Playfair Race Course has an agreement in place to send its races to Philadelphia Park and five Pennsylvania off-track betting sites, possibly as early as Sunday night, the track’s chief executive officer said Friday.
Playfair CEO Don Johnson said the Spokane track is awaiting approval from the Washington Horse Racing Commission before simulcasting to the Philadelphia Park network, that does $50 million annually on horse racing nationally.
The Spokane track will receive 3 percent of the parimutuel wagering money handled on Playfair’s races in Pennsylvania, Johnson said.
“That (Pennsylvania) would be our window to getting into other locations back East,” he said. “If we can get things lined out here, which we will, I’ll go back to New Jersey and Maryland to see what the response is to getting our signal into those locations.
“New York might be tougher because of (state) statutes that determine what thoroughbred signals they can bring in after a certain time at night,” Johnson said.
Interest nationally in Playfair centers on Sunday and Monday nights, general manager Kim Rich said.
“If we went Tuesday nights, we’d have even more interest,” she said.
That may prompt track officials to seek racing commission approval to add racing on Tuesday nights, and drop Friday nights from the live racing calendar, Rich said.
Other states are expected to take the Playfair signal after Labor Day, when it starts on Monday nights.
Playfair offers on-site racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through this month.
The second stakes race of the season, the Playfair Distaff, is tonight’s feature. Eight horses go postward. Top weight of 122 pounds was assigned to Weave Away, who breaks from the No. 2 hole with jockey Jody Davidson.
Also entered in the $5,000-added, 6-furlong sprint are Sydney My Love, with Marty Wentz to ride; G.J.’s Playgirl (Frank Best); All Fire (Sean Evans); Rolls Belle (Vince Ward); Quackgrass Sally (Darrell Brinkerhoff); Gauche Luck (Leslie Mawing); and Karen’s Tuition (Lane Rennaker).
Director of Racing Ted Martin said 177 horses were originally entered for tonight’s card.
“We just couldn’t ask for much more from our horsemen,” he said.
Playfair is running only eight races nightly to conform with “the money we’ve anticipated for purses,” Martin said.
The track is averaging more than nine horses per race, Martin said. “That’s outstanding when you realize that some of our races are 4 furlongs, when we can only start eight. These horsemen are here to run, and they’re running tough.”
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