The good 'ole days at Liberty Bell Park in northeast Philadelphia

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Highs and Lows of 2011 at Parx Racing

As we reflect back upon the past 12 months at Parx Racing, there were many memorable moments, both good and bad. Here are a few of our favorites:

High – The Cotillion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies was bestowed Grade 1 status by the American Graded Stakes Committee. From DRF:
Low – The track publicized that this is the “first” Grade 1 race in Pennsylvania, but in reality it is not.  The Cotillion enjoyed Grade 1 status in 1973, when Lilac Hill won, and was downgraded thereafter. Here's one of the articles with the wrong information:
Here’s the video of this year’s Cotillion, won by Pennsylvania-bred Plum Pretty:

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High – Juan Carlos Guerrero dominated racing for the 2nd year in a row, maintaining a 40 percent win clip and completing 2011 nearly 40 winners ahead of runnerup Ramon Preciado.
Low – Guerrero gets booted off track for 10 years the week of December 19th after being charged with sexual assault.  Read more here:

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High – Apprentices Rosario Montanez and Kyle Frey end 2011 as the top 2 bug-boys in the country while based at Parx.
Low – Veteran Eriluis Vaz, the infamous participant in the jockey fight versus Ademar Santos during a race at Parx in 2010, gets the hook by track security after a mysterious shower incident in the women jockey’s room the week of December 5. It’s rumored he’s been barred for seven years.
You can see Vaz’s saddle slugfest here:

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High – Parx Casino launches a multi-million dollar expansion of the main building in order to create more elbow room for table games customers.  Read more:
Low – Attendance and handle at the racetrack shrink, while the new casino expansion encroaches upon the lone parking lot for racetrack patrons.

According to the most recent approved minutes of the Pennsylvania State Racing Commission: “Joe Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, reported the Pari-mutuel handle from all sources for the month of October, 2011 was $34.9M.  Year to date handle was $390.5M compared to $454.6M from 2010; reflecting a decrease of 14.1%.  Purses paid an average of $317K per day compared to $367K per day in 2010.  Mr. Wilson explained the underpayment was $1.8M.  The underpayment continues to be monitored with the PTHA. Total attendance on track for October, 2011 was 18,926 compared to 21,109 in October, 2010.”

Perhaps the most disturbing fact contained in that Commission report was this: “The Thoroughbred handle at the Pennsylvania locations are down nearly $42M.”

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High – Aggressive ad campaign for Parx Casino blankets tri-state area with TV, print and Internet ads. Check this one out:

Low – Parx Racing gets little, if any, marketing support from Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment.

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High – Parx Racing creates a “Hall of  Fame,” whose purpose should have been to honor important people and horses of its past. Scroll down in this link to see the pics:
Low – The track’s longtime first announcer, Jack Lamar, is snubbed by the “nominating committee,” while a member of that nominating committee is voted into the Hall of Fame, bringing into question its legitimacy.

You can read all about Lamar’s legacy in the Bensalem announcer’s booth here:

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All in all, another year of very interesting news emanating from the “Big Box on Street Road,” the former Philadelphia Park.  Happy New Year from Pennsylvania Thoroughbred!

Before we sign off, here's a chuckle courtesy of the suits at Parx Casino:

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post, Linda...May you have a wonderful 2012!