09/07/2016 11:15AM

Parx plans to add 10 days to 2016 season


Parx Racing will add 10 days to its racing schedule this year, pending approval of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, according to track officials and Mike Ballezzi, executive director of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

Parx began its 2016 season two weeks later than originally planned and lost eight racing days as the installation of a new safety rail and track maintenance took longer than scheduled. The track also canceled its July 25 card due to extreme heat.

The track made up five days by adding Sunday racing in April and the beginning of May. The 10 cards it now plans to add will more than make up for the remaining lost days.

“Under our contract with Parx, we start off each year with a schedule but with the understanding that it is flexible,” Ballezzi said. “Several times during the year, I sit down with Joe Wilson, the CEO, and Sam Elliott, the director of racing, and we discuss how the purse account is doing and, if we have extra funds, whether to increase purses or add days.”

Parx and the PTHA want to add six Sundays to the schedule: Oct. 30; Nov. 6, 13, 20, and 27; and Dec. 4. The plan is to add the following dates around Christmas: Dec. 24, 26, 27, and 31.

“Last year, we missed out on some of our days around the holidays, and we felt it was appropriate to add them back this year,” Ballezzi said. “The Christmas holiday season is usually a good time for us.”

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The Parx season will continue until Jan. 10. The track will then take a winter break from Jan. 11 through March 3.

Ballezzi cautioned that all of the aforementioned dates are tentative and could be changed if warranted.

“This is where we stand now, but we’ll monitor how things are going,” Ballezzi said. “We have Derby and Cotillion Day coming up and our Fall Festival in October.”