They are giving away $1 million tomorrow at Philadelphia Park. Well, it must be earned, but the cash is there for owners if their horses show well in Pennsylvania Day at the Races.
What was a modest event has become much more serious with the advent of slots money. Modeled after the highly successful Maryland Million (which was conceived by ABC's Jim McKay after he was so taken by the Breeders' Cup), Pa. Day at the Races is for horses bred in Pennsylvania or sired by stallions standing in Pennsylvania.
Six of the 10 races are for Pa.-breds. The other four are for offspring of Pennsylvania sires. Eight of the races have $100,000 purses. The Flatterer Hurdle is a 2-1/16-mile jump race with a $75,000 purse.
The $125,000 Smarty Jones Classic, named for the greatest Pa.-bred of them all, is the 10th race on the card. A horse named Delaware River is the likely favorite in the Smarty Jones.
Other high-class names on the card that are familiar to Pha players include Raging Rapids (in the Northern Fling Handicap), Banjo Picker (Devil's Honor Handicap), and Cantrel, Hailie's Girl and S W Aly'svalentine (all in the Ambassador of Luck Handicap).
There are races going short and long, dirt and turf. And $1 million in purses on the line, starting at 12:25 p.m.
Derby winner returns
Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense is geared up for his first start since losing the Preakness by an eyelash. The colt, already stabled at Saratoga, is supposed to go in Sunday's Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, a prep for the Aug. 25 Travers Stakes.
Preakness winner Curlin is nearing his first start since losing the Belmont Stakes by inches to Rags To Riches. Curlin, also stabled at Saratoga, will race in the Aug. 5 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. Trainer Steve Asmussen has not committed to the Travers at this point, saying the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Classic is the ultimate goal. *