There haven’t been many Saturdays when Parx Racing, formerly Philadelphia Park, has the most significant races in America. But, on the last Saturday in September, there was no question that two big races were being run in Bensalem, Pa.
Track management moved the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) off Labor Day in an attempt to attract horses that had run in the Travers Stakes (G1) and get top 3-year-olds making their final starts before the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
In Year 1 of the change, management batted .500. They did get three horses from the Travers, which would never have happened in the past when the races were nine days apart. And, if had been a little bit “luckier,” it would have gotten Preakness (G1) winner Lookin At Lucky. The connections of Lookin At Lucky were thinking seriously about the Pennsylvania Derby after the colt dominated the August 1 Haskell Invitational (G1). But the colt came down with a fever, missed training time and was not quite up to a cross-country trip on September 26. Lookin At Lucky was being reserved for the $500,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on October 2.