11/18/2015 3:07PM

Big stakes week ahead for Penn National Gaming

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The Penn National Gaming tracks of Penn National, Mahoning Valley Race Course, and Zia Park will run 11 stakes worth more than $1.6 million during Thanksgiving week.

On Monday, Mahoning Valley Race Course will hold the $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds. The card also will include the $75,000 Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Distaff.

Penn National has three stakes on Wednesday night: the $200,000 Fabulous Strike, the $100,000 Swatara, and the $75,000 Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies for Pennsylvania-breds. Ben’s Cat has won the six-furlong Fabulous Strike three years straight and is expected to defend his title.

Also on Wednesday, Zia Park will hold its third Land of Enchantment Day with six Thoroughbred stakes worth nearly $1 million. The two biggest races are the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks and the $200,000 Zia Park Derby.

◗ Mike Dempsey, the longtime director of racing at Monmouth Park, is going to retire at the end of the year. Dempsey, 60, went to work as a claims clerk at Monmouth in 1979 after graduating from the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program.