About the PTHA

The Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (PTHA) works hard to protect and provide for the Parx Racing horsemen through the guarantee of live racing, horsemen’s rights, health care and pension for horsemen, benevolence programs, and more. Parx Racing and the PTHA have been recognized throughout the industry as a starting point for stricter medication rules and other important legislative issues through the foresight of President Salvatore DeBunda, Executive Director Michael Ballezzi and the PTHA Board of Directors.

Here are just some of the many services that the PTHA provides to serve the needs of member horsemen:

  • Representation in Harrisburg by legal professionals who are fighting for the rights and monetary benefits of Parx horsemen
  • Currently pushing for better workers compensation guidelines and rates
  • In 2016 successfully assisted with the formation of a nine-member Racing Commission (pictured), of which five members are actual horsemen working in the racing industry
  • LaSalle University nurses on-site twice weekly for all backstretch personnel (pictured)
  • Free mammograms available through St. Mary Medical Center for eligible horsewomen who do not have health insurance
  • Weekly medical clinic with Dr. Brian Rizen
  • Benefit Trust for stable employees who are ineligible for health insurance
  • Health insurance available for eligible trainers
  • Supplemental health insurance for eligible trainers
  • Dental insurance for eligible trainers
  • Optical insurance for eligible trainers
  • Pension plan for eligible trainers
  • Life insurance plan for eligible trainers
  • Burial plan for eligible trainers
  • Accident insurance for eligible horses
  • Fire and disaster for eligible horses on the grounds
  • Used shavings removal
  • Instrumental in obtaining construction of all new, state-of-the-art barns on the backstretch, completed in 2016
  • Refurbishment of the Administration Building in 2017
  • Beautification plan for the backstretch including the planting of new trees in 2016
  • Repaved entire backstretch in 2016
  • New state-of-the-art safety rail installed on racetrack in 2016
  • New paddock, walking ring and winner’s circle footing installed in 2015
  • Spearheaded the elimination of steroids in racehorses in Pennsylvania
  • Established uniform medication guidelines and penalties for the East Coast and Illinois
  • Implemented a third-party Lasix administration program at Parx Racing
  • Support of a unified penalty system for drug positives in racing, to create a level playing field
  • Regulation of maximum purses and pay-to-last funds
  • Represent horsemen before the Board of Stewards, PA State Horse Racing Commission and state legislature
  •  Positive changes to PA Derby celebration resulted in the race being elevated to Grade 1 status starting in 2017
  • Creation of the Granny Youmans Scholarship Fund for stable employees and trainers or their children, to further their education
  • Sponsor of multiple bike rides benefitting wounded veterans and illnesses
  • Sponsor of the Bucks County YWCA’s Teen Volunteer of the Year Award (pictured)
  • Shared sponsorship of Easter dinner, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Day dinner, and Christmas luncheon for backstretch employees with Chaplain Rick Bunker and the RTCA, as well as children’s holiday parties three times a year
  • Sponsorship of Chaplain’s programs for alcohol and drug treatment
  • Sponsorship of softball and soccer leagues
  • Weekly trophy race where winning trainer receives an embroidered PTHA paddock blanket and the owner receives a trophy that holds a 5×7″ win photo
  • Annual Horsemen’s Awards Dinner
  • Annual Owners Appreciation Day
  • Annual Pennsylvania Derby Day Celebration
  • Annual Parx Racing Hall of Fame Induction
  • Annual Labor Day Pig Roast and Independence Day Picnic for backstretch employees and their families (pictured)
  • Open every day except Wednesdays
  • Full line of fax and copy with all copies and racing-related faxes free of charge
  • Accept mail for mailing
  • At least one notary on-site every working day
  • Assistance completing important forms for The Jockey Club and Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association
  • Pull Brisnet & Equineline reports for purchase
  • Computer with Internet access connected to printer available for use in-office
  • Free wi-fi Internet access
  • Provide licensing and forms for other racing jurisdictions
  • Free printed training charts
  • Free Parx Racing programs for owners and trainers
  • Daily Racing Form available for use in-office, with Forms available for purchase
  • Overnights for Mid-Atlantic racetracks
  • Condition books for Mid-Atlantic racetracks
  • Sales catalogs
  • National and regional racing and breeding publications available for use in-office
  • Parx Racing program library for the past year for use in-office
  • Parx Racing video library for the past year for use in-office
  • Sponsor and distributor of Craig Donnelly’s Parx Racing Analysis
  • Website with up-to-date horsemen’s information, horse adoption page and current press releases
  • PTHA Newsletter mailed six times a year to 3,000 members
  • Let’s Go Racing, a weekly TV show produced by the PTHA using track announcer Keith Jones and turf writer Dick Gerardi. Bruce Casella was the original host but now handles mostly behind the scenes work including camera operation, producing and editing.
  • PA Derby and Cotillion Stakes broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet (pictured)