Ten Things to Know Before You Go: Pennsylvania Derby

Events / Travel
With top fields and a giveaway at Parx, there are multiple reasons to smile on Saturday. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

This year’s Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing is shaping up to be one of the most crucial 3-year-old races of 2019. If you’re planning a trip to the track this Saturday, we have ten things you need to know before you go!

1. Some heavy hitters are heading to Parx.

If you want to watch a competitive race this year, then you need to come to the Pennsylvania Derby. Probable contenders include Maximum Security, who had a very interesting Kentucky Derby; War of Will, the Preakness winner; Mr. Money, who’s won his four last races; Improbable, who was second in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby and won the Shared Belief Stakes in his last start; as well as several other tough contenders.

2. This race may hold the key to the 3-year-old championships.

It’s mid-September, and we still don’t have a clear idea of who the best 4-year-old Thoroughbred in the nation is. The Pennsylvania Derby is going to be a huge deciding factor in that, since a lot of the top contenders for year-end honors will be running. Want to see the best of the best? Then you need to get to Parx on Saturday.

3. The Pennsylvania Derby has an incredible 40-year history.

Serious horses run in the Pennsylvania Derby. In the last five years alone, luminaries such as McKinzie, West Coast, Connect, Gun Runner, Nyquist, Exaggerator, Frosted, Bayern, and California Chrome have all run in the race.

4. The Cotillion Stakes is stacked, too.

The Cotillion Stakes is the sister race to the Pennsylvania Derby, and it’s going to be a good one: you have Kentucky Oaks hero Serengeti Empress facing off against the likes of Guarana, Jeltrin, Jaywalk, Bellafina, and more!

5.  The winner of the Cotillion is heading to the World Championships.

The Cotillion Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In for the first time this year, and that means the race’s winner has a free berth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. And this race is a funnel to victory in the World Championships. In the last five years, the Distaff winner has competed in the Cotillion twice: Monomoy Girl (2018), and Untapable (2014).

6. There’s a hat waiting for you at the track!

Every year, Parx gives away a souvenir Pennsylvania Derby hat to fans while supplies last. This year’s edition is an eye-catching pumpkin color, so you’ll be set for a fall topper!

7. Bring the family.

If you have kids, Pennsylvania Derby day is the perfect time to bring the family to the track. There will be pony rides, face painters, a moon bounce, temporary tattoos and more from 12p.m. - 5p.m. Also on the docket are live music, horse shoe decorating, a jockey T-shirt toss, and more!

8.  You might meet someone famous!

If you’re a fan of the human athletes in horse racing, you’ll love the Pennsylvania Derby. That’s because some of the biggest jockeys and trainers in the sport will be in the Philadelphia area this Saturday to compete in the afternoon’s races. So be sure to bring your phone to get some photos!

9. NBC is coming to town.

This year, the Pennsylvania Derby will air on NBC. So when you’re at the track, keep your eyes peeled for stars like Britney Eurton, Randy Moss, Eddie Olczyk, Jerry Baily, and Matt Bernier!

10. Know when to arrive.

Gates open at 11a.m. on Pennsylvania Derby day, and post time for the first race is 12:25. While the big races won’t start until later in the afternoon, it’s a good idea to get there a little early if you want to secure a great spot to watch the races (or snag a hat before supplies run out!) To get more information on the afternoon, be sure to check out the Pennsylvania Derby page on Parx’s site.

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