn-area upgrades.

On May 26, trainer Flint Stites moved his large stable into the first new barn built at the Grantville, Pa., racetrack in more than 30 years. The 46-stall structure, designed and built by Kohler & Kohler of Wrightsville, Pa., also has three indoor equine wash stalls and two attached outdoor storage sheds.

“Site work and layout are almost completed for the next barn, and we hope to begin building the second week of June,” Penn National director of racing Rob Marella said. “It will take two months for construction.”

The Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act of 2004 mandates racetracks spend a certain amount of revenue from slot machines on backstretch improvements.

Also new at Penn National is a new equine ambulance manufactured by Gregory Racing Fabrications of Nazareth, Pa. The custom-made vehicle is more than 20 feet long, 10 feet high, and 102 inches wide.

“The new ambulance has a hydraulic system that allows the trailer to be lowered flush to the ground to assist in getting injured horses on to the vehicle,” Marella said. “The hydraulic system also allows for the movement of a padded interior wall to better stabilize an injured horse.”

Four new John Deere tractors and the construction of a manure-holding center and a new manure-collection system are additional projects at Penn National.

On May 30, Penn National will offer the richest program in its history with five $75,000 stakes for Pennsylvania-bred horses and four overnight events, three of them carded for the turf.