Don’t Miss The Upcoming Pennsylvania Derby!

September 21, 2024 | More Information Coming Soon!

The Pennsylvania Derby: A Time-Honored Tradition of Thoroughbred Racing at PARX Racing and Casino.

The Pennsylvania Derby is a magical time when the best thoroughbreds in the national race for victory at PARX Racing. Race fans rush the gates at 10 AM for their PA Derby hat and the perfect spot in the Picnic Grove! Horseplayers walk the crowded apron, chatting about their picks for the Big Pick 5.

At the starting gate of our state’s horse racing history, in post position one, stands the highly regarded annual Pennsylvania Derby at the PARX Racing and Casino, previously known as the Keystone Race Track and later as Philadelphia Park.

This prestigious thoroughbred horse racing event is open to three-year-old horses, who compete fiercely on a dirt track spanning 1.125 miles (1.811 km) or 9 furlongs. The Pennsylvania Derby holds Grade I status and has featured a purse of $1 million since 2007. However, in 2016, the prize fund was raised to $1.25 million due to the participation of two of three Triple Crown victors: Nyquist, the 2016 Kentucky Derby champion, and Exaggerator, the winner of the 2016 Preakness Stakes.

Tracing its rich history back to its inaugural edition on Memorial Day in 1979, the Pennsylvania Derby gained graded status in 1981, just two years later, enhancing its prestige. The race customarily took place on Labor Day between 1990 and 2009, except for 2006, due to significant renovations being completed. Despite the changes, the Derby continues to be a favorite event among horse racing fans.

Over the years, the Pennsylvania Derby has attracted some of the finest thoroughbreds from across the country, adding to the excitement and thrill of the event. Many noteworthy horses have etched their names into the race’s history, with notable winners like Broad Brush, Macho Uno, and the 2017 Kentucky Derby winner, Always Dreaming. In addition to the main race, the day features several other graded stakes races, ensuring an action-packed experience for horse racing enthusiasts.
The Pennsylvania Derby has continued to grow and has its purse size. From an initial offering of $200,000 in 1979, the purse has increased to $1 million in recent years, attracting competitive fields and the nation’s top jockeys. With live entertainment, food, and other festivities, the Pennsylvania Derby has evolved into a must-visit event on the horse racing calendar, drawing thousands of spectators from near and far.

The Pennsylvania Derby has become a significant milestone in the nation’s top thoroughbred racing careers. The event’s rich history and ongoing popularity are testaments to the dedication and passion of the local racing community, ensuring the Derby’s legacy will endure for generations to come.

Watch the 2023 PA Derby Live Broadcast on NBC Philly Sports!

Setting Records!

Time record: 1:46:96 – Bayern (2014)

Largest winning margin: Western Playboy – 17 lengths. (1989)

Most wins by a jockey:
3 – Joe Bravo (1994, 2003, 2008)
3 – Mike Smith (2017, 2018, 2022)

Most wins by a trainer: 4 – Bob Baffert (2014, 2017, 2018, 2022)

Past Champions

Year Winner
2023 Saudi Crown
2022 Taiba
2021 Hot Rod Charlie
2020 No race
2019 Math Wizard
2018 McKinzie
2017 West Coast
2016 Connect
2015 Frosted
2014 Bayern
2013 Will Take Charge
2012 Handsome Mike
2011 To Honor and Serve
2010 Morning Line
2009 Gone Astray
2008 Anak Nakal
2007 Timber Reserve
2006 No race
2005 Sun King
2004 Love of Money
2003 Grande Hombre
2002 Harlan’s Holiday
2001 Macho Uno
2000 Pine Dance
1999 Smart Guy
1998 Rock and Roll
1997 Frisk Me Now
1996 Devil’s Honor
1995 Pineing Patty
1994 Meadow Flight
1993 Wallenda
1992 Thelastcrusade
1991 Valley Crossing
1990 Summer Squall
1989 Western Playboy
1988 Cefis
1987 Afleet
1986 Broad Brush
1985 Skip Trial
1984 Morning Bob
1983 Dixieland Band
1982 Spanish Drums
1981 Summing
1980 Lively King
1979 Smarten


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