Track Information and History
GRANTVILLE, PA… When Le Grand Jour won the first race at Penn National Race Course on August 30, 1972, a new era in sports entertainment arrived in Central Pennsylvania. And, for the past 38 years the thrills and excitement of live thoroughbred racing at the track has attracted many of the top equine and human stars in the game.
While racing on a national basis has shown significant declines in attendance and betting over the past decade, that trend hasn’t been totally reflected at Penn National. When taking into account having hosted eight fewer live programs than the prior year, the slight decline in 2010 all-sources wagering handle at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course proved a positive sign compared to national figures for the racing industry.
Total all-sources handle was $206,478,943, a drop of 5.91% from 2009. Final national handle numbers showed a decline in overall wagering of 7.33%.
Track officials are optimistic that a change in the live racing schedule will help stimulate additional handle in 2011. Live racing will be hosted very Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 5:00PM. The Monday and Tuesday night cards replace Wednesday and Thursday night action.
“Penn National will be one of the few thoroughbred signals available in North America on Monday and Tuesday nights, “said Mark Loewe, VP of Racing. “As always our focus is to continue to provide local fans an exciting racing show and large fields and to introduce that same excitement to many new simulcast and on-line players that could help grow our export handle.”
For the first time in track history the top three riders in the 2010 local jockeys’ colony all exceeded $2 million in purse earnings. Dana Whitney was the leader in all categories as he rode 154 winners from 915 mounts that banked $2,888,756. William Otero was second with 125 wins ($2,133,103) and David Cora third with 122 victories ($2,434,485).
Murray Rojas won her second local training crown in three years by saddling 85 winners from 487 starters. Stephanie Beattie was second with 78 local victories, and she finished 20th overall in the nation with 125 first-place finishers. Flint Stites was third with 61 wins, and his stable was the earnings leader at $1,406,879.
Nearly $1 million was distributed in the track’s richest stakes schedule ever, and the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, richest and oldest stake on the annual calendar, had its 37th running in 2010. Its emerging position as a major race for world class turf sprinters was validated by 2010 winner Chamberlain Bridge. The six-year old defeated a quality field of multiple stakes-winners in the Governor’s Cup in :55.06, and then established himself as world champion turf sprinter with a decisive win in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The $100,000 Jennie Wade, distaff complement to the Governor’s Cup, was won by New York invader Canadian Ballet for trainer Linda Rice.
Local racing fans were witness to another championship-quality performance when Quantum Miss won the $75,000 Blue Mountain Futurity for two-year old fillies by 16 lengths. Her final clocking of 1:09:78 produced the second highest Beyer Speed Figure in the nation for her division.