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New Pennsylvania Harness Racing Facility Opens

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The grand opening today of Pennsylvania's first new harness track in 41 years, Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack in Chester, represents a major advancement for the state's agricultural industry and economy, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said.

"Pennsylvania's harness horse racing industry is a vital part of agriculture and the state's economy," said Wolff. "This new facility was designed with both horsemen and spectators in mind, providing fans with an up- close, live experience and more opportunities to learn about the industry."

The facility will bring more than 900 new jobs to the area, including drivers, trainers, security, maintenance and other non-racing positions. Harness horsemen will also profit, with a projected purse outlay of $200,000 per racing day, putting Chester in the top tier of North American racetracks.

In addition to Pennsylvania's two existing harness tracks, The Meadows and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, races are held at 14 of the state's county and community fairs. Pennsylvania is also home to the world's largest breeder of standardbred horses, Hanover Shoe Farms. Hanover has been the national leader in harness racing since recordkeeping began in the 1950's.

Pennsylvania hosts the world's largest standardbred horse sale at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center. In each of the past two years, gross sales have topped $50 million.

"Pennsylvania has always been a great state for breeding and racing horses," said Wolff. "With the addition of gaming and state-of-the-art racing facilities, we expect to see even more interest in racing, and that will benefit all Pennsylvanians."

The Department of Agriculture's Harness Racing Commission regulates all aspects of standardbred racing and pari-mutuel wagering at both facilities and all off-track wagering facilities around the state.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission or the harness racing industry, visit http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/, and click on 'Commissions and Councils.'


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