A doubleheader on Kentucky Derby Day and an additional day per week of racing in July and August are two of the changes in the new Pocono Downs racing schedule for 2014, as announced by vice president of racing operations Dale Rapson.
Racing opens at the renowned five-eighths mile oval in Wilkes Barre, Pa., on March 22, and for the first few months of the new season, (March through June), will take place on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
Kicking off the stakes schedule on opening night will be the Bobby Weiss Late Closing Series for 3 and 4 year olds, named for the beloved former director of track maintenance. Bobby retired in 2011, and was responsible for the record-breaking track surface that is maintained today. The finals for the series will take place starting April 19, and conclude on April 23.
The prestigious Sun Stakes Saturday is planned for Saturday, June 28, and will feature the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial 3-year-old trot; the James Lynch 3-year-old filly pace; the Max Hempt 3-year-old colt and gelding Pace; and the Ben Franklin Free For All Pace. Eliminations will take place on Saturday, June 21.
For the summer months of July and August, an extra day has been added. The race days will move to Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The track will race Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday in September through closing in November. There will be no live racing the week of Sept. 8 for the annual Oktoberfest celebration.
Kentucky Derby Day, May 3, traditionally a huge celebration of racing and partying, will also boast a doubleheader with two Pocono live race cards. Post time for the first card will be at 11 a.m., and the second will be immediately following the 140th running of the Derby. In between, there will be the Run for the Roses Hat Review and a huge party on the track apron. Live racing will immediately follow the second and third legs of the Triple Crown, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Post time for all racing nights is 6:30 p.m., with the season concluding on Saturday, Nov. 22. (Pocono Downs)