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The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has seen a sharp increase in total handle after 27 days of racing in their 2016 season, according to Vice President of Racing Operations Dale Rapson.  Despite the less than ideal weather conditions, numbers continue to trend up for the track in Northeast Pennsylvania, with total handle up 12%. “One of the main reasons for the increase is the change in our racing schedule, dropping Wednesday nights and adding Mondays, and adjusting our Sunday night Post Time to 7:30p.m.”, Mr. Rapson commented.  “Rick Kane, our Racing Secretary, has put together some great cards that has attracted not only a good quantity, but also an excellent quality or horses.  Our driving colony remains top-notch in the field as well.”  Going into the busy time of the season, the Downs feels that they will keep the momentum going. Racing continues Sunday at 7:30p.m.; and Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday at 6:30p.m. through November 26th.  Sun Stakes Saturday is set for July 2nd, featuring the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot; James M. Lynch Memorial; Max Hempt Memorial; and the Ben Franklin Free-For-All Pace.  August 20 is set aside for Super Stakes Saturday, with the Colonial Trot; the Valley Forge; and the Battle of the Brandywine.  by Jennifer Starr, for Pocono Downs

A double header of live harness racing, including 2 prestigious races for 3-year-olds; a hat revue with the top prize of $500 for the “Triple Crown” winning hat;  and a Champagne Brunch are all part of the biggest Kentucky Derby party north of Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May! Doors open Saturday at 9:30am, with the first of the live harness racing card Post Time at 11:00a.m., and a patio bar open just for those early birds!  Pacer’s Clubhouse will host a Champagne Brunch like no other starting at 11:00 a.m., featuring delectable items such as Seared Tenderloin Medallions with Crab Cake Asparagus dressed with Bearnaise; Deep fried turkey with Red Eye Gravy & Spaghetti Squash; Vanilla Bourbon sweet mashed potatoes; and desserts such as chocolate pecan pie and minted cream pie!  Reservations are still being accepted at 570-831-2100.  The dinner seating is currently sold out. Ladies can proudly wear their elaborately decorated Kentucky Derby hats for the Run for the Roses Hat Revue, sponsored by Spa Sapphire, the salon and spa in the casino.  All hats must be registered between 3:00 and 5:30 p.m. in the lobby, and the Revue takes place at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Winner’s Circle with $500 top prize for the “Triple Crown Winner”.  This year’s revue will be judged by former contestant on “The Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise” Elise Mosca.  The blonde model and actress, originally from Northeast PA, will be alongside driver Simon Allard; and Angie Morgan from Spa Sapphire as a special guest judge.  A photo booth in the lobby will be open at 3:00pm to capture the best moments of the day, with a $1 minimum donation to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.  Spa Sapphire and Aveda will also be set up to help the ladies look their best with the “Perfect Lip” touch-up, adjacent to the photo booth, and items such as hats, jewelry, and other accessories will be for sale as well.  Make sure you come with an appetite, because there will be food trucks on the apron starting at 2:00p.m., and of course, Mint Juleps will be available all day in the official Kentucky Derby 142 souvenir glasses!  A jumbo tent will be set up for the fans to kick back and enjoy the day. Following Kentucky Derby 142 on the jumbo screen, fans can stay and enjoy another exciting live card, including the Pennsylvania Classic 3-year-old colts & geldings; and the Miss Pennsylvania for 3-year-old fillies.    Jennifer Starr 

A double header of live harness racing, including 2 prestigious races for 3-year-olds; a hat revue; and a Champagne Brunch are all part of the biggest Kentucky Derby party north of Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May! Doors open Saturday at 9:30am, with the first of the live harness racing card Post Time at 11:00a.m., and a patio bar open just for those early birds!  Pacer’s Clubhouse will host a Champagne Brunch like no other starting at 11:00 a.m., featuring delectable items such as Seared Tenderloin Medallions with Crab Cake Asparagus dressed with Bearnaise; Deep fried turkey with Red Eye Gravy & Spaghetti Squash; Vanilla Bourbon sweet mashed potatoes; and desserts such as chocolate pecan pie and minted cream pie!  Reservations are still being accepted at 570-831-2100.  The dinner seating is currently sold out. Ladies can proudly wear their elaborately decorated Kentucky Derby hats for the Run for the Roses Hat Revue, sponsored by Spa Sapphire, the salon and spa in the casino.  All hats must be registered between 3:00 and 5:30 p.m. in the lobby, and the Revue takes place at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Winner’s Circle with cash prizes in different categories and one overall winner called the “Triple Crown Winner”!  Spa Sapphire gift cards will also be awarded to runners-up, with a special Couples Spa Package for the Most Fashionable Couple! A photo booth in the lobby will be open at 3:00pm to capture the best moments of the day, with a $1 minimum donation to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.  Spa Sapphire and Aveda will also be set up to help the ladies look their best with the “Perfect Lip” touch-up, adjacent to the photo booth, and items such as hats, jewelry, and other accessories will be for sale as well.  Make sure you come with an appetite, because there will be food trucks on the apron starting at 2:00p.m., and of course, Mint Juleps will be available all day in the official Kentucky Derby 142 souvenir glasses!  A jumbo tent will be set up for the fans to kick back and enjoy the day. Following Kentucky Derby 142 on the jumbo screen, fans can stay and enjoy another exciting live card, including the Pennsylvania Classic 3-year-old colts & geldings; and the Miss Pennsylvania for 3-year-old fillies.    Advance wagering will be available Friday, May 6th starting at 10:00am, as well as a full simulcast of the prestigious Kentucky Oaks day from Churchill Downs.   by Jennifer Starr, for Pocono Downs

Wilkes-Barrie, PA - Women and horse racing DO go together! Who says you can't be fashionable while cheering on your favorite horse? The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, along with Spa Sapphire, is presenting their first "Fashion At The Track" night in Pacer's Clubhouse on Saturday, April 9th. Starting at 7:00p.m., those dining at the restaurant overlooking the historic 5/8 mile track will be treated to table-side fashion shows featuring the latest and hottest in sportswear; jewelry; and even hats and Fascinators, as the Kentucky Derby is just weeks away. Models from Spa Sapphire will casually walk around Pacer's, and guests can enjoy the fashions while they dine on Clubhouse specialties such as Chicken Parmagiana; Fish and Chips; Loaded French fries; French Onion Soup; as well as specialty sandwiches; all while watching and wagering on exciting harness racing. Items will be available for purchase that evening from Spa Sapphire's display tables. "Fashion At The Track" continues each Saturday evening in April. Reservations are required for dining in Pacer's Clubhouse, and can be secured by calling 1-888-WIN-IN-PA. by Jennifer Starr, for Pocono Downs  

The first harness racing qualifiers of the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono's 2016 season were held at the track in Northeast Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning, March 8th. Under partly sunny skies and a temperature of nearly 60 degrees, 6 trotting and 5 pacing qualifying races were held. The fifth qualifying race, a trot, saw the fastest time of the trotters of 1:56.4 for Chipoffthewall, a three-year-old black gelding trained by Syl King Jr. and driven this morning by one of Pocono's leading drivers, Anthony Napolitano. The fastest pacing time belonged to Toatsmygoats in the eighth race. John Kakaley drove the four-year-old gelding trained by Nick Surick, who finished in 1:54. The second Qualifying races of the season are set for Wednesday morning at 10:00a.m., with 11 more on tap. Next Wednesday, March 16th, is also set aside for qualifiers, and each Wednesday after that. The track opens for their 2016 season on Saturday, March 19th with a Post Time of 6:30p.m. In March, racing will be held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and in April, racing moves to the regular schedule of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday. Jennifer Starr

Tuesday morning at 8:00a.m., the once-quiet stables at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono were filled with the sounds of hooves and whinnies, as the stables officially opened for the 2016 harness racing season.   Veteran horsemen William “Billy” Mullin and Ernest “Bucky” Angle were the first horsemen making their way down the steep incline to the stable gate with their precious cargo.  Billy’s trailer had Miss Marlene; Stir Crazy Hanover; Amicus; Reining Black Swan; Sonny For All; and Swan Princess.  Bucky unloaded Twin B Elite; Yankee Devil; and the very vocal Teacher’s Vet, who was busily checking out her surroundings and posing for photos.     Stall applications are being taken for the stables at https://myhorsemen.mohegansunpocono.com.   Special rates are available to reserve your stalls.  Those reserving 10 stalls will receive each additional stall at half-off, and will receive preference for being stabled at Pocono.   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono stable area features an excellent training track; tack shop and farriers; two veterinary clinics; laundry facilities; and a secure area with a guard on the premises 24 hours a day.  Entry is with a license only.  The stable area is minutes from major interstate highways.   Racing opens for the season at the renowned 5/8 mile track on Saturday, March 19th.  Three dates have been set aside for Qualifiers; Tuesday, March 8th; Wednesday, March 9th; and Wednesday, March 16th.   Jennifer Starr – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Only one night remains in the 50th Anniversary season for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the track in Northeast PA continues their awards for the standouts of the 2015 season closing night, Saturday, November 21st.    The  Leading Driver; Leading Trainer – Wins; Claimer of the Year; and Three-Year-Old of the Year will accept their awards.   The Claimer of the Year for 2015 is the inimitable R Gauwitz Hanover.  Even before he arrived at Pocono in May, he was already a big winner in 2015, racking up six wins in New York.  But it was here that the 6-year-old gelding achieved his greatest success, winning nine of his 14 races at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, all while moving up in class from the $10,000 claimers to the $25,000 claiming handicaps.  He won several races from outside posts, had victories for seven different trainers at Pocono; and notched a career-best mile of 1:49 as part of his unforgettable 2015 campaign at Pocono.   The track will honor this great gelding with his record number of claims by displaying, in the paddock, his custom-designed blanket with rainbow letters to signify all the different stables.   The 3-Year-old of the Year honor has been bestowed upon K Ryan Bluechip.  The gelding from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn finished fourth on April 8th in a maiden race at Pocono in what was his first start of the 2015 season.  After that, the only view other horses had of him at Pocono for the remainder of the season  was his back end.  K Ryan Bluechip raced five more times at Pocono and won them all in impressive fashion, none slower than 1:51.1, and his career-best win of 1:50.2 came in September.   Rene Allard dominated the training wins, picking up his third straight title in that category.  Allard had nearly twice as many victories as his nearest  competitor.     On the driving side, it was a monster season for George Napolitano Jr., who easily won both the driving wins and driving percentage titles.  George Nap broke his own single-season record for wins at Pocono, and he also notched over 400 wins this season.   Saturday is also a special thank you to the loyal fans with Fan Appreciation Night.  Souvenirs of the 50th Anniversary season will be given out to fans with a coupon from the live racing program starting at 7:00pm.   Racing returns March, 2016, and Simulcast is open year-round.   by Jennifer Starr, for Pocono Downs                  

As “darkness falls across the land”*, the ghosts will come out at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday, Halloween night.!  “Grey Ghosts”, that is, as all grey or roan horses come to Northeast PA for the annual “Grey Ghost and Poltergeist Pace” sponsored by the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY.  Eight ghostly greys are behind the gate for the 4th race, with an approximate Post Time of 7:24p.m., and will be led to Post Parade by “Headless Horseman”, otherwise known as Outrider Terry Scott.  The eight-year-old grey mare, Summer Snow, has been installed as the morning line favorite at odds of 5-2.  Trained by Jennifer Lappe, the spooky grey will be driven by Andrew McCarthy. The winner of the 2013 race at Pocono, Gotta Love Him, is second choice at 3-1, and will once again have Matt Kakaley in the bike.  Cindy Weitoish trains the 7-year-old gelding, who has been in every edition of the “Grey Ghost” race at Pocono! First-time Pocono starter Movie Sequel, 4-1, trained by Shaun Callahan, ships in from Delaware, and comes off a 3rd this past Tuesday at Rosecroft.  Tom Jackson picks up the drive.  Others in the field include the Jennifer Sansone-trained Corwhiny at 12-1; Annie McVicar, 10-1, trained by Kimberly Asher; JS McFlash, 6-1, trained by Wendy Shimmin; and Putnam’s Storm, with Pocono leading driver George Napolitano Jr. in the bike for trainer Brian Fisher, at odds of 9-2. Fans can expect to see some surprises with these ghoulish greys! The Harness Racing Museum will be in the lobby, selling the commemorative Greyhound wristbands, raising money for the exhibit honoring the great trotter.  Other items will be for sale. ***According to the U.S. Trotting Association, the governing body of harness racing, less than five percent of all harness horses are grey in color.  The most famous was the former world champion trotter and Hambletonian winner, Greyhound. Jennifer Starr – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono 

Halloween night.  October 31st…The night for ghouls; goblins; witches; and…grey ghosts?  The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is planning their Grey Ghost and Poltergeist Pace for Saturday, October 31st, Halloween night, the perfect setting for the harness racing ghostly greys. The race will once again be sponsored by the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY, and Pocono is lending a hand to help raise money for the Greyhound Exhibit  at the Museum, honoring the great Trotter, by selling a collectible Greyhound wristband that evening.  The museum will also have a display and gift shop in the racing lobby. The winning horse will be presented with his or her trophy by children of Pocono horsemen in costume, and  the Winner’s Circle is sporting spooky decor to set the mood for the race.  There is even a Headless Horseman to lead the Post Parade! The “Witching Hour”, otherwise known as Post Time, for the evening’s races is 6:30pm. Be a part of this great event by contacting Jennifer Starr at 570-831-2195!  Grey or roan horses are welcome!  Thank you in advance to all horsemen! ***According to the U.S. Trotting Association, the governing body of harness racing, less than five percent of all harness horses are grey in color.  The most famous was the former world champion trotter and Hambletonian winner, Greyhound. Jennifer Starr – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono           

Halloween night.  October 31st…The night for ghouls; goblins; witches; and…grey ghosts?  The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is planning their Grey Ghost and Poltergeist Pace for Saturday, October 31st, Halloween night, the perfect setting for the harness racing ghostly greys. The race will once again be sponsored by the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY, and Pocono is lending a hand to help raise money for the Greyhound Exhibit  at the Museum, honoring the great Trotter, by selling a collectible Greyhound wristband that evening.  The museum will also have a display and gift shop in the racing lobby. The winning horse will be presented with his or her trophy by children in costume, and  the Winner’s Circle is sporting spooky decor to set the mood for the race.  There is even a Headless Horseman to lead the Post Parade! The “Witching Hour”, otherwise known as Post Time, for the evening’s races is 6:30pm. Any interested horsemen with a grey or roan should contact Jennifer Starr at 570-831-2195 as soon as possible. ***According to the U.S. Trotting Association, the governing body of harness racing, less than five percent of all harness horses are grey in color.  The most famous was the former world champion trotter and Hambletonian winner, Greyhound. Jennifer Starr – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono 

The 50th Anniversary festivities continue at Pocono Downs, with everyone looking forward to an exciting weekend of tremendous harness racing and events. Friday, August 21 Racing will kick off with a special Post Time of 5:30pm, and the "Legends Race" will start off the night. The race will feature familiar names such as Bill Popfinger; Don Wiest; Jim Williard; Bill Mullin, Syl King Jr.; Eddie Nickle; and Joe Antonelli. There will also be a special Winner's Circle trophy presention by Pocono's first leading driver, J.D. Dennis, Sr., and Gene Daisey, who drove in 1965 as well. Horsemen from the past to the present are all invited into the Circle for the presentation and a group photo. After the 10th race, Wilkes Barre Mayor Thomas M. Leighton will present a proclamation honoring the track for their 50th anniversary and their contribution to the community. Immediately following the races on Friday night, there will be a free concert on the apron with a Tribute to Motown featuring The Fellas; and a Tribute to the Supremes, featuring Encorz. The time for the concert will be approximately 9:30pm. A $1 Coors Light draft drink special will be at the track apron bars only for the concert fans. After the concert, fans with the coupon from the live racing program can grab their "Decades of the Downs" 1965 t-shirts on the apron, while supplies last. Saturday afternoon, August 22 Former manager and Major League baseball player Pete Rose drops in for pictures and autographs in the racing lobby from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. This is a wristband-only event, and wristbands are available starting at 1:00pm in the lobby. Authorized photos will be signed, and are available at the event. Then the action shifts to the famous 5/8 mile oval with the $2.3 million Super Stakes Saturday. Representative Eddie Day Pashinski of the 121st Legislative District in Luzerne County will perform the National Anthem to kick off this tremendous night of racing, featuring the Battle of the Brandywine; the Colonial Trot; and the Valley Forge Pace, plus two consolations of each. Also featured on this prestigious night of racing is the Sebastian K Invitational Trot, named after the fastest trotter of all time. The famed trotter will also be honored with a special retirement ceremony after the 4th race on the card, featuring owner Michael Knuttson; driver/trainer, Ake Svanstedt and Bernie Noren; along with James Simpson from Hanover Shoe Farms. Special collectible Sebastian K color photos will be available for fans after the ceremony. A special 50th Anniversary souvenir beer mug will be given away to fans with the coupon from the live racing program starting at 9:00pm at the Trackside Concession area on the apron. Programs are on sale starting at 5:00pm. The Hanover Shoe Farms Mares Invitational Pace and the USTA Invitational Pace have also been added to this stellar card of racing, with a purse of $50,000 to each. Immediately following the races, at approximately 10:30pm, will be a spectacular fireworks display featuring music of all five decades from 1960's to the present. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for a good spot on the apron. Plenty of food will be available on the apron both Friday and Saturday with food trucks Dominic's; Big Belly BBQ; Johnny Rockets; and Doc Popcorn ready to go with something for everyone's appetite. The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame will be on hand with items for sale as well. In the racing lobby both Friday and Saturday will be a special display of memorabilia from the past 50 years for fans to enjoy. Included are old photos; trophies; programs, and more. As always, parking and admission are free at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and valet parking is also free. Everyone is invited to the once-in-a-lifetime 50th Anniversary celebration! Jennifer Starr

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is busy preparing for their 50th Anniversary week, August 15-22.  The World-Renowned Budweiser Clydesdales; former Major League baseball player and manager Pete Rose; a Legends Race; fireworks; and a free concert with a “Tribute to Motown” are just a few of the events surrounding this milestone for the harness racing Northeast PA track.  The week-long festivities culminate with the $2.3 million Super Stakes Saturday on August 22, and anyone wishing to book a table at Pacer’s Clubhouse should call the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association office as soon as possible at 570-831-2129.  Reservations will go quickly, so everyone is encouraged to call and book their table. For a complete list of events surrounding the historic 50th anniversary, check out the racing page at www.mohegansunpocono.com, and follow the track on Twitter @DownsAtMSP. Jennifer Starr

Twelve children landed at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Tuesday morning to begin the five-day Harness Horse Youth Foundation Camp, and immediately set to work!  The campers are working hands-on with the HHYF's stable of Trottingbred horses. Among the topics they are learning are care and grooming, equipment, conformation, lameness, history, stable management, and equine careers. During the week, the campers enjoy several other events, including dinner at Pacers Clubhouse and a night watching the live Pocono races; as well as a fun night bowling.  The children, eleven girls and one boy, are from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut; and Maine. On Saturday, all 12 campers will compete in races accompanied by Pocono drivers.  Post Time for the races is 5:30pm, with live harness racing immediately following. The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with  harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation was established in 1976 and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs and educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF and its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. Jennifer Starr – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono 

As the nation waits for American Pharoah to hit the track for the 147th Belmont Stakes, a harness racing 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.  Jennifer Starr

Triple Crown fever is striking everywhere, and anticipation is high for American Pharoah’s bid on Saturday, June 6th with the 14th 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 on the Sky Bridge between the casino and the racetrack.  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. Jennifer Starr – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono welcomes 1976 Philadelphia Flyers** Bernie Parent, Dave Schultz, and Bob Kelly for autographs and pictures on  Saturday, May 30th at the harness racing track.     The event is part of the season-long celebration honoring the track’s 50th anniversary.   This is a wristband-only event, and fans may line up to receive their wristband starting at 1:00pm on the Sky Bridge connecting the casino and racetrack.     This will assure a spot in line to meet the stars.     The signing is from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the same location, and only authorized photos will be signed.  The photos will be distributed at the time of  **The Philadelphia Flyers of the early 1970’s were known for their aggressive defensive tactics and skill, leading them to two consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975.   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is currently racing Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, with a Post Time of 6:30pm.   Jennifer Starr – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

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