02/20/2007 12:00AM

Pennsylvania Derby worth $1 million


Philadelphia Park announced Tuesday that the purse of its marquee race, the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, will be increased to $1 million for 2007.

"There's something special about that million-dollar plateau," said Hal Handel, the track's chief executive officer. "We're excited that we can now offer our fans a race like this."

After legislation allowing a limited number of slot-machine licenses passed in Pennsylvania, the machines debuted at Philadelphia Park in December 2006, and the revenue is expected to boost purses considerably.

Canceled in 2006 because of renovations to accommodate the slots parlor, the Pennsylvania Derby will resume in its traditional Labor Day slot, Sept. 3. The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds has been run since 1979.

The track's other graded race, the Grade 2 Cotillion, will move from early October to Sept. 22, the track announced, citing the Breeders' Cup's earlier-than-usual date on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park as the reason for the move.