Horse players will have another outlet to handicap and bet as harness racing returns next week to Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack in Chester.
The 150-day live meeting, which will run from April 2 through Dec. 26, will take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons at 12:25 p.m., and Sunday afternoons at 12:40 p.m.
Harrah's Philadelphia casino is open under strict health and safety guidelines, according to its website. Coronavirus restrictions in the state will begin to ease in April.
For Pennsylvania horse racing bettors, a new, updated wagering menu will greet them. It will feature two Pick-4 wagers on each card, retaining the 50-cent base wager and 15% takeout.
On a typical 14-race program, the Pick-4s will begin in races 1 and 10; on shorter programs, the Pick-4s will comprise the first four and last four races. A new Pick-5 wager will be introduced, covering races 5-9 on each program and featuring a 50-cent base wager and an 18 percent takeout.
“We’re excited to offer players a more friendly wagering menu,” Barry Brown, director of racing operations at Harrah’s Philadelphia, said in a news release. “In this day and age, carryovers have become a focus among players, and our new menu creates the opportunity for those carryovers to build.”
The daily 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 has been removed from the menu in favor of three non-jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers on each card, to be offered in the third, ninth, and final races with a 50-cent base wager and a 15% takeout.
In a unique twist, Super Hi-5 pools will carry over in their entirety in the event of no winning tickets, as will superfecta (offered in all races without a Hi-5), Pick-3, Pick-4 and Pick-5 pools, the release said. Additionally, the takeout rates on trifecta and superfecta wagers have been reduced from 30% and 32% to 26%, increasing the ability for players to find value in those pools, as well.
“We wanted to get our trifecta and superfecta takeouts in line with other jurisdictions and some of the other Pennsylvania racetracks,” Brown said.
Last year, Ron Burke captured the track’s training win title, upending defending champion Gilbert Garcia-Owen by five wins. It was Burke's ninth local title, and also marked the first time he posted a “Pennsylvania sweep” — sending out the most winners also at The Meadows and Pocono.