Spring is about to blossom. And with it, the Pennsylvania horse racing scene will flourish even further, too.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association released its 2023 stakes schedule for state-bred horses, with 29 stakes races set for Pennsylvania tracks this year, including seven for PA-Sired PA-Bred runners.
Two-year-old horses will also gain a few extra opportunities in 2023, thanks to the special Stallion Series expanding in its second year to a total of six stakes worth nearly $1 million.
PA horse racing stakes schedule kicks off in April at Parx Casino
The PA-Sired PA-Bred stakes schedule begins on Monday, April 24 at Parx Racing in Bensalem with the Unique Bella for fillies and mares. The Page McKenney Handicap will also be held that day, with each race set for seven furlongs for older horses.
A few weeks later, the action shifts to Penn National Race Course in Grantville. On Friday, June 2, the Penn Mile Card will feature four $100,000 stakes races, with two for three-year-olds and two on the turf for older horses
In July, Presque Isle Downs and Casino will host the first of five $100,000 Pennsylvania-bred stakes.
PA Horse Breeders Association’s ‘Super Bowl’ set for August
A month later, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association’s biggest event, Pennsylvania’s Day at the Races, will feature seven $100,000 stakes races.
The events, which will be held on Monday, August 21 at Parx, include the first legs of the two-year-old, PA-Sired, PA-Bred Stallion Series – the Whistle Pig and Miss Blue Tye Dye (for fillies). The races are run at 5 1/2 furlongs and highlight some of the best state-bred runners.
Then in September, about four months after betting on the Kentucky Derby is complete, Pennsylvania will hold its version at Parx. Pennsylvania Derby Day is scheduled for Sept. 23 and will feature the Prince Lucky and Imply (for fillies). Each race is worth $150,000 and will run at a distance of 6 1/2 furlongs.
In total, four state-bred stakes races will be held on Pennsylvania Derby Day.
PA-Bred stakes schedule extends throughout the fall
It all continues at Penn National in November with the $200,000 Shamrock Rose Stakes for juvenile fillies on Thanksgiving eve.
Then, the $200,000 Pennsylvania Nursery will run at Parx six days later. Finally, the PA-Sired PA-Bred racing season will conclude on December 27.
New races this year include the $200,000 Wait For It Stakes and the $200,000 Miss Behaviour Stakes (for fillies), which will be run at 1 mile and 70 yards.
A purse bonus of 25% for all PA-Sired PA-Breds in any non-PA-Sired stakes will also remain in effect this year.
PA horse racing has a presence across the state
Overall, Pennsylvania has six major tracks that are a part of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association. Those tracks are:
- Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania – Wilkes-Barre
- Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack – Chester
- Penn National Race Course at the Hollywood Casino – Grantville
- The Meadows Racetrack at the Hollywood Casino – Washington
- Parx Racing at the Parx Casino – Bensalem
- Presque Isle Downs and Casino – Erie
Those racetracks typically have live racing at least three days a week throughout the year, so there is plenty of action available beyond the races reserved for state-bred horses.
You can find the 2023 racing schedule for around the state here.