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Jun 16, 2006

Pennsylvania Derby cancelled for 2006


Bensalem, PA (Sports Network) - Philadelphia Park management has announced that the Pennsylvania Derby will not be run in 2006. The racetrack's premier event will return in 2007.

"After reviewing all of our options, for the safety and comfort of our patrons, we simply felt the most prudent thing to do would be to cancel the race," said track CEO Hal Handel.

Philadelphia Park is undergoing major renovations for the expected beginning of slot machine gambling later this year.

"With the facility extremely limited because of all of the construction," continued Handel, "we felt that we could not comfortably handle the kind of crowds that we expect here on Labor Day. While we all are disappointed that racing fans here will be denied the state's biggest race, we are very excited about the prospects for 2007 when we plan to bring back the Pennsylvania Derby bigger and better than ever."

The Pennsylvania Derby has been the centerpiece of Philadelphia Park's schedule since its inception on Memorial Day in 1979. Among the three-year-old thoroughbreds that have won the 1 1/8 mile race are Summing in 1981 and Broad Brush in 1986. Summing went on to win the Belmont Stakes and Broad Brush was third in the Kentucky Derby.

The race has been held on Labor Day since 1990. Hall of Fame jockeys Angel Cordero, Pat Day and Gary Stevens all rode winners in the race. Edgar Prado won the Pennsylvania Derby in 2002 with Harlan's Holiday.

The Pennsylvania Derby purse has been $750,000 the last three runnings. Management has indicated that the value will increase with the introduction of slot machines.

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