PTHA President’s Message
First, I would like to congratulate the recipients of the 2019 Horsemen’s Awards that were presented at Parx on October 12. We celebrated the triumphs of our leading horsemen without a banquet but we certainly acknowledge the hard work it takes to get to the top, and how fleeting those moments can be.
Fleeting or not, there is nothing like the excitement of your first Stakes win. That is what happened in rare fashion at Belmont Park for their Empire Showcase Day for NY-breds. Danny Velazquez had a sensational day, winning the first two stakes on the card, also notching his first stakes win as an Owner and a Trainer with a horse he bought at the two-year-old in training sale at Fasig-Tipton. Laobanonaprayer won the $150,000 Maid of the Mist with jockey Kendrick Carmouche, and Brooklyn Strong won the $150,000 Sleepy Hollow Stakes with jockey Jose Ortiz for Velazquez and owner Mark Schwartz. And, I am proud to say my own horse, Collegeville Girl, with partners Robert Brittingham and Dr. Steve Appel, provided all the thrill of a last to first victory in the $125,000 Iroquois Stakes with jockey Joel Rosario and trainer Richie Vega. Lucky Move rounded out a great showing by Parx connections, winning the $175,000 Empire Distaff Handicap with jockey Irad Ortiz, trainer Carlos Guerrero, and owner Marshall Gramm’s Ten Strike Racing. New York wasn’t the only state where we had a good showing last weekend: several Parx horses ran on Maryland Millions Day at Laurel, and PTHA Board member “Butch” Reid sent out Monday Morning QB to win the Maryland Million Classic Stakes with jockey Sheldon Russel for owners Cash is King LLC and LC Racing LLC.
The current Live Racing Agreement which expires on December 31, 2020 was originally signed in September of 2004. That Agreement has been amended and extended since that date. Executive Director Mike Ballezzi and myself have been working with our lawyers and are fully prepared to meet with Parx Management in November of this year to negotiate a new Live Racing Agreement. We will keep you up to date as any developments occur.
Some more good news! Fox Sports 2 (FS2) has picked up our Parx racing feed on Wednesdays with America’s Day at the Races. This means an earlier post time, and exposure for our racing show to over 50 million more households.
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and is expected to be approved in its present form in the Lame Duck Session of the Senate after the election. While the PTHA supports more integrity and safety in the horseracing industry, this Act as presently prepared leaves open many questions including its funding source, how it will affect the timeliness of testing and how it will interact with the Pennsylvania Horseracing Commission and, also, the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Lab at New Bolton. Until those details are available and/or finalized I personally do not believe we are in a position to totally support the federal legislation. We will keep you posted of all the changes that will come.
I wish all of you well and thank you for your continued support.