04/28/2017 1:11PM

Parx replaces stakes with $100,000 Turning for Home starter handicap


Parx Racing is changing the conditions of one of its June stakes in the hope of drawing a larger, more competitive field.

June 24 is Turning for Home Day at Parx, and is named after the track's Thoroughbred retirement and rescue program, which was founded in 2008. The day serves as a fundraising and promotional opportunity for Turning for Home and a $100,000 stakes on the card has been named for it in recent years.

This year, the stakes will be replaced with a starter handicap with a purse of $100,000, according to Sam Elliott, the track's director of racing.

"If you run a $100,000 stakes on the East Coast in the summer you too often get seven horses and scratch down to five." Elliott said. "I think we'll get a much better field for this race and could even attract some shippers, possibly from Florida or the West Coast."

The Turning for Home starter handicap will be a 1 1/16-mile dirt race for horses who have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2016-2017. The $100,000 purse represents a huge payday for many horses who fit the condition.

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Owners will pay a $100 fee to enter and another $200 to start in the race, which will be limited to 14 horses. All of the entry and starting fees will be donated to the Turning for Home program. If there is a full gate, the total will be $4,200.

"I think this race is appropriate because the horses Turning for Home places are claiming horses, and that's who will be running in the race," Elliott said. "It also gives the owners who participate a way to donate to Turning for Home."

According to the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's website, Turning for Home has found new homes for more than 1,000 Thoroughbreds. The program is 85 percent funded by Parx owners and jockeys, the PTHA, the track, and the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association.