Updated on 12/22/2012 12:01PM

Penn National: Newly created $500K Penn Mile for 3-year-olds to be held in June


Penn National Race Course will hold a $500,000 race for 3-year-olds going a mile on the turf on the first Saturday in June this year, the richest race the Pennsylvania racetrack has ever carded, the track announced on Tuesday.

The $500,000 Penn Mile is part of a three-stakes card on June 1 that will also include the $250,000 Mountainview Handicap for 3-year-olds and older going 1 1/8 miles and the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup for 3-year-olds and older at five furlongs on the turf.

Penn National, located in Grantville, Penn., has never been a regular destination for high-quality horses, but many racetracks that are heavily subsidized by slot machines and other casino revenues, such as Penn National, have recently created high-dollar stakes races in order to attract horses to their facilities and gain attention in the simulcast market.

“We are very excited to offer an opportunity for some of the best 3-year-olds to showcase their ability on our turf course in the inaugural Penn Mile,” said Dan Silver, the track’s director of racing operations, in a statement. “It is a good spot on the calendar to offer a premier turf mile race for 3-year-olds.”

According to Silver, the richest races previously held at Penn National have been the Governor’s Cup, which had a purse of $200,000 from 2009 to 2012, and the Fabulous Strike, which had a $200,000 purse in 2012.

The card will take place one week before the Belmont Stakes, the 1 1/2-mile race for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park in New York that is the final leg of the Triple Crown. The Belmont Stakes card in 2013 will feature four other stakes.

Penn is also planning on holding a three-stakes card on Nov. 15, featuring the $250,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap, for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs; the $150,000 Lady in Waiting, for fillies and mares going six furlongs; and the $150,000 Swatara, for 3-year-olds and older going 1 1/16 miles.

The six races comprise the entirety of Penn National’s open stakes. Track officials said that they would announce the stakes schedule for races restricted to Pennsylvania-breds at a later date.