12/14/2016 3:23PM

Parx: Winter dates approved

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The Pennsylvania Racing Commission has approved a three-day-a-week winter racing season at Parx. The Bensalem track had been scheduled to close Jan. 10 and reopen March 4.

According to Sam Elliott, the track’s director of racing, the results of this year’s fall festival played a role in the change of plans.

“In 2015, during the first festival, the results were kind of inconclusive because we had a quarantine, so we did the festival again this year,” Elliott said. “And while the quality of racing was, in my mind, superior and the handle was up, the results suggest that it doesn’t merit going forward with the festival. The numbers don’t justify what we did with the purses.”

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Parx will race Saturdays, Mondays, and Tuesdays during January, February, and March. Last winter, Parx closed from Dec. 22 to Feb. 27. Excluding this summer’s annual August break, Parx will be returning to a year-round schedule.

“While some horsemen can race other places during a seven-week downtime, many of our everyday trainers can’t take that long of a break in the action,” Elliott said. “Mike Ballezzi, the executive director of the PTHA, is a big proponent of the year-round plan.”