Pennsylvania Derby Betting Guide

The Pennsylvania Derby is the biggest race of the season to take place at Parx Racing and Casino. You can learn everything about the famous Grade 1 before the 2021 renewal takes place on September 25th here.


Pennsylvania Derby Event Details


The Pennsylvania Derby is one of the most important races open to three-year-olds in between the end of the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. It is run over a distance of nine furlongs, and there is a purse of $1 million available. The race has been a Grade 1 since being upgraded for the first time in 2017.


Pennsylvania Derby Preview


This race often serves as an important race on the road to the Breeders’ Cup, and that has been highlighted by the number of Triple Crown runners that have lined up for the race. The change in date to late September has made it a more viable route to the Breeders’ Cup, which means some of the most talented three-year-olds in training could be set to line up for the Grade 1 in 2021. Below we will assess some of the leading runners that could line up for this year’s event:


  • Medina Spirit

  • Rombauer

  • Hot Rod Charlie

  • King Fury

  • Essential Quality


Bob Baffert has an excellent recent record in the Pennsylvania Derby, as he has won two of the previous three renewals. He was unable to win three successive races as Math Wizard stormed to victory in the last renewal. His record in the race means that Medina Spirit could be a likely contender for the Pennsylvania Derby this year. The three-year-old won the Kentucky Derby to kick off the Triple Crown series before he was edged out of the Preakness Stakes. He is likely to miss out on the Belmont Stakes, but the Pennsylvania Derby could still be an important stop on the road to the Breeders’ Cup.


Rombauer was the winner of the second leg of the Triple Crown, as he stormed to victory in the Preakness Stakes. The Michael McCarthy-trained horse won by three and a half lengths from Midnight Bourbon. However, a re-match with Essential Quality could be on the card. Essential Quality’s perfect record ended at the Kentucky Derby but has beaten the Preakness winner on two previous occasions. The Belmont Stakes could be key to the question of how much Rombauer has progressed this season.


Hot Rod Charlie has already won a Grade 1 this season, as the three-year-old won the Louisiana Derby by two lengths from Midnight Bourbon. He has come up short against Medina Spirit on two occasions previously, including the Kentucky Derby. However, he looks set for another effort at Breeders’ Cup glory after finishing second behind Essential Quality in the Juvenile last year.


King Fury was also involved in the same race at the Breeders’ Cup but finished a distant eleven lengths behind Essential Quality. His first Graded success came in the Lexington Stakes in April, before he was pulled from both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Kenneth McPeek could yet target a return to the Breeders’ Cup with this three-year-old, and the Pennsylvania Derby could be the ideal route.


Pennsylvania Derby Event Information


The Pennsylvania Derby has been competed since being established in 1979. It has been the biggest race of the season at the Parx Racing and Casino throughout its history. The prize money on offer for the race has ranged depending on the field. The 2016 renewal of the race was one of the most lucrative, as the involvement of Preakness winner Exaggerator and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist saw the purse rise to $1.25 million. However, neither won the Pennsylvania Derby that year, as Chad Brown-trained Connect won the renewal.


Two years after being introduced, the Pennsylvania Derby was upgraded to a Grade 3. It became a Grade 2 contest in 2004 before being raised once again to Grade 1 in 2017. Bob Baffert holds the record for most training victories in this race, as he, Woody Stephens, and Nick Zito have all won on three occasions. Bayern remains the holder of the time record, as he won in a time of 1:46.96 in 2014.  


Pennsylvania Derby Betting Information


The biggest race day in Pennsylvania is also a significant day of betting action. There are a number of betting markets available to customers looking to make a wager on the action at Parx Racing and Casino. The markets that you can find can be found below.


  • Win: The most popular way to bet on the Pennsylvania Derby is to stake money on the winning horse.

  • Place: Gamblers can also place a bet on a horse that will finish in a place position in the Pennsylvania Derby.

  • Exacta: The quality on display in the Pennsylvania Derby means that the Exacta is the most difficult market to bet on. Gamblers will have to correct wager their money on the first two horses home.