The Pennsylvania-bred stakes schedule received a major boost for the remainder of the year, with four stakes doubling in value to $200,000, plus the addition of two $100,000 stakes. A total of $2.6 million in purses will now be paid out in restricted, state-bred stakes in 2021.
“Our revenue has stabilized and the Race Horse Development Trust Fund has stood strong,” Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association's executive secretary Brian Sanfratello said. “We wanted to send a message that Pennsylvania is on the move and the premier place to breed and race.”
Purses have been increased for the year-end 2-year-old stakes, the Shamrock Rose for fillies at Penn National Nov. 26 and the Pennsylvania Nursery at Parx Racing Dec. 7, as well as the Alphabet Soup and Plum Pretty for older runners on Parx Racing's rich Sept. 25 Pennsylvania Derby card. Returning to the schedule are two six-furlong 3-year-old stakes cut earlier in the year–the New Start for fillies, and the Danzig–both to run at Penn National Oct. 22.
Elizabeth Merryman, chair of the PHBA racing committee, says the increases come at an opportune time.
“We're making up for last year,” she explained, noting the reductions to the PHBA Breeding Fund due to COVID-19, as well as attempts by the governor to alter the Fund, which have since been resolved. “Now that things have gotten much more stabilized, it's great that we can add stakes and put big purses on the 2-year-old stakes at the right time of the year, where they can catch the attention of people making buying decisions at the sales. Buyers are going to look closer at the PA-breds, which helps the breeders.
She continued, “We're giving away substantial sums of money and the program is getting bigger and stronger. It helps the breeders by advertising the program.”