When Spun to Run triumphed in last fall’s Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), it was both a huge moment for Parx Racing and a sign of the times for racing at the Bensalem, Pa., oval.
Owned by Bob Donaldson and trained by Juan Carlos Guerrero, Spun to Run started his career at Parx, went on to take the Smarty Jones Stakes (G3) and the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes there, and trained at Parx before heading west to Santa Anita Park for the Breeders’ Cup.
“It was great for Parx, for the horse, and for the connections,” Parx director of racing David Osojnak said. “People see where the horse ran and trained, and when they have grade 1 success, it means a lot to a racetrack like Parx.”
Spun to Run is one of an increasing number of graded stakes winners at major racetracks who are based at Parx or have the Philadelphia-area track in their past performances, be it for races or training.
D. J. Stable and Cash is King’s Jaywalk, trainer John Servis’ champion 2-year-old filly of 2018, broke her maiden and trained at Parx and was not alone in finding considerable success outside the borders of Pennsylvania. Grade 1-winning sprinter Imperial Hint posted three wins at Parx from 2016-17 while Parx-based Discreet Lover captured the 2018 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1), and Maximus Mischief was a maiden and an allowance winner at Parx prior to winning the 2018 Remsen Stakes (G2).
After racing twice at Parx, George E. Hall’s Max Player shipped to Aqueduct Racetrack for his third start and earned a spot on this year’s classics trail by winning the Withers Stakes (G3). The field for the Withers also included two other Parx maiden winners in Monday Morning Qb, who later captured the Heft Stakes at Laurel Park, and New Commission, runner-up in the Heft.
“We’re trying to build on that success by our horses as we assemble our stakes schedule for 2020,” Osojnak said.
The home track for 2004 dual classic winner Smarty Jones, Parx rose to prominence in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2006 with the opening of the Parx Casino. Through that alternative revenue, Parx was able to boost daily purses and eventually increase the value of its centerpiece stakes, the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds and the Cotillion Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies. The Pennsylvania Derby jumped to $1 million in 2007 and has attracted the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner twice since 2014. The Cotillion became a $1 million event in 2012.
The field for last year’s Pennsylvania Derby included Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will while Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress was sixth in the Cotillion.
The steps forward that Parx has taken in recent years is also reflected in the track’s mutuel handle in 2019. During a year when the national handle declined by 2%, Parx’s daily average handle rose by 9.22% in 2019 to $1,631,789.65 in 162 race days.
Original source credited to bloodhorse.com