02/26/2010 12:00AM

Pennsylvania Derby moved to late September


Philadelphia Park is shifting its signature race, the Pennsylvania Derby, from its usual spot on Labor Day to late September.

In a release Friday announcing its major stakes for 2010, the Bensalem, Pa., track explained that it wanted to create a better spot on the calendar for the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for trainers who are prepping their 3-year-olds for the Breeders' Cup.

By moving the Pennsylvania Derby to Sept. 25, the race will be six weeks out from the Breeders' Cup.

Pushing back the Pennsylvania Derby three weeks also avoids a conflict with the Travers Stakes, which is scheduled for Aug. 28 at Saratoga.

Philly Park's other Grade 2 stakes, the $750,000 Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies, will be contested on Oct. 3, five weeks prior to the Breeders' Cup.

To fill the void on Labor Day, Philly Park has created a new $300,000 stakes for 3-year-olds named in honor of Smarty Jones, the locally based winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The 1 1/16-mile Smarty Jones will serve as a prep for the Pennsylvania Derby.

The schedule includes nine other stakes worth between $200,000 and $250,000. The $250,000 races are the My Juliet for female sprinters on May 29; the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup, a Win and You're In qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Marathon, on July 17; the five-furlong Turf Monster Handicap on Labor Day; the 1 1/8-mile Presidents Cup, the headliner on a four-stakes owners' day card on Sept. 18; and the six-furlong Gallant Bob Handicap for 3-year-olds on Oct. 9.

The Jostle for 3-year-old fillies on June 12; the seven-furlong Don Levine on June 26; the Dr. James Penny Memorial, a turf route for fillies and mares on July 5; and the five-furlong Turf Amazon on the Pennsylvania Derby undercard are all worth $200,000.

Breeders' Day, featuring four stakes for Pennsylvania-breds, is scheduled for Sept. 11.