Columbus, OH -- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is rising swiftly from its foundation and poised to become one of the most remarkable harness racing facilities in central Ohio.
Set to start its first race over the five-eighths mile track built under the supervision of Greg Coon on Friday, October 3, the new oval promises to be another shining star in a galaxy of world-class gaming destinations owned and operated by Penn National Gaming.
Long-time horseman and racetrack executive, Mark Loewe noted, "Penn National Gaming is excited to bring a first class gaming and racing facility to the Dayton market. Following the traditions that started in 1972 with the first Penn National racetrack, Red Carpet experiences are the standard at all our properties and Dayton will continue that tradition."
As the vice president of Ohio racing operations, Loewe (pronounced Low--'ee) certainly has his hands full in the Buckeye State. Not only has the hard-working native New Yorker been overseeing the transition from the transfer of Raceway Park in Toledo to the Dayton facility, but Loewe is also responsible for overseeing the transfer of racing from Beulah Park to the new Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, a new Thoroughbred track which is also under construction.
In addition to the racetracks, Penn National Gaming also owns and operates two stand alone casinos in the great state of Ohio. Hollywood Casino Columbus and Hollywood Casino Toledo are both up and running and a big part of the firm's success in the mid-west. Nonetheless, the highly anticipated grand opening of the harness track at Dayton remains high on the list of Loewe's priorities.
During a recent tour of the Montgomery County facilities, it was clear to our group what a strong commitment Loewe and Penn National have placed in the Dayton structure. In addition to the $125 million in construction costs, the firm also paid the state a $50 million casino license fee and a $75 million relocation fee to move Raceway Park. An identical investment has been made in the Austintown plant, bringing a half billion dollar outlay to Ohio horse racing.
Nationwide, Penn National owns and/or operates 18 casinos, 7 racetracks and 7 racinos. They have a large stake in the future of racing, and Mark Loewe shares that commitment. Having worked his way up through the ranks at Penn National over the last six years, first as General Manager of the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club and then as Vice President of Racing at Penn National Racecourse in Grantville, Pennsylvania, Loewe has proven himself a capable leader with horse sense.
With his boots on the ground and a sharp eye on the progress, Loewe has been actively involved in the planning and construction of the facility, especially the areas that effect horsemen. Loewe and company "are confident that the Ohio harness racing community will enthusiastically embrace the amenities and opportunities at Ohio's newest harness racetrack."
The race paddock houses 140 stalls, enough for a 14-race card. Each 10' x 12' stall has full drainage for bathing with floor mats. Every detail has been considered and implemented to ensure that horses and horse people have a first-class facility in which to race. The construction, staffing and ancillary jobs associated with project will employ around 1,000.
The five-eighths mile track, designed and installed under the supervision of the famed Coon brothers, sports twelve degree turns and an all-weather stone dust. By all accounts, Dayton promises to be a prominent and exciting new place to race harness horses.
by Chris Tully