Fans of live horse racing are making their way to the stands to watch new and returning faces take to the track this season.
Live horse racing has returned to Erie and fans can expect a slight change to this year’s schedule.
“This year our 2023 season is eighty race days compressed from one hundred and really that has to do with the available purse money and we’re trying to be competitive with the horsemen and what we’ve paid in the past to remain a competitive attraction for them,” said Matthew Ennis, senior director of operations, Presque Isle Downs and Casino.
Ennis said the return of the season brings energy to the casino environment for everyone.
“Even if you’re not a horse racing fan, we have food trucks it’s a great environment beverage. Come out as a family we have family-oriented style presentations that we put on here to attract all Erie community members,” Ennis added.
A four-time winning jockey explained how he is preparing to race six horses as he makes his return to the track.
“Before the race, I do a nice stretch try to mood ready to muscle and the mentality,” said Antonio Gallardo, four-time winning jockey.
Gallardo added he is excited to return to Presque Isle Downs and Casino’s track because it is different and he understands it.
The senior director of operations said this synthetic track material is unique to the racing experience.
“This is one of the safest surfaces in the world really so we are very fortunate to have that surface and allow for a very safe environment for the horses and the jockeys,” said Ennis.
Gallardo also gave advice to anyone interested in horse racing.
“You have to love the horse that is for sure you have to really like it because it’s going to be hard you have to be strong in your head because sometimes you’re doing good and sometimes there’s a lot of stress. Be ready in your muscle and work hard for sure,” Gallardo said.
The director of operations said races will begin at 3 pm this season.