03/09/2004 1:00AM

Pennsylvania Derby upgraded


The Pennsylvania Derby has regained Grade 2 status, and there is once again a graded sprint stakes on the schedule at Philadelphia Park.

The list of 11 major stakes to be run in 2004 is highlighted by the $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby on Labor Day. The 1 1/8-mile race was a Grade 2 event from 1983 to 1994, when it was won twice by Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens, with Morning Bob and Cefis, and by such horses as Dixieland Band, Broad Brush, and Summer Squall. It was a Grade 3 race in 1981 and 1982, and from 1995 to 2003.

For the first time, the Donald LeVine Memorial Stakes has achieved Grade 3 status. The race, formerly held in mid-August, has been moved to May 29, gotten a $25,000 purse boost to $100,000, and shortened from seven to six furlongs. It fills the void left when the Grade 3 Philadelphia Park Breeders' Cup Handicap was discontinued last year.