The 52nd Season of Live Harness Racing kicks off March 18th

The Standardbred trotters and pacers will begin their 52nd season of pari-mutuel harness racing in northeast Pennsylvania this Saturday night, March 18, as The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will present the first of 135 cards of harness racing scheduled for 2017, with Saturday’s first race marked for 6:30 p.m.

The two biggest purse races on the Saturday card, each worth $16,000 and both for pacers, will come early at The Downs, in races two and three. The second half of the Early Double will feature claiming pacers valued between $20,000 and $25,000 in a handicap event; among the entrants is Freeneasy Hanover, who paced the local red clay oval in 1:50 while on a hot streak last year. The third race is written for “non-winners of six races,” horses usually moving up the class ladder to bigger and better things.

Many of this type of horse would eventually wind up in one of $15,500 co-features on Saturday, for older, high-level conditioned horses. The tenth race pace finds among its seven entrants Ontario Success, a 14-time winner in 2016 who comes in after good performances at The Meadowlands; their trotting counterparts have been slotted for race twelve, with Zooming and Wind Of The North, both career winners of $700,000+ who have trotted the Pocono oval in 1:51, starting from the two outside slots in the field of six.

The highlight of the 2017 Pocono season will come on Saturday, July 1, with the $2 million+ Sun Stakes Saturday card, which annually draws the sport’s best horses over several of the major categories. It was recently announced that Wiggle It Jiggleit, 2015 Harness Horse of the Year and the fierce seasonlong rival of 2016 Harness Horse of the Year Always B Miki, will make his debut for the year in the Franklin Pace elimination races, to be held on Saturday, June 24.

Pocono’s all-time driving champion George Napolitano Jr. will be on the scene from opening night, coming up from Florida, where he already has shown himself in “midseason form” with a 27% win rate; his brother Anthony, second in the standings last year, will also have a full driving schedule from the word “go.”

The basic racing schedule at Pocono follows a Saturday through Tuesday basis, with first post at 6:30 except on Sundays, when the action starts an hour later. During the early part of the campaign, Pocono will gradually “work into” that schedule: after Saturday, racing will be held on Tuesday, March 21st; Saturday-Sunday the 25th and 26th; and Tuesday the 28th; Mondays will be added to the schedule on April 10.

A press conference/luncheon will be held at the track at 12 noon this Thursday, the 16th, with Pocono officials and horsemen on hand to take part in a preview of what should be a quality season of racing at The Downs. Qualifying races will be held before the press conference on Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. Pocono’s person of contact for media is Jennifer Starr, 570.831.2195.

Impending snowstorm postpones opening week Qualifiers

Due to the impending snowstorm, and for the safety of all horsemen and horses, as well as track personnel, Wednesday’s Qualifying races at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono have been rescheduled to Thursday, March 16th at 10AM.  Box closes Wednesday morning, March 15th at 11:00AM.

Opening night is Saturday, March 18th with a 6:30PM Post Time.

Stables open for the 2017 season

The rain held off just enough for the gates at the stable entrance of the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono to open on Wednesday morning at 7:30AM.  Soon the stable area was filling up with the sounds of whinnies and laughter as horsemen arrived with their precious cargo, officially kicking off the 2017 racing season.

Linda and John Kakaley were the first to arrive with Mcsorley’s Mistake and Swiss Platinum, both owned by Charlie and Mary Johnston.  A smiling Linda helped John get the first two horses settled in their stalls before a few more of theirs arrived soon after.  John hit the track to train with Mcsorley’s Mistake as the torrential downpour began, but neither John nor the trotter seemed to mind.

Horses for the Peter Pellegrino Stable soon arrived in a trailer driven by Ollie Rose III, and Bucky Angle’s trailer was seen being unloaded by the veteran horseman.  Outrider Tia Shafer’s horses Red and Hollywood., along with pony Niles stepped off the trailer after their long ride from Ohio, and were greeted by hugs from Tia.

Stall applications are still being taken for the stables at https://myhorsemen.mohegansunpocono.com with special reduced rates for the 2017 season.  Call Luann Reynolds at 570-831-2125 for details.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono stable area features an excellent training track; tack shop and farriers; two veterinary clinics; laundry facilities; and a secure area with a guard on the premises 24 hours a day.  Entry is with a license only.  The stable area is minutes from major interstate highways.

Racing opens for the season at the renowned 5/8 mile track on Saturday, March 18th..  Three dates have been set aside for Qualifiers; Tuesday, March 7; Thursday, March 9th;  and Wednesday, March 15th.

Mohegan Sun Pocono Names Mark Crescenzi New Player Development Executive

WILKES-BARRE, PA (January 26, 2017) – Mohegan Sun Pocono is pleased to announce Mark Crescenzi as the new Player Development Executive. In this position, Mark will serve as a liaison between the casino and guests, offering a high level of service and assistance to valued guests.

Additionally, Crescenzi will ensure Mohegan Sun Pocono offers guests a customized gaming experience to their specific interests and tastes. His longstanding experience will be extremely valuable in efforts to deliver superior customer service and build upon Mohegan Sun Pocono’s success.

Crescenzi comes to Mohegan Sun Pocono with eight years of casino industry experience in the Atlantic City market. His extensive understanding of casino operations within the casino industry combined with his exceptional leadership and guest service skills, make for a great addition to the Mohegan Sun Pocono team.

Crescenzi is a graduate from Stockton University where he studied Criminal Justice.

ABOUT MOHEGAN SUN POCONO

Mohegan Sun Pocono, owned by the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, is one of the most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and dining destinations in Pennsylvania. Situated on 400 acres in Plains, Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun Pocono features a 238-room hotel with on-site spa and adjacent 20,000 square-foot Convention Center. It is currently home to 82,000 square feet of gaming space including 91 live table games, 2,300 slot machines and electronic table games, a variety of dining and shopping options, nightlife, entertainment and live harness racing. Mohegan Sun Pocono is within easy access of New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. More information is available by calling 1.888.WIN.IN.PA (1.888.946.4672) or visiting our website. Connect with us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Instagram, download our app and view us on YouTube.

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It’s Almost Post Time for the 2017 Live Racing Season!

The 2017 schedule for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono includes four consecutive nights of racing, and a double-header on Kentucky Derby day, according to Vice President of Racing, Dale Rapson.  A total of 134 race nights and 135 cards are planned for the new season.

Racing opens at the renowned 5/8 mile oval in Wilkes Barre, PA on Saturday, March 18th, with limited days of racing in March, including Tuesday, March 21st; Saturday, March 25th, and Tuesday, March 28th.

In April, racing moves to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday, with Sunday, April 2nd the 1st leg of the Bobby Weiss Late Closing Series for 3 and 4 year olds, named for the beloved former Director of Track Maintenance.  Bobby retired in 2011, and was responsible for the record-breaking track surface that is maintained today.  The series continues throughout April with the finals on May 2nd and 9th.  There will be no live racing on Monday, April 3rd or Sunday, April 16th.

The prestigious $2 million Sun Stakes Saturday is set for Saturday, July 1st, and will feature the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial 3-year-old Trot; the James Lynch 3-year-old Filly Pace; the Max Hempt 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace; and the Ben Franklin Free For All Pace.  Eliminations will take place on Saturday, June 24th.

Kentucky Derby day, May 6th, features a double-header with two Pocono live race cards.  Post Time for the first card will be at 11 a.m., and the second will be immediately following the 143rd running of the Derby.  The $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Pace for 4 YO & up will take place on the night card, honoring the late well-known local sportswriter, who was a fixture covering Pocono throughout the years.  In between, there will be the Run for the Roses Hat Review and a huge party on the track apron.  Live racing will immediately follow the second and third legs of the Triple Crown, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Monday, September 4th will be the PA Sire Stakes Championship Finals for the 2YO future superstars with estimated purses of $260,000.  Also on the stakes schedule are the PA All-Stars for 2 & 3YO  in July: and the 3YO PA Stallion Series and PA Sire Stakes starting in May.

Post Time for Sunday nights is 7:30p.m., with all other nights 6:30p.m.  In September, October, and November, Monday night Post Time will switch to a 4:30p.m. Post.  The 52nd season of live racing concludes on Saturday, November 25th.

***Stall applications are now being taken for the 2017 season by calling Luann Reynolds at 570-831-2125.  Special reduced rates are being offered for the new season.