PA Derby Upgraded to G1

Media Contact:
Keith Jones

For Immediate Release: Saturday, December 3, 2016


The Pennsylvania Derby is now a Grade 1 race. Following a unanimous vote by the American Graded Stakes Committee this Wednesday, Parx Racing's signature event can now be mentioned among the nation's top races for three year-olds.

"We're very gratified that the Committee has now recognized the race as being one of the premier races in the country," remarked track COO Joe Wilson. "It's the culmination of a lot of hard work, persistence and dedication of a lot of people here at Parx. Sam Elliott and his team continue to do a tremendous job with this race as well as all of our races. We'd also like to thank the PTHA for their continued contribution and support of our races. We're obviously thrilled."

The rise to Grade 1 stature began in 2012 when the track broke with its long standing tradition of running the Derby on Labor Day, a date that put the race in direct competition for the best three year-olds with the Travers Stakes. Since the move, Kentucky Derby winners California Chrome and Nyquist have run in the Derby, winners have included three year-old champion Will Take Charge, Breeders Cup Classic winner Bayern, and multiple Grade 1 Frosted. This year’s edition featured the top three finishers in the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist, Exaggerator (winner of the Santa Anita Derby, Preakness Stakes and Haskell Invitational – all Grade 1 races) and Gun Runner. The winner, Connect, came out of the race to win the G1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct next time out.

"Having the PA Derby elevated to Grade 1 status is a tribute to all the people who have helped along the way, from my predecessors to all the horsemen who have participated”, said Director of Racing Sam Elliott. “The Grade 1 will allow us to attract the very best 3 year olds for the local race fans to enjoy. It is a very good day for Parx Racing."