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Chester '08 Wrap; Will Host 'Fall Four' In '09

Published: December 18, 2008 4:46 pm ET

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Highlighted by Artistic Fella's 1:48 World Record performance in the Ben Franklin, an equally remarkable 1:52.2 mile by trotting mare Buck I St Pat in the Maxie Lee, and the successful debut of Super Stakes Sunday, the recently-completed 2008 harness racing meet at Chester Downs showed improvements in purses and handle, with a bright outlook ahead for the 2009 season.

"We had a great season; the quality of the racing continues to improve," commented racing secretary Rick Kane. With top horses, trainers, and drivers in the sport competing at Chester on a regular basis, the suburban Philadelphia facility has become, "a major force in the racing industry."

Tim Tetrick led all drivers with 338 wins and $6,327,721 in purse earnings. Vincent Fusco, Jr. took the training title with 99 winners, while Mickey Burke led all trainers in earnings with $1,962,908.

Chester shifts to night racing in 2009, moving into a time slot more traditionally held by harness tracks—and more traditionally bet by harness punters. Kane continued, "With the advent of night racing, we look to see an even greater increase in both attendance and handle."

The quality of racing will remain top-notch, with an already strong stakes program augmented by a quartet of juvenile classics added for the new season.

"We'll have some great two-year-old stakes—the Governor's Cup, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory and Goldsmith Maid. Next year will be even better," concluded Kane.

The 150-day 2009 meet will begin on Sunday, April 5, with first post under the lights at 5:00 p.m. (ET).

Racing will take place (barring a few holiday exceptions) on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week.

(With files from Chester)

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