03/04/2011 1:50PM

Penn National adds new $200,000 stakes


Penn National Race Course has created a second marquee event as part of a track-record $1.97 million stakes package that was announced Friday for the 2011 season.

The $200,000 Six Bits Handicap, for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs, will headline a three-stakes card on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, Nov. 23. As one of six new stakes, the Six Bits carries the same purse value as Penn National’s most prestigious race, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup. The 39th annual Governor’s Cup, at five furlongs on the turf, will be run on July 30, one of seven stakes worth $800,000 over a two-day weekend.

Overall, Penn National will offer 21 stakes this season, 12 for open company and nine restricted to Pennsylvania-breds. Eight of the stakes are scheduled for turf. Last year, the central Pennsylvania track, located near Hershey, Pa., offered 15 stakes worth a collective $1.2 million.

Four stakes – the Red Carpet for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on turf, the East Hanover for 3-year-old sprinters, the Capital City for 3-year-olds going a mile on turf, and the Femme Fatale for 3-year-old filly sprinters – received purse boosts of $25,000 apiece to $100,000.

The minimum purse for all stakes is now $75,000, up from $60,000 a year ago.