The installation of a new safety rail at Parx has taken longer than expected, due to winter storm Jonas as well as several additional issues. According to drf.com, Parx officials have decided to push back the start of the race meeting one week, beginning Feb. 20 instead of the anticipated Feb. 13.
Parx closed for training on Jan. 3, allowing for the two-to-three-week window that director of racing Sam Elliot had carved out to install the new safety rail. The first snag was that holes dug for the posts filled up with groundwater, causing the decision to dig further drainage ditches. This was followed by 24 inches of snow on Jan. 23. Initially expected to open for training last week, Elliot is now expected to open the track on Wednesday or Thursday, allowing the track superintendent time to smooth out the imprint of heavy machinery on the track’s base.
The four racing days lost will be made up by running on Sundays in April, according to Elliot. Executive director of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Mike Ballezzi says that local horsemen are supportive of the decision to push back the start of racing, as it gives them more time to train over the track before having to enter: “The horsemen think it’s a smart move, and they’re thankful for the extra time to train. Nobody I’ve spoken to has objected once I’ve explained it.”