What you can expect to see at the Pennsylvania Derby 2022

September 20, 2022

When it comes to sports news and horse racing news, one thing loads of people are asking about is the Pennsylvania Derby 2022. Here’s all the info you’ll need about the day and what to expect.

When is it?

The 2022 Pennsylvania Derby will take place on Saturday 24 September at Parx Casino and Racing (formerly known as Philadelphia Park and Keystone Park).

Pennsylvania Derby race history

The race has existed since 1979 and in 2017 was named a Grade I race, having first achieved Graded status in 1981. There is a strong field of horses and jockeys every year.

Between 1990 and 2009, the Derby was held on Labor Day, however from 2010, it moved on the calendar to take place on the last Saturday of September.

The track has wide and sweeping turns, which means winners here are usually horses that have stamina as well as speed.

The prize money has sat at or around $1 million for the last five years (although in 2020 the race didn’t go ahead due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

Results from the last five editions

When looking for what to expect, it’s always good to know a little recent race history. Here are the most recent winners:

  • 2021: Hot Rod Charlie (out of a field of 8 horses) ridden by Flavien Prat
  • 2019: Math Wizard  (out of a field of 6 horses) ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr.
  • 2018: McKinzie (out of a field of 9 horses) ridden by Mike Smith
  • 2017: West Coast (out of a field of 10 horses), ridden by Mike Smith
  • 2016: Connect (out of a field of 12 horses), ridden by Javier Castellano


The fastest time ever recorded was in 2014 by Bayern with a time of 1:46:96. The most wins by a jockey is three, which was achieved by Joe Bravo in 1994, 2003, and 2008 – quite a spread. The most wins by a trainer is three (achieved by three different trainers) and the most wins by an owner is two (achieved by three different owners).

Upcoming stakes

Several stakes act as a last preparation for horses and jockeys taking part in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is taking place on 4-5 November at Keeneland Racecourse.

As a result, this $1 million Derby will include some of the country’s best three-year-old horses.

What to expect

If you’re planning a trip to Parx Racing, here are some things you’ll need to know:

1. Expect a few heavy hitters

Contenders for this year’s Pennsylvania Derby include:

  • Simplification. He last featured in the 2022 West Virginia Derby on 6 August and came third.
  • White Abarrio. He last featured in the 2022 Haskell Stakes on 23 July and came seventh.
  • Taiba. He last featured in the Haskell Stakes alongside White Abarrio and came second.
  • Best Actor. He last featured in the Smarty Jones 2022 on 23 August, which he won.

2. The race might help reveal who the 3-year-old champ is

It’s the middle of September and we’re still not sure who the best thoroughbred is in the nation. This derby will be a big deciding factor since lots of contenders for year-end honors will take part. If you want to see the best, you’ll need to head to Parx.

3. It has a stacked sister race

The Pennsylvania Derby’s sister race, The Cotillion Stakes, is taking place too and the winner of this will head to the World Championships.

4. You’ll get a hat souvenir

Each year, spectators at the track are given a free Pennsylvania Derby souvenir baseball cap!

5. Bring the kids

The Pennsylvania Derby is a great day out for the whole family, so if you’ve got kids, bring them along. There’ll be lots to keep them entertained besides the race itself. This includes face painters, temporary tattoos, pony rides, live music, and horseshoe decorating.

6. You could just meet a celebrity

If you’re a fan of the big names in horse racing, you’re likely to see some of them at the Pennsylvania Derby, so make sure you bring your camera (or just your smartphone) to snap a few photos.

7. Get there at the right time

Gates open at 11 am and the first race usually starts shortly after noon. The big races happen later in the afternoon but it’s a good idea to arrive a little early to get a good seat – and snag your free cap before they run out!

Photo: Racing at Parx, Eric Kalet

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