Bill Bork, whose 35 years in racetrack management culminated in leading Penn National Race Course as it migrated into Penn National Gaming, Inc., died Monday in Reading, Pa., at the age of 80. Bork served 17 years on the Thoroughbred Racing Associations Board of Directors as at various times he was the representative of four different member racetracks – Penn National, Detroit Race Course, Canterbury Park, and Golden Gate Fields.
By his own count, Bork worked in management at about a dozen tracks, but his career was mostly closely associated with Penn National Race Course, which he joined in 1973 as president of Mountainview Racing Association at a time when the track's year-round dates were split between two separate organizations. Bork stayed at Penn National for 11 years, but left in 1984 and during the next 12 years worked primarily for Ladbroke. He returned to Penn National in 1996 to guide the Wyomissing, Pa., company's diversification into the casino gambling business and retired in 2001 as the president of what is now Penn National Gaming, the owner of 26 gaming facilities in the United States and Canada.
He began his racing career as the controller and assistant to the president for the William Penn Racing Association, which operated the defunct Liberty Bell Park in Philadelphia. He left that organization in 1972 to become president and general manager at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. Subsequently, and prior to moving to Mountainview, Bork oversaw five racetracks (Suffolk Downs, Fairmount Park, Wheeling Downs, Scarborough Downs, and Waterford Park) owned by the Ogden Corporation.
His wife, Sandy, and family, will receive visitors at the O'Brien Funeral Home in Brick, N.J., from 9:30-1:30 a.m. Saturday and a funeral mass will follow at noon the Roman Catholic Church of the Epiphany.
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