Day At The Track

$1.5m combined purses 'Sun Stakes Saturday'

10:32 PM 26 Jun 2012 NZST
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Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

One of North America's richest nights of harness racing gets underway this weekend at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as the track presents their first ever "Sun Stakes Saturday."

All told, $1.5 million in combined purses have attracted the sport’s best trotters and pacers to the 5/8-mile track in Northeast Pennsylvania.

The mega-card’s main events consist of a trio of prestigious Grand Circuit stakes for pacers, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Free for All, the $300,000 Max Hempt Memorial, and the $250,000 James Lynch Memorial.

Eliminations for this weekend’s finals were held Saturday, June 23rd during a 16-race card. The night’s performances included one new world record and two matched.

The record-setting began at Pocono in the first elimination for the Ben Franklin. George Brennan drove Aracache Hanover, trained by Gregg McNair, to the Pocono all-time mark for aged pacing stallions with a victory in 1:48:1.

The combined Franklin final features nine entrants sporting a total bankroll of over $12,961,000 lifetime, including five millionaires.

The Lynch Memorial will feature American Jewel, the newly No. 1-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The 3-year-old filly pacer is coming off a track-record 1:49.2 performance in her elimination.

The time equaled the world record for 3-year-old fillies on a five-eighths-mile oval.

Heading a field of nine in the Hempt Memorial is one of the sport’s top pacers, Hurrikane Kingcole. The son of Cam’s Card Shark powered to a romping win in 1:48:1, a time that matches a world record for 3-year-old colts.

Fans can take home a souvenir from the thrilling night of live harness racing. While supplies last, patrons can pick up a Sun Stakes Saturday beach towel with the purchase of a live racing program that includes an accompanying coupon (one per person).

The towel giveaway will run from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. on the lower grandstand of the racing apron.

First post time has been set for 6:30 p.m.

by Kelly CONNORS

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