The Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association
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.
Parx Racing, formally Philadelphia Park, was known as Keystone Racetrack from its opening day on November 4, 1974 until International Thoroughbred Breeders (ITB) purchased the Bensalem Oval on December 28, 1984 for approximately $40,000,000. changing the name and look of the Bensalem Oval.
During the ITB reign, many major improvements took place, including the construction of a turf course, the development of the Phonebet system, and a live television show, developed to help bettors enjoy the daily racing card from Parx Racing. The show, “Philadelphia Park Live” was shown over local cable stations in the area.
Philadelphia Park changed hands again in December of 1990 with Greenwood Racing, Inc. taking control of the reins. Headed by British gaming entrepreneurs Robert Green and William Hogwood, Greenwood Racing acquired the package of a racetrack facility, the Phonebet system, and the rights to the future development of up to six off-track betting sites in the Philadelphia area for a sum exceeding $67 million.
In 2004, a small Chestnut Colt, born in Chester County, PA 3 years earlier, won the heart of the nation when he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Smarty Jones brought world-wide attention to the Bensalem Racetrack and became instrumental in the passing of the long awaited Slots Bill. On July 4th, 2004, PA Governor Ed Rendell signed the bill into law in the Winner’s Circle of Philadelphia Park.
The Casino was temporarily located on the first and third floors of the racetrack and opened on December 18, 2006. The standalone Casino opened on December 18, 2009 to rave reviews.