1) 2010, 2013, 2018 – Pocono hosts the Breeders Crown

Pennsylvania Racing kicked off the new decade with a bang, not only would The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono host the 2010 six million dollar Breeders Crown for the first time.  A new concept would also be introduced, in 2010 all 12 Breeders Crown events were held on one night at one track. The Breeders Crown re-wrote Pocono’s record books with many record-breaking performances and wagering. Pocono would host the Breeders Crown three times during the decade.

Breeders Crown Trophy, Photo by: Ashley Eisenbeil

2) 2011 – The Inaugural Earl Beal Jr Memorial Trot

At the end of 2010, the PHHA announced the development of the Earl Beal Jr Memorial Trot for 3-year-old colt trotters. The race would be held for the first time in 2011, would carry a $500,000 purse, and would be held at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The first Earl Beal Jr Memorial was won by Dejarmbro and Dave Palone in a track record equaling 1:52:2. Since its inception, the Earl Beal Jr Memorial has attracted the top 3-year-old colt trotters in the sport and has become a springboard to America’s Trotting Classic, the Hambletonian. The race is now part of what has been developed into Pocono’s Sun Stakes Saturday. Sun Stakes Saturday has become Pocono’s signature night featuring three races for $500,000 each and one for $300,000 each. 

Earl Beal, Photo by: PHHA

3) 2012 – The Cotillion Purse Raised to One Million Dollars 

The inaugural Cotillion was held in 1969 at Liberty Bell Park, and since then, the race has become one of the premier races for 3-year-old fillies on the thoroughbred stakes calendar. In 2012 Parx Racing announced the purse would be increased to $1,000,000. Now a Grade 1 and a  win in you’re in for the Breeders Cup Distaff; the race is held alongside the Pennsylvania Derby each year. 

4) 2013 – Penn National Develops The Penn Mile

In 2013 Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course announced a new signature race for the track, the $500,000 Penn Mile would be held in June on the turf for 3-year-olds. The race has since helped Penn National shatter handle records and has been upgraded to Grade 2 status. 

2013 Penn Mile Rydilluc, Photo by: Eric Kalet

5) 2013 & 2016 – Two Kentucky Oaks Winners Have PA Ties: 

PA Bred Princess of Sylmar won the 2013 Kentucky Oaks. From the first crop of Majestic Warrior, Princess of Sylmar is named for Sylmar Farm in Christiana, PA. She was owned by breeder Ed Stanco’s King Of Prussia Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher. Cathryn Sophia, who was based at Parx, would win the 2016 Kentucky Oaks for John Servis. 

Princess of Sylmar, Photo by: NYRA Photo

6) 2014 – Sebastian K Breaks 1:50

In 2014 Pocono held the Sun Invitational as part of Sun Stakes Saturday. The race attracted Swedish trotter Sebastian K. Making his fourth North American start, Sebastian K would win by open lengths in 1:49, making him the fastest trotter of all time. The mark still stands today as the world record for trotters on the ⅝ mile track. 

Sebastian K, Photo by: Seth Dowling

7) 2017 – PA Derby Becomes a Grade 1

With Will Take Charge winning in 2013, Bayern in 2014 in a field that included California Chrome, the PA Derby has grown to be an essential step towards the Breeders Cup Classic. In 2017, the race which has carried a purse of at least $1,000,000 each year since 2007, was upgraded to a Grade 1 event. West Coast was the winner that year for Mike Smith and Bob Baffert.

West Coast 2017 PA Derby, Photo by: Nikki Sherman

8) 2018 & 2019 – PA Has Back-To-Back Breeders Cup Winners

In 2018 & 2019, three Breeders Cup winners had ties to Pennsylvania. In 2018, Parx based Jaywalk was a winner in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. In 2019, Smarty Jones Stakes winner and Parx based Spun To Run won the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. Additionally, in 2019, PA Sired British Idiom also won the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. 

Spun To Run Winer of 2019 the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile, Photo by: Averie Levanti

9) 2018 – Foiled Again Retires on New Years Eve

By rule, all Standardbreds must retire before turning 15 years old. The richest Standardbred of all time, Foiled Again, literally raced as long as the rules would allow, making his last start just hours before his 15th birthday at The Meadows on New Years Eve. While he didn’t win, he was brought back to the winners circle for a retirement ceremony, where his shoes were removed, and the crowd sang “He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” as he went back to the paddock for one final time. 

Foiled Again, Photo by: Seth Dowling

10) 2019 – Roger Huston Retires From Day-To-Day Announcing

In the last 43 years, a lot has changed at The Meadows. From a racetrack in the hills of Washington County to a modern day racino, but the one constant had been Roger Huston. The voice of The Meadows and host of The Meadows Racing Network officially retired from day-to-day announcing in November 2019. The Voice has called over 167,000 races in his Hall Of Fame career.

Roger Huston teaching the next generation, Photo by: Seth Dowling
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