ERIE, Pa. — Presque Isle Downs & Casino brought its 10th season of live thoroughbred horse racing to a close Thursday.
Corry resident Laurie Gates said, “I hate to see it end for the season. It’s a fun thing to do. It doesn’t cost you a lot, if you don’t want it to.”
The venue opened in Summit Township in 2007. It has since been credited for boosting tourism and contributing millions of dollar to the region from gambling revenue.
On the last day of the 100-date season, two stake races had people vying for $100,000 purses.
Jessica Armant, of Erie, offered up her secret to gambling. “I bet on my favorite numbers and it’s got to be a good name,” she said.
Meanwhile, leading trainer Gerald Brooks shared a tip for jockeys. “Well, the main thing is keeping your horses fit and finding the right category that they belong in. If your horses ain’t in the right category, they’re not going to win, he said.
Pablo Morales is used to winning. He was presented an award for leading jockey at the event. He said, “I had no idea where Erie was before. And I came here one time and I loved it. I mean, the place treats us great, the racetrack is super nice and great (in) condition. The area is beautiful. So, I love it here.”
Andrew Demsky, track handicapper, said, “Such a small track–like an intimate facility that we are here–where you can get up close to the horses when they’re being saddled. You can get right along the rail during the races. It’s kind of a cool way to develop new fans.”
The racetrack is growing so popular that it is constructing a new barn. It will house house 48 new stables, which would bring the total to 852.
Armant said Presque Isle Down & Casino is “an asset to the community.” She explained, “to be able to have live horse racing a mile from my home is really great.”
Attendance numbers for the season were not immediately available. The live racing is expected to return in late May 2018.