Weather permitting, the eight-horse hitch will be harnessed and hitched to the famous red beer wagon and parade down the Penn National stretch at approximately 5 p.m., shortly before live racing on June 28 and 29.
First post on both days is at 6 p.m., and during the live racing program on both evenings, weather permitting, the Clydesdales will be situated on the apron area for photo opportunities with fans until approximately 7 p.m.
The Clydesdales’ appearance at Penn National is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800’s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.
Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands – or six feet – at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white legs, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is very important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
Each hitch travels with a Dalmatian. Brewer is the name of the dalmation travelling with the Clydesdaales this year. In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries.
For many years, horse racing fans at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA watched the Clydesdales pull the starting gate at the track for the races.
The Budweiser Clydesdales can be viewed at the Anheuser-Busch breweries in St. Louis, Mo.; Merrimack, N.H.; and Ft. Collins, Colo. They also may be viewed at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis and at Warm Springs Ranch, the 300-plus acre Clydesdale breeding farm located near Boonville, Mo. To let everyone know about the event Anheuser-Busch sent out a press release today.