Hit the Jackpot at PA’s Racetrack Casinos

From the grandstand at Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack, you can watch majestic, muscular ponies stampede around the oval. The thunder of the hooves drowns out all but the pleading, praying, screaming and cheering of the gathered masses.
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Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre. Photo by Curtis Salonick, racehorsephoto.com.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre. Photo by Curtis Salonick, racehorsephoto.com.

The combination of gaming machines and horse racing across the state has reinvigorated Pennsylvania’s horse breeding industry.

“If it wasn’t for the bill allowing casinos and horse gaming, there wouldn’t be a horse industry in the state anymore,” says Bill Solomon, a veterinarian and owner of Pin Oak Lane Farm in New Freedom. “It’s kept us alive.”

Pennsylvania’s adoption of gaming has inspired sparkling new casinos and rebuilt racetracks that dazzle the senses, entertain the soul, feed the body and — with a little luck — line the purse.

There are six racetracks with casinos in the state, including Harrah’s, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course near Harrisburg, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Washington, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, PARX Casino & Racetrack in Bensalem and Presque Isle Downs in Erie.

Pennsylvania has a rich history of raising winning horses: A PA farm foaled Lil E. Tee, the 1992 Kentucky Derby Winner — just one of the many championship horses with connections to the state. Recent Kentucky Derby winners Smarty Jones and Barbaro were raised in Chester County.

Famed sportsman Samuel Riddle raised Man o’War — considered among the greatest thoroughbreds of all time — on his Delaware County farm, just miles from Harrah’s facility. He also raced Man o’War’s son, War Admiral, the 1937 Triple Crown winner. 

Try your luck at one of these six racetracks — and if you need a little music to get your giddy-up, Track Pack PA, an organization that has the scoop on all things PA horseracing-related, has developed a soundtrack to get hollering on the sidelines.

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