Parx Racing has scheduled 31 stakes worth a cumulative $6 million for its 2016 season. The schedule is similar to last year, but the bottom stakes purse has been raised from $75,000 to $100,000, and the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby will follow the Travers at Saratoga by four weeks rather than three weeks, as it did in 2015.
When Parx released its 2015 stakes schedule a year ago, it consisted of 30 stakes worth $5.6 million. Sam Elliott, the track’s director of racing, later added five $150,000 stakes during the track’s inaugural Fall Festival, bringing the total value of last year’s schedule to $6.35 million.
One of the added stakes, the Pennsylvania Derby Champion – Frosted, is part of this year’s schedule. The race, whose name has been tweaked slightly this year, was called the Bayern in 2015. It is named in honor of the previous season’s Pennsylvania Derby winner.
“I wouldn’t rule out making further additions to the stakes schedule once we finalize our plans for this year’s festival,” Elliott said. “We should have an announcement on the festival in a few weeks.”
Ten stakes have had their purses boosted from $75,000 to $100,000.
“Given the current purse structure on the East Coast, I just didn’t think $75,000 had enough of an impact,” Elliott said.
The Pennsylvania Derby; the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion; the Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob; and two other supporting stakes will be run Sept. 24. In 2015, they were run Sept. 19, three weeks after the Travers. The closer spacing may have cost the Pennsylvania Derby one or more important horses.
“We couldn’t move the race back a week because Pope Francis was in Philadelphia on the 26th and the 27th,” Elliott said. “There was too much going on in the area.”
The Grade 3, $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, the local prep for the Pennsylvania Derby, was moved to Aug. 29 last year, three weeks before the Pennsylvania Derby and the same day as the Travers. This year, it will return to its usual spot on Labor Day, Sept. 5. That day’s card also will include the Grade 3, $300,000 Turf Monster; the Grade 3, $200,000 Greenwood Cup; and the $200,000 Turf Amazon.
The Saturday of Labor Day weekend will be Pennsylvania’s Day at the Races, when five $100,000 stakes for statebreds will be run.
There are two other graded stakes on the Parx calendar, the Grade 3, $200,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial on July 4 and the Grade 3, $200,000 Parx Dash on July 9.
The first stakes of the year will be held on Kentucky Derby Day, May 7, when a trio of $100,000 stakes will be held: the My Juliet, the Parx Derby, and the Parx Oaks.
2016 Parx Racing stakes schedule
|Sat., May 7||My Juliet Stakes||3YO & UP F&M||6F||$100,000|
|Sat., May 7||Parx Derby||3YO Open||1M 70YDS||$100,000|
|Sat., May 7||Parx Oaks||3YO Fillies||1M 70YDS||$100,000|
|Sat., May 14||Foxy J G||3YO & UP F&M*||7F||$100,000|
|Sat., May 14||Lyman Stakes||3YO & UP Open*||7F||$100,000|
|Sat., June 4||Jostle Stakes||3YO Fillies||6 1/2F||$100,000|
|Sat., June 18||Donald LeVine Memorial||3YO & UP Open||7F||$100,000|
|Sat., June 25||Turning for Home Stakes||3YO & UP Open||1M 70YDS||$100,000|
|Mon., July 4||Dr. James Penny Memorial (G3)||3YO & UP F&M||1 1/16M (T)||$200,000|
|Sat., July 9||Parx Dash (G3)||3YO & UP Open||5F (T)||$200,000|
|Sat., July 23||Crowd Pleaser Stakes||3YO Open*||1 1/16M (T)||$100,000|
|Sat., July 23||Power By Far Stakes||3YO & UP F&M*||5F (T)||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Marshall Jenney Stakes||3YO & UP Open*||5F (T)||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Mrs. Penney Stakes||3YO & UP F&M*||1 1/16M (T)||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Roanoke Stakes||3YO & UP Open*||1 1/16M||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Banjo Picker Stakes||3YO & UP Open*||6F||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Dr. Teresa Garofol Memorial||3YO Fillies*||7F||$100,000|
|Mon., Sept. 5||Smarty Jones Stakes (G3)||3YO Open||1M 70YDS||$300,000|
|Mon., Sept. 5||Greenwood Cup (G3)||3YO & UP Open||1 1/2M||$200,000|
|Mon., Sept. 5||Turf Monster (G3)||3YO & UP Open||5F (T)||$300,000|
|Mon., Sept. 5||Turf Amazon||3YO & UP F&M||5F (T)||$200,000|
|Sat., Sept. 10||PTHA President’s Cup||3YO & UP Open||1 1/8M (T)||$200,000|
|Sat., Sept. 24||Cotillion Stakes (G1)||3YO Fillies||1 1/16M||$1 million|
|Sat., Sept. 24||Pennsylvania Derby (G2)||3YO Open||1 1/8M||$1 million|
|Sat., Sept. 24||Gallant Bob Stakes (G3)||3YO Open||6F||$300,000|
|Sat., Sept. 24||Aplhabet Soup Stakes||3YO & UP Open*||1 1/16M (T)||$100,000|
|Sat., Sept. 24||PA Derby Champion Stakes||3YO & UP Open||1 1/16M||$150,000|
|Sat., Oct. 8||Plum Pretty Stakes||3YO & UP F&M*||1 1/16M||$100,000|
|Sat., Nov. 12||Christopher Elser Memorial||2YO Open**||6 1/2F||$75,000|
|Sat., Nov. 12||Done Freyer Stakes||2YO Fillies**||6 1/2F||$75,000|
|Sat., Dec. 3||Pennsylvania Nursery||2YO Open*||7F||$100,000|
**South Carolina residency
Source: Racing Daily Form