Pennsylvania has grown to be a major player on the Thoroughbred racing scene thanks to the advent of expanded gambling in the state which fueled inflated purses and rejuvenated the breeding industry. Despite significant competition from flourishing racing programs in nearby states such as Maryland and New York, Pennsylvania conducts year round racing with enough big days to attract plenty of horsemen and fans.
OTB Pennsylvania Betting Sites
Online racebooks allow fans to get in on OTB action wherever they have an internet connection through either a computer or mobile device. These sites offer safe, secure and legal online wagering with the convenience of being able to place your wagers on the go. In addition, most sites offer competitive promotion and rebates so you can compare and find which site allows you to get the most bang for your buck.
Pennsylvania Race Tracks
Parx Racing has undergone several name changes over the years since it opened in 1974 under the name Keystone Racetrack. It then morphed into Philadelphia Park and from there, once the state had expanded gaming, the track reopened under the name Parx Racing as a full racino. Parx Racing is best known as the home base of Smarty Jones, the winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes who fell short of glory in the Belmont Stakes. Parx holds live racing from February through December.
Also in Pennsylvania is Penn National Race Course which races pretty much year-round. The track opened in 1972 and a casino was added in 2008. The track has a one mile main track and a seven furlong turf course and many of their premier events are held on grass.
The newest addition to the Pennsylvania racing scene is Presque Isle Downs which opened in 2007. Presque Isle races from May through October and is the only Thoroughbred track in the state to offer a synthetic main track – they have a Tapeta surface.
Pennsylvania Horse Races
The biggest races in the state are held at Parx Racing and the track offers two events worth $1 million each. The first is the Cotillion Stakes, a Grade 1 event for three-year-old fillies and the second is the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby for three-year-old colts. The races have grown in prominence each year and have become some of the most important fall events on the calendar. Both mark one of the final opportunities for three-year-olds to compete against age-restricted company before they have to face open competition in the Breeders’ Cup.
In 2016, the Pennsylvania Derby made a strong case for a bump to Grade 1 status when the race attracted both Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness winner Exaggerator. The Cotillion featured the undefeated Songbird who did not disappoint.
Penn National’s signature event is also restricted to three-year-olds – the Grade 3 event has a purse of $500,000 and is traditionally held in early summer. In 2016, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf winner Catch a Glimpse successfully faced male rivals and won.
Presque Isle Downs features the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters, a Grade 2 sprint that has attracted top horses like Breeders’ Cup champion Groupie Doll who won the race in both 2012 and 2013.
Off Track Betting in Pennsylvania
OTB locations in Pennsylvania are monitored by PA Racing, which oversees all racing and pari-mutuel wagering activities. These sanctioned wagering sites allow players to place bets on races away from the track in which they take place, giving fans a chance to join in the excitement of the most prestigious events in the world.