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Penn National drops a day of racing

May 21, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

There is bad news for the Washington County and Tri-State area residents who enjoy viewing live thoroughbred racing at the Penn National Race Course.

Fred Lipkin, director of publicity for the Grantville, Pa., track, says live racing soon will be conducted on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights only.

According to Lipkin, a $4 million purse supplement, agreed upon by management and horsemen in October 2004 to last until April 2006, has been exhausted and the move from four to three nights of live racing each week should provide the opportunity to maintain purses at the levels previously enjoyed.

"We have been given approval by the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission to make some adjustments," Lipkin said. "We'll race the three nights, effective May 30; the first race post time has been changed from 7:25 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.; and full-card simulcasting and betting on races from thoroughbred and harness racetracks across the country will be offered daily in the Paddock Club from noon until midnight."

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Both Penn National management and the local chapter of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association agreed on the changes, both believing it will benefit the present situation.

Both groups also anxiously await the "slot machine era."

The machines have been approved for the Keystone State, but the state regulatory commission has not decided on the locations.

"We're hopeful that slot machines will initially be installed at the state racetracks, but that is still uncertain," Lipkin said. "We have filed an application with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for a license to build and operate the Hollywood Casino at Penn National. The integrated racing and gaming facility would open with possibly 2,000 slot machines - with a portion of the gaming revenues designated to increase racing purses at the track."

It was hoped that the facility would be nearing completion or operational during the second quarter of 2006, but regulatory procedures have not moved along as anticipated.

Category I licenses for Pennsylvania's seven racetracks are not expected to be issued until later this year.

Construction of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National is expected to take 12-14 months.

Closing down



Yankeeland Farms, which for 50 years bred champion trotters, will close and its broodmares in foal will be sold at auction in November.

The Frederick, Md., farm was opened in 1955 by former New York Yankees slugger Charlie Keller, who died in 1990.

The farm is operated by Keller's son and grandsons.

Yearlings at the farm will be sold at the Kentucky Select Yearling Sale this year and any remaining yearlings and broodmares will be sold next year.

The farm has produced such horses as Fresh Yankee, which won about $1.3 million from 1965-1972. Muscles Yankees (1998) and Yankee Paco (2000) are two Hambletonian winners bred by the farm.

Ticket time



Interested in attending the Breeders' Cup World Championships this fall?

Officials of Breeders' Cup Limited and Churchill Downs announced that ticket applications for this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships will be available until June 1.

The 23rd Breeders' Cup, consisting of eight Grade I races, will be held Nov. 4 at the Churchill Downs.

Ticket applications may be obtained in the following ways:

Complete an online ticket application. Go to either of these Web pages - www.churchilldowns.com or www.ntra.com - and click on the Breeders' Cup event logo to locate the ticket Web site and online ticket application.

Print a ticket aplication from the Web site. A version of the ticket application is available to print, compete and mail to: Churchill Downs Breeders' Cup Ticketing, 700 Central Avenue, Louisville, KY, 40208.

Request a printed ticket application be mailed to you. Contact Churchill Downs via e-mail at breederscup@kyderby.com. Include your name, complete address and phone number.

All applications must be received at Churchill Downs no later than June 1 to be included in a random drawing that will determine the order in which applications will be processed.

Applications received after the deadline will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis, dependent upon seating availability.

Tickets will be limited to six per household.

General admission for the Breeders' Cup World Championships is $25, with no advance purchase required.




Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at larryy@herald-mail.com

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