PA harness tracks to offer 436 programs in 2023

Harrisburg, PA — The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission on Nov. 29 awarded the state’s three standardbred tracks a combined 436 live racing programs for 2023, down slightly from 2022. Each track also was granted a three-year renewal of its operating license.

Hollywood Casino at The Meadows leads the way with 170 racing dates as part of its year-round schedule. This year, The Meadows was awarded 183 racing programs.

The number of dates for the other two harness tracks are unchanged from 2022. Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania was awarded 136, while Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack was approved for 130.

The Meadows will race from Jan. 4-Dec. 29. The calendar shows live racing three days a week (Wednesday through Friday) in January, February, and March — with a one-week break at the beginning of April — and in October, November and December. Racing will be held four days a week (Wednesday through Saturday) from April through mid-September, with a one-week break in September before three-day weeks begin again.

With the exception of an earlier post on Triple Crown Saturdays and Adios Day, the standard first post will be 12:45 p.m. Scott Lishia, director of racing at The Meadows, said the Friday post time for 16 weeks from late May through early September will be 5:10 p.m., as it was this year, as part of an effort to grow live attendance for racing heading into weekends.

Pocono will kick off their 2023 harness racing schedule Feb. 18 and conclude its meet Oct. 31. Racing will be held Saturday and Sunday in February; Saturday through Monday in March; Saturday through Tuesday from April through August; and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday in September and October, with no racing Sept. 6-10. First post time will be 1 p.m. with the exception of Sundays, when the cards will begin at 3 p.m.

Harrah’s Philadelphia will race from April 2-Dec. 31. Racing will be held three days a week (Sunday, Thursday and Friday) through mid-May, and then four days a week (Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) through August. From September through December, most weeks will feature racing Sunday, Thursday and Friday.

The usual first post times remain in place: 12:25 p.m. weekdays and 12:40 p.m. on Sundays. Barry Brown, director of racing operations at Harrah’s Philadelphia, said night racing will return to the calendar in 2023 on select Fridays in the fall.

Racing will be held at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, which fall on Sundays in 2023.

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