Penn National Gaming Prez to Retire in May

Even Bill Bork can't keep track of all of them. But he says he has worked at about 12 racetracks, and after more than 35 years in the pari-mutuel business, he's ready to hang it up. Now, he just wants to be a fan.

Bork, president of Penn National Gaming Inc., will retire from that post effective May 31. Richard Orbann, president of soon-to-close Garden State Park and a top official with Pennwood Racing, will take over for Bork.

"This has been in the works for about a year," Bork said Tuesday from his office in Wyomissing, Pa. "I had some things to wrap up. What I really want to do now is go to some racetracks as a fan, and not worry about things like (pari-mutuel) takeout and legislation."

Bork began his career in 1964 at Liberty Bell Park, which offered Standardbred racing and later added Thoroughbred racing. In 1971, he became general manager at Pitt Park, the western Pennsylvania track that experimented with Thoroughbred racing at The Meadows harness track.

Bork then moved on to Ogden Corp., and oversaw operations at five tracks -- Fairmount Park, Scarborough Downs, Suffolk Downs, Waterford Park (now Mountaineer Park), and Wheeling Downs. He moved to Penn National Race Course when it opened in the early 1970s, and was there 11 years.

Then it was back to Ogden, and then on to Ladbroke, which at the time owned The Meadows, Canterbury Park, Detroit Race Course, and Golden Gate Fields. Bork then return to Penn National, which later went public as Penn National Gaming.

"I'll still be on the board of directors (at Penn National Gaming)," Bork said. "There'll be some odds jobs to keep me busy."

Bork served about three years on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as the Mid-Atlantic representative. Despite some rough sledding, Bork said he remains bullish on horse racing and the pari-mutuel game.

"I'm not part of the doomsday crowd," he said. "I think racing has a great future."