Today, via a press release:
Total all-sources wagering on the entire ten-race card at Penn National was $3,658,996, shattering the previous all-sources handle record for a single card of $2,173,921, which was set on December 26, 1998.
The Penn Mile was the final leg of an All Stakes Early Pick 4 that handled $199,514 all-sources, eclipsing the previous record Pick 4 by more than $100,000.
“On every possible level, tonight was a huge success,” said Dan Silver, director of racing operations at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. “The racing department here – including racing secretary Dave Bailey, stakes coordinator Craig Lytel, and assistant racing secretary Jenny Bowman – put together the best card in the history of Penn National Race Course, and it was great to see people on track and around the country respond so enthusiastically. We’re thankful for the strong support demonstrated for our races by the horsemen and it was exciting to see so many tremendous stakes performances tonight, highlighted by Rydilluc’s thrilling win in the first ever Penn Mile. The on-track atmosphere was electric, and we are thrilled that so many fans came to the track to enjoy a terrific night of racing!”
So there is a press release from Penn National - a track which (over the years) has been mostly in the news for either high takeouts, or a scandal of some sort - that's positive. A new day was created and people were betting and watching and talking about it in a good way.
I had a chat with Dan Silver a couple of years ago when he worked at NYRA and he struck me as 'one of those peeps' that enjoys racing, gets the game and has a passion for it. I was pleased he got his new job at Penn, and thought (think) it was a tremendous hire by Chris et al.
I was going to see if I could get in touch with him today about this new Penn day to see how it was organized and created, but I was pretty busy. However, I would bet he had a lot to do with this new venture.
We are seeing a few of these type folks pop up in racing. Dan, Raj at Hastings, Jason Settlemoir at the Meadowlands. Maybe they have not worked in racing long enough to be jaded. Maybe someday they, like so many others, will be frustrated with the game, and its lack of change. But until then we should be glad racing has them.