HARRISBURG — The Preakness is happening this weekend, providing yet another opportunity for celebrities to see and be seen as thoroughbred horses jockey for a chance at an elite racing title.
It's Round Two in a three-race series that also includes the Kentucky Derby (held earlier this month) and the Belmont Stakes (next month). They're memorable races — unless, maybe, if you're Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson).
State senators and some of their staffers had to file financial disclosure forms earlier this month. When they did, Scarnati, his chief of staff Drew Crompton, and senator-turned-GOP-gubernatorial-nominee Scott Wagner (R., York) each disclosed that he received roughly $4,000 in travel, hospitality and lodging last year from Churchill Downs, Inc., the company famous for running the Kentucky Derby. The state doesn't require them to list the date of the trip or details about it.
Asked about the trip earlier this month and whether it overlapped with the Derby, Scarnati said, "I don't have the dates in hand here, so I really can't tell you."
But surely, Clout asked, you would remember if you went to the Derby?
"I would think I would but I, quite frankly, am not a horse-racing man in many ways. I care about the industry here in Pennsylvania," he said.
Churchill Downs remembers the trip. The company, which announced earlier this year that it hopes to acquire a venue in Erie, disclosed the trip in a separate filing with the Department of State.
Wagner also remembers the trip. His spokesman, Andrew Romeo, said, "Churchill Downs reached out to invite Scott to the Derby last year, and he politely accepted their invite and attended."