Slots Fuel 20% Purse Increase at Philly Park

Revenue from slot machines will allow Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack to raise purses 20% beginning with the July 14 program at the Pennsylvania track.

It’s the second purse hike this year. In January, purses went from a daily average of $125,000 a day to $175,000.

Purses will jump from $175,000 a day to $210,000, the highest level in track history. Philly Park opened in 1974 as Keystone Race Track.

“With this increase, we tried to address some of our key races,” Philly Park director of racing Sal Sinatra said. “For instance, the maiden special weights have gone from $28,000 to $34,000, and the first-level allowance races will jump from $30,000 to $37,000.”

The track also announced that several stakes will get purse increases. They are the Sept. 3 Turf Monster Handicap, which will go from $150,000 to $200,000; the Sept. 5 Larry Riviello Presidents Cup ($150,000 to $200,000); the Sept. 22 Fitz Dixon Cotillion Handicap (gr. II), which will go from $500,000 to $750,000; the Sept. 29 Gallant Bob Handicap ($150,000 to $250,000); and the Sept. 29 My Juliet Breeders’ Cup Stakes ($150,000 to $300,000, including a $50,000 Breeders’ Cup bonus).

Though purses will have increased $85,000 per day since Jan. 1, pari-mutuel handle at Philly Park has dropped significantly, according to statistics released by the Pennsylvania State Racing Commission.  From Jan. 1 to April 30, handle on the live product dipped 21.5%, from $8,911,039 during the same period in 2006 to $6,988,149. Total handle dropped 13.5%, from $29,450,316 in 2006 to $25,468,581 in 2007.



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