Posts Tagged ‘Belmont Stakes’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Announces 2018 Racing Season

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is pleased to announce our 2018 racing season schedule.  The track in Northeast PA is looking forward to another tremendous season of racing, with the Breeders Crown returning for the third time.

Opening night has been set for Saturday, March 17 at a new Post Time of 7:00pm for all race nights, with the exception of Easter Sunday at 5:00pm and all three Triple Crown nights.  In the month of March, racing continues on Tuesday, March 20th; Saturday, March 24th; Sunday, March 25th; Tuesday, March 27th, and Saturday, March 31st.  Beginning in April, the track will move to its permanent schedule of Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with no racing on Monday, April 2nd and Monday, September 10th.

Stakes action kicks off in early April with a Late Closing Series, and spring and summer action includes the PA Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds starting in May, as well as the PA All-Stars and PA Stallion Series.  All three continue throughout the season, with the 2-year-olds taking center stage starting in July.  The PA Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds is on Sunday, September 2.   The prestigious $2 million Sun Stakes Saturday is June 30th featuring the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot; $500,000 Ben Franklin Free For All Pace; 500,000 Max Hempt Memorial Pace; and the $300,000 James Lynch Memorial Pace.  Eliminations will take place on Saturday, June 23.

Breeders Crown 2018 is Saturday, October 27th, with eliminations Friday, October 19th and Saturday, October 20th.  According to Dale Rapson, Vice President of Racing Operations, Crown ‘18 promises to be a memorable one with all twelve races in one night.   “We are very excited to bring back the Breeders Crown, and are already planning a great event,” he said.  The track is working closely with the Hambletonian Society and the PHHA on the spectacular night of racing.   “I’m really looking forward to my first Breeders Crown with Pocono,” said Mike Harant, Executive Director of the PHHA, “as well as the entire 2018 racing season.”

A double-header of live racing is once again planned for Kentucky Derby day, Saturday, May 5th, with a first post of 11:00am and the second card approximately 7:30pm.  Racing follows the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes and will also be an approximate Post Time of 7:30pm.

Plenty of fan-friendly events and promotions are in the works for the season, and opening night will be “50/50 Night”.  Fans get $50 in free live racing vouchers when they buy $50, and valid on the live racing racing card that evening, while supplies last.   Fans get a free live program on opening night starting at 5:00pm, also while supplies last.  Additional fun events are planned throughout the season, including celebrity meet-and-greet autograph sessions with several sports stars; giveaway items;  and on Kentucky Derby day, the annual “Run for the Roses Hat Revue” which is the contest for the most fashionable hats in several categories with cash prizes.

In addition, the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will add the text messaging service for promotional giveaways, as well as updates for fans on upcoming events and big race nights.  Fans can opt in starting in March, and regular message and data rates may apply.

The stables will open for the season on Thursday, March 1st at 7:30am, and the familiar sight of horses training will soon be the first sign of spring and the 53rd year of racing at the Downs.  Qualifying dates have been set for Tuesday, March 6th; Thursday, March 8th; and then every Wednesday thereafter for the remainder of the season.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono announces 2016 live racing schedule

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Racing on four consecutive nights and a double-header on Kentucky Derby day are included in the 2016 live racing schedule for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as announced by Vice-President of Racing Operations, Dale Rapson.

Racing opens at the renowned 5/8 mile oval in Wilkes Barre, PA on Saturday, March 19th, and will continue for the month of March on Tuesday, March 22, Sat., March 26, and Tuesday, March 29.

In April, racing moves to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday, with Sunday, April 3rd 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 1st and 3rd.  There will be no live racing on Monday, April 4th.

The prestigious Sun Stakes Saturday is set for Saturday, July 2nd, 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 25th

Saturday, August 20th is the $2.1 million Super Stakes Saturday with the Colonial 3YO Trot; Valley Forge 3YO Filly Pace; and the Battle of the Brandywine 3YO Open Pace.

The newly-created Pennsylvania Classics for 3YO PA-sired pacing colts & geldings will be held on Kentucky Derby Day, May 7th with eliminations the week before.

Also on the celebratory Kentucky Derby is 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 142nd running of the Derby.  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.

The first Qualifiers of the season will be Tuesday, March 8th; Wednesday, March 9th; and Wednesday, March 16th.

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 51st season of live racing concludes on Saturday, November 26th.

A Belmont Stakes day fit for a Pharoah!

Friday, June 5th, 2015

As the nation waits for American Pharoah to hit the track for the 147th Belmont Stakes, the party at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be in full swing!

The huge celebration gets underway at 2:00pm with all patio bars and trackside concession bars opening for the day.  The Downs is planning an early Post Time of 3:30pm with four races, and continuing with 12 more after the Belmont; in anticipation of the great card, a special promo for the fans will take place at 2:00pm.  The first 250 fans with a Racing Rewards card and valid ID will receive a $10 live racing wager good for races 5-16, with an approximate Post Time of 7:15pm.  (One per fan, while supplies last.)

Food trucks will be scattered throughout the apron, with the popular What The Fork; Wandering Chef; Doc Popcorn; and Johnny Rockets all opening at 3:00pm with dozens of food items available to fans.

Don’t forget to grab a Belmont Breeze, the official drink of the 3rd jewel of the Triple Crown, in a souvenir glass, available at all racing bars!

There will be plenty of seats on the apron for fans to watch the races on the jumbo screen, as well as inside the spacious simulcast room.

Racing continues Sunday evening, as well, with a Post Time of 6:30pm.

American Pharoah jockey Victor Espinoza at Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Triple Crown fever is striking everywhere, and anticipation is high for American Pharoah’s bid on Saturday, June 6th with the Belmont Stakes.

With a big celebration planned for Belmont Stakes Saturday, the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is excited to announce that jockey Victor Espinoza will be appearing for autographs and photos on Tuesday, June 2 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm in the Racing Lobby.  This is a wristband-only event, and fans may obtain their wristband starting at 1:00pm, with a very limited amount available.

Only the authorized photo, which will be distributed at the signing, will be autographed, and a professional photographer will be on hand for photos, which will then be posted on the Mohegan Sun Pocono Facebook page for sharing.

Belmont Stakes Saturday will be a huge party, with live harness racing at 3:30pm until 5:00pm, and 12 additional races immediately following the 147th Belmont Stakes.  Food trucks; the “Belmont Breeze” in souvenir glasses; and plenty of bars with ice cold beverages will be on the apron for the fans to enjoy in anticipation of post time and history in the making.  American Pharoah merchandise will be for sale on the apron as well.

Victor Espinoza has won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes  three times, riding War Emblem in 2002; California Chrome in 2014; and American Pharoah this year.  As of this date, he is the first jockey in history to enter the Belmont Stakes with a third opportunity to win the Triple Crown.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Friday, June 13th, 2014

June 7-13, 2014

With a day-night doubleheader on Belmont Stakes day, this past week featured five live racing cards at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Filling up those cards was no problem, as Pocono welcomed a bunch of shippers from other tracks to go up against the holdovers who have already established themselves throughout the first couple months of the meet. This made for a thrilling week of racing, the best performances of which we now honor by handing out the Weekly Awards.


This 5-year-old stallion from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn came into Saturday night’s condition pace for non-winners of $22,500 in the last five starts with wins in two of the three starts he made at Pocono in 2014. In a victory on May 31, Steelhead Hanover benefitted from a comfortable trip which allowed him to stay on the inside for much of the mile before rallying late for a victory in 1:50:2.

When a horse enjoys a trip like that, it’s natural to be skeptical if it can have the same success without that kind of relaxing journey. Add that to the fact that Steelhead Hanover was moving up in class, and he seemed more likely to struggle this time around. Yet Pavia, who also did the driving, attacked early with his stallion, taking the lead and setting imposing fractions.

There was no help for Steelhead Hanover on this night, and he made it clear by his stellar performance that he didn’t need any. He didn’t let up on the front end until he crossed the finish line a length-and-a-half in front of his nearest foe in 1:48:3. That time not only now stands as the fastest of the stallion’s career, but it was faster than anybody else paced this past week at Pocono.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Meirs Hanover (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved way up the condition ladder on Saturday night with no sweat, scoring his second straight victory in 1:49:3; Ahead Ofthe Curve (George Napolitano Jr., Paul Holzman), who moved up in class and still managed his third straight claiming victory on Saturday night, beating a field of $20,000 claimers in 1:50:1; and Aracache Hanover (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won the week’s featured pace, Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred Handicap, in 1:49.


It’s unusual for a horse to win as a significant long shot in consecutive weeks. One of two things usually happens: Either the horse’s performance in his first long shot win is so impressive that it gets a lot more attention at the windows the following week, or, if it is still a long shot the second time around, the law of averages catches up to it and it comes up short.

Somebody should tell that to Luv Ya Tyler, a 7-year-old gelding who had been winless in eight races this year before a claim put him in the barn of trainer Neal Ehrhart. In his first start in the new barn, the gelding went off at 20-1 against a field of $15,000 claimers but rallied for the victory in a career-best 1:54:2.

Once again on Tuesday night, he wasn’t given much of chance at the tote board when he moved up in class to face a $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap class. All the outside speed in the race eventually wore itself out, leaving room for a closer to steal the race. Luv Ya Tyler, at 19-1 this time around, sat back off the fast fractions early and, with Mike Simons in the bike, came up flying for the victory in 1:54:2, matching that career-best from a week previous. After two straight wins, the odds he’ll need to defy probably won’t be quite so long the next time around.

Other top trotters this week include: Song Of Virtue (Joe Pavia Jr., Jennifer Sabot), a mare who picked up her second straight win over the $7,500 claimers on Saturday morning and did so in a new career-best time of 1:56:2; P L Fantastic (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who burned up the track in a condition win and matched the week’s fastest trotting time on Tuesday night with a victory in 1:53:3; and Revrac Harbour (Scot Zeron, Tony Alagna), who picked up his second straight win at Pocono on Wednesday night, this coming in Stallion Series action in 1:55:4.


Tyler Buter has been aboard several huge long shots this year, but none was as big a bomber as this pacing mare on Wednesday night at 75-1 for a $158 payout on a $2 win ticket.


This newcomer to the Pocono racing wars has been improving as he gets acclimated to his new surroundings, and five combined wins on Tuesday and Wednesday prove he’s becoming a major factor.


With a win on Sunday and two more victories on Tuesday night, Carr made a significant jump this week in the Pocono training standings.

That will do it for this week, but I’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at