With slot machines coming on line next week, Philadelphia Park announced a 40% boost in overall purses for the beginning of the 2007 season. "While we're thrilled to take these initial steps in the advancement of Philadelphia Park," said Sal Sinatra, director of racing, "we also realize that this really is just the beginning of turning this track into one of the prominent players in East Coast racing."Currently operating with purses at about $125,000 per day, Philadelphia Park will offer $175,000 per day next year and pay purse money to horses all the way back to last place. Some of the significant changes include maiden special weight races offering $28,000 (up from $20,000) and the open allowance division offering $30,000 (up from $25,000). The bottom prices in claiming races will be increased for 2007 from $8,000 to $10,000, while the bottom conditional claiming races will see a bump from $4,000 to $5,000. "It's the best Christmas present our horsemen could receive," said Mike Ballezzi, executive director of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.
"It will certainly change the face of Pennsylvania racing forever and be of great benefit to all Pennsylvania horsemen and their families."