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 worked at, by his own count, about a dozen racetracks, both Thoroughbred and Standardbred.
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. He also worked at Detroit Race Course, Canterbury Park, and Golden Gate Fields.
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 is survived by his wife, Sandra; three children, Jennifer Anderson, William J. Bork III and Joseph Robert Bork; seven grandchildren; and his brother Robert, also a racing executive.
A native of New Jersey, funeral services were scheduled to be held in Brielle, NJ.