Penn National had been the brainchild of several civic leaders from Central Pennsylvania who established the track very early with 100 racing dates in the first year alone. Moreover, back in 1983, Penn was also instrumental in the invention of telephone betting.
On August 30, 1972, a thoroughbred horse racing track (which offers racing 52 weeks a year, making it unusual among United States thoroughbred tracks) and casino was opened located at Grantville, Pennsylvania, 17 miles (27 km) east of Harrisburg. It is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by Penn National Gaming.
In 2011, the track officially started to offer evening racing on Monday and Tuesday nights, which made it one of the few Thoroughbred tracks to offer live racing on these days.
The main dirt track with a sandy loam surface is one mile in circumference, with the inner turf course measuring seven furlongs that feature Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet. The turf course is 7/8 mile with a Bermuda grass surface and a 1 1/8 chute. The stable area can accommodate 1,400 horses with 20 stall stakes barn. They also offer over 750 games and restaurants, cafes, arcades, and park areas.