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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.


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Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (PTHA)

  /  Legislative   /  PTHA President’s Message

PTHA President’s Message

I would like to thank the Horsemen for their cooperation with Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 safety protocols so that we can remain open and continue to race. This has been a tough year for everyone, but we have successfully navigated our way back to live racing at Parx with limited fans. Parx Casino is not yet open to full capacity and that affects the slot revenue which supplements our purses. Despite the loss of racing days and loss of revenue, the daily purses are nearly back to the same level as they were prior to the shutdown in March. Some individual races purses were decreased, but races were added, currently 10 per day Monday thru Wednesday for a more even distribution amongst the horsemen, averaging over $260,000 daily.

Serving as Vice President of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, I have worked with Executive Director Michael Ballezzi to promote equine health and safety protocols in the Mid-Atlantic Region. We are extremely involved with the construction of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), which has now passed the House of Representatives. More details on the HISA will be provided on a further report. The Live Racing Agreement between the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (PTHA) and Parx Management (Keystone Turf Club, Inc. and Bensalem Racing Association, Inc.) expires at the end of this year. Negotiations will begin in the middle of October.

While this year has been void of festivities, such as our Fall Festival and the Grade 1 races, we did have a very successful Pennsylvania’s Day at the Races, and I would like to thank and congratulate all the PA Breeders and Owners who raced that day, even without fans or a celebration. The Annual Horsemen’s Awards has also been adjusted for 2020. We will recognize our winners from 2019 in the Parx Winner’s circle on Monday, October 12th with trophy presentations and videos during the live show. I look forward to the public recognition of the hard work and talent from the Best of 2019. Thank for your continued support. – Sal DeBunda