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Pocono Media Event Prior To Meet

Published: March 17, 2016 11:51 am ET

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Pocono Downs previewed its 51st season of live harness racing, which begins this Saturday night, at a Wednesday noontime press gathering for a group of local media whom Pocono’s vice president of racing operations, Dale Rapson, called “people who have been great in working with us over the years.”

Rapson cited the press, local horsemen, and Mohegan Sun staffers as major parts of a renaissance which has led, as Rapson noted, “from Pocono being a place you went if your horses wouldn’t do elsewhere” into one of the sport’s North American leaders.

Rapson, starting his 38th season of employment at the northeast Pennsylvania oval, mentioned the track’s signature cards, Sun Stakes Saturday (July 2) and Super Stakes Saturday (August 20), which will each offer over $2 million in purses, along with the inaugural Pennsylvania Classics for the state’s three-year-old pacers which will offer $1 million in purses as part of a Kentucky Derby Day doubleheader card at Pocono. “We’ll be bringing back (baseball great) Pete Rose to Pocono this year,” he stated, then mentioned that “we are in negotiations for a couple more big name sports figures to be making appearances at Pocono this year.”

During the press conference, held in the popular Pacer’s Clubhouse, the media had as a backdrop sixteen qualifying races. Fastest performer of the day was the Armbro Deuce gelding Rude Boy, who won in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:53.2 for driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Jason Robinson. Equally impressive was the Swan For All gelding Sonnyforall, who stormed his third quarter in :27.4 to grab the lead entering the final turn. He then drew off in 1:54.4 for trainer/driver Bill Mullin.

Pocono will open its 2016 racing season starting this Saturday on a Saturday-Tuesday basis in March, adding Sundays on April 3 and Mondays on April 11. The four-day-a-week configuration will be the main schedule for the year at Pocono. In a change, Sunday racing will begin at 7:30 p.m. (the trotters and pacers will be called to first post at 6:30 p.m. on the other three nights). The racing on the Thoroughbred Triple Crown days will again be a featured highlight, as will the early-season $250,000 Bobby Weiss Series for developing youngsters.

(With files from the PHHA)

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