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Pocono Opener Wednesday

Published: March 30, 2009 12:08 pm ET

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It’s no April fool’s day joke! Pocono Downs is reintroducing night racing Wednesday (April 1) as the 2009 live harness racing season gets underway. First race post time is 6:30 p.m. for the season’s opener.

There will be live action Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights with Saturday afternoon posts of 1:00 p.m. The season will continue through November 21.

Ron Burke, who is the leading trainer in North America this year, will have several entries on the 14-race opening day card. Burke is the trainer of Chester County in the first race that carries a purse of $16,500 for conditioned fillies and mares.

Erv Miller, who is ninth in the trainer standings in North America, also has Thong in the first race. The four-year-old mare will be making her 2009 debut and is coming off a 1:54 qualifying win at the Meadowlands on March 26.

Thong amassed earnings of $352,262 in 2008 with six wins in 20 starts. One of those victories was a 1:50.2 time at the Meadowlands. She’ll be driven by one of the top young drivers in the country in Jason Bartlett. The latter is currently ranked No. 10 in North America.

Ideal Newton, a Noel Daley-trained entry in the first, drew the three hole and also will be making first appearance in 2009 after winning five of 16 races last year. This four-year-old mare had $227,078 in earnings in 2008 and won a Pocono Downs race in 1:50.2 last year. Mike Vanderkemp will be in the bike.

(With files from Pocono)

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