The PTHA works hard to protect and provide for the Philadelphia Park horsemen through the guarantee of live racing, increased purses, and health care for its families. Through the efforts of the PTHA and the track management, thoroughbred racing in the state of Pennsylvania has undergone many positive changes in the last year. Philadelphia Park has been recognized throughout the industry as the starting point for stricter medication rules and for its model retirement program for Thoroughbred horses, accomplished through the foresight of Executive Director Michael Ballezzi and the PTHA board of directors.
Following are PTHA’s the major accomplishments in the last 15 years.
- Over $300,00/day in 2010
- Over $60 million paid out in ‘08 in overnight races, stakes and Pa-bredbonuses.
- Implementation of $35 million plan for complete backstretch renovation, including barns with wash stalls, attached feed and supply sheds, upgraded electric, water, and ventilation; as well as refurbished dormitories with new heating, ac and electrical systems, and newpaving and beautification between barns and roadways.
- Expanded trash, shavings and straw removal
- Hot walking machines
- Track kitchen renovation
- New trainer viewing stands
- Dormitory and barn maintenance repair checklist
- Return of newly renovated grandstand for fulltime racing in Fall 2009
- Paddock renovation and expanded walking ring
- Summer paddock and viewing stand expansion
- Horsemen’s parking
- Box seat section for horsemen
- Weekly trophy race with trophy to owner and blanket to trainer
- $1.2 million annually in health insurance for trainers and families through Keystone East, United Concordia, Vision Svcs., SunLife Insurance
- Pension plan for trainers
- Over $330,000 in PTHA Benefit Trust for stable employees in 2007
- Twice weekly health services through LaSalle Nursing
- Dr. Brian Rizen and staff in Rec Hall
- Emergency burial service
- Expanded hours to better accomodate horsemen’s needs
- Racing publications, sales catalogues and condition books availability
- Networked office computers
- Computer with internet access for horsemen’s use, as well as copier and fax service, free for racing related documents
- Bulletin board for local tracks’ overnights
American Produce Records available on CD-ROM
- Notary available daily
- Lobbyist on retainer to keep horsemen informed of important state legislative changes in Harrisburg that would affect the horseracing industry
- American Horse Council representative apprising horsemen of important federal legislation
- Slots legislation passed and signed by the Governor in 2004
- In 1996, repeal of 6% sales tax on commercial horse sales and claims
- Establishment of Pennsylvania Horseracing and Breeding Coalition which meets quarterly to address needs of Thoroughbred and harness industries, and whose purpose is to present a united front to legislators, as well as to both the Thoroughbred and Harness Racing Commissions.
PERSONAL ATTORNEY SERVICES THROUGH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
- Provides pro bono legal help and advice in licensing, ejections, due process, personal credit problems and criminal matters
SOCIAL & CHARITABLE FUNCTIONS
- Annual awards banquet honoring outstanding racing achievements
- Shared sponsorship of Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving dinners for backstretch employees with Chaplain Bunker and RTCA, as well as children’s holiday parties three times a year.
- Annual Labor Day Pig Roast, Memorial Day Picnic, and Independence Day Picnic for backstretch employees and their families
- Sponsorship of Chaplain’s programs for alcohol and drug treatment
- Sponsors Groom-Elite Program
- Granny Youmans Scholarship Fund
- In 2008, became first year-round racetrack to provide safe outlets for retired or injured Thoroughbreds with Turning For Home, Inc., a non-profit program that is becoming a model for other tracks.
- Website with up-to-date information, horse adoption page and current press releases
- PTHA Newsletter mailed six times a year
- Let’s Go Racing, weekly TV show produced by the PTHA using local talent Bruce Casella, Keith Jones, Dick Gerardi, and Barbara Luna