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Feb 11, 2011

Parx Racing getting no where with weather

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Live racing at Parx Racing in suburban Philadelphia has been getting cancelled, cut short or not even attempted this winter.

Once again on Monday, February 7 the former Philadelphia Park postponed its program. The day before it also cancelled live racing and has not had a full program go off since Tuesday, January 25.

While the weather in the Philadelphia area has been pleasant the last week, the dirt track at Parx Racing has been negatively affected. Since the late December snow storm, temperatures have mostly been sub-freezing.

Then a major storm hit the Delaware Valley the middle of January. Racing for January 22 and 23 was cancelled. Parx Racing was able to have full programs on January 24 and 25.

Poor track conditions forced the Bensalem facility to cut short race cards on January 30 and 31. Sunday the 30th just the first race went off successfully and only three races were completed the next day.

Parx Racing cancelled racing for January 18 and completed only three on the 19th.

Penn National cancelled last weekend's racing programs on Friday and Saturday. Monday and Tuesday have been wiped out due to day-long freezing rain last Saturday and the forecast for more frozen precipitation.

"Our crew worked very hard around-the-clock on the track throughout the weekend," said Mark Loewe, VP of Racing, "but the combination of rain and sleet with above-freezing temperatures during the day, and then the re-freeze at night, unfortunately set up a perfect storm for preventing them from getting ahead of the elements."

Penn National, near Harrisburg, will try to resume live racing on Friday night. So far there have been no live racing cards this month at Penn National.

The bad winter weather has adversely affected the casinos in the state that help support racing. Future purses may have to be reduced should continued weather problems persist.

Parx Casino, next door to the racetrack. saw a decline of 18 percent in January as compared to January, 2010. Harrah's Chester Casino, south of Philadelphia, had a decline of 20 percent from last year for the month of January.

"In my recent visits to casinos, primarily those in the eastern portion of the Commonwealth, operators explained that the crippling weather in January held down attendance at their facilities and affected revenue," Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O'Toole said. "We expect slot revenue numbers to rebound if the weather improves."

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