12/12/2013 6:39PM

Penn National will package six stakes into two event nights for 2014

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Penn National Race Course will slightly alter its stakes schedule for 2014, presenting six stakes packaged into two major event nights of racing. Collectively, the half-dozen added-money events for open company are worth $1.25 million, a reduction of $250,000 and one stakes from 2013.

The second running of the $500,000 Penn Mile, for 3-year-olds going a mile on turf, headlines a card on Saturday, May 31 that will also feature the $200,000 Mountainview Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, and the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at five furlongs on turf. A new event, the  $100,000 Penn Oaks for 3-year-old fillies going a mile on grass, completes the Memorial Day weekend stakes program.

“We feel that some of the same trainers with 3-year-old colts for the Penn Mile may also have 3-year-old fillies they could bring for the Penn Oaks. It will be a real turf festival,” said Dan Silver, Penn National’s director of racing.

As was the case this year, the Penn Mile will take place a week before the Belmont Stakes on June 7. It is positioned two weeks after a similar one-mile race for 3-year-old turf runners, the $100,000 James Murphy, on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico and four weeks following the Grade 2 American Turf at 1 1/16 miles on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs.

Penn National’s remaining two stakes for open company, the $200,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap for sprinters going six furlongs, and the $100,000 Swatara for route runners going 1 1/16 miles, again be contested on Thanksgiving Eve, which falls on Nov. 26 in 2014.

The Fabulous Strike, Mountainview Handicap, and Swatara took purse cuts of $50,000 apiece. Eliminated from the schedule are the $50,000 Penn Dash for main-track sprinters and the $150,000 Lady In Waiting, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.

The list of stakes for Pennsylvania-bred runners will be announced later.

Penn National also announced that it will race 200 days in 2014. From January through April, live racing will be conducted four days a week, Wednesday through Saturday. In May and the first week of June, live racing will be conducted three days a week (Thursday to Saturday), and from the second week in June through the end of the year, racing will generally be conducted four days a week (Wednesday to Saturday).