02/12/2016 1:10PM

Parx pushes back start of meet another week


Parx Racing has pushed back the beginning of its 2016 season to Feb. 27. The meet was originally scheduled to begin Feb. 13, but on Feb. 1, the start date was moved to Feb. 20.

Parx has not been open for training since Jan. 2, when the track was closed so a new safety rail could be installed. The original estimate was that the track would be closed for three weeks. The rail installation took longer than planned, however, and when the project was complete, it was discovered that the base of the track along the inside was not level in certain areas. There also was a blizzard in January that dropped two feet of snow on the Philadelphia area.

Gerard Weipert, the track superintendent at Parx, has finished repairing the base of the track, according to Sam Elliott, the director of racing at Parx, and the surface will reopen for training Monday.

“We probably could have opened for training today, but it’s going to be 5 degrees tomorrow, with 30 mile-per-hour winds,” Elliott said Friday. “We decided it would be better to wait until Monday. We are very confident we will be able to open for normal training.”

Elliott said management was scheduled to meet with horsemen Saturday to explain the situation.

Entries for Feb. 20 were scheduled to be taken Monday. The first day of entries will now be Feb. 22 for the Feb. 27 card.

“By moving back the start date, we’ll give our horsemen time to get ready,” Elliott said. “This will give them a week to train before we take entries and 12 days before we open.”

The eight lost racing days will be made up. Sunday racing has already been added in April. It has not yet been determined when the other four days will be rescheduled.

Elliott is going to reissue the first condition book. He said it would be online late Friday and that printed books would be available by the middle of this coming week.

“It’s going to be the same book but with shorter distances to start off,” Elliott said.

Sprints will be run at five furlongs to begin the meet.

“It’s been a tricky set of circumstances, one thing after another,” Elliott said. “If we hadn’t had the two feet of snow, we would have only been a week or a week and a half behind schedule.”