With its meet postponed due to COVID-19, Presque Isle Downs will begin racing July 27, according to Todd Mostoller, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Plans call for Presque Isle to race for 50 days, racing mostly Mondays through Wednesdays, with the potential for additional days, and continuing through the end of October, Mostoller said. The backstretch is set to open no later than July 8.

We are hopeful for an earlier (backstretch) opening to facilitate horses shipping from Tampa Bay Downs,” the Pennsylvania HBPA tweeted June 23. “An earlier opening is dependent upon the hiring of security and staff in numbers that will allow opening.”

Officials had hoped racing would resume by July 20, but a week’s delay was necessary for track maintenance, Mostoller said. Presque Isle has a Tapeta surface.

Following other tracks opening amid COVID-19, Presque Isle will have a reduction in stakes purses. The track’s usual $100,000 stakes will drop to $75,000 apiece, and the track’s two richest races, the Presque Isle Masters Stakes (G2) and Presque Isle Mile Stakes will not be run in 2020 to maintain overnight purses at their prior level, Mostoller said. The Presque Isle Masters and Presque Isle Mile were worth $400,000 and $200,000 last year, respectively.

Presque Isle racing secretary Allan Plever did not immediately return a phone message seeking details about the meet.

Presque Isle will become the third Pennsylvania Thoroughbred track to open this year amid COVID-19 after Penn National Race Course resumed racing June 19 and Parx Racing June 22. Those tracks had existing horse populations on their backsides after suspending operations in March.

Mostoller does not anticipate any state regulatory delays toward Presque Isle’s reopening. The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission approved racing to resume at Parx and Penn National.

“Everybody is anxious to get back up and racing as soon as possible,” he said.

Presque Isle is located in Erie County, which last week was elevated from a “yellow” to “green” phase under Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 reopening plans. The move to the “green” phase has cleared the way for the track to reopen its casino June 26.

 

Original Source credited to: Bloodhorse.com

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