One of the greatest cards on the yearly schedule of world harness racing was made even better Thursday, as the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), in conjunction with Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, announced increased purses in the consolation races of three $500,000 stakes events, a new consolation for the $300,000 James Lynch Pace for sophomore fillies, and a brand-new event, the $100,000 "Mohegan Sun” Invitational Trot for world-class older horses.
"The Pennsylvania ‘racing revolution' has helped our state become of the brightest spots on the national and international harness racing scene,” noted PHHA president Sam Beegle, "and ‘Sun Stakes Saturday,' to be held in 2014 on June 28, is one of the greatest days of the season for all harness racing fans – as bright as the Sun. We are now pleased to announce that we have made a great day of racing even greater with these added events and purses.”
The three $500,000 events are the Ben Franklin Pace for free-for-allers, the Earl Beal Trot for 3-year-old males, and the Max Hempt Pace for 3-year-old males. These three events saw $50,000 consolations staged last year, and the consolations yielded the co-fastest mile of all-time on a five-eighths mile track (Bolt The Duer's 1:47.4) and an equaling of the world record for sophomore geldings (Beach Memories, 1:48.2) – and remember, these were consolations, for horses who the previous week had not qualified for the finals! This year, all three events have had their consolation purses boosted to $75,000. The Franklin consolation for 2014 had been announced previously; the sophomore colt events now join it.
The Lynch Pace for fillies will have a $50,000 consolation race, if, as in all the other races, enough horses who do not make the finals show enough interest to race right back.
"We have also added an event for what many people consider to be the best crop of free-for-all trotters of recent years, the $100,000 Mohegan Sun Trot,” added Beegle. "This will be conducted as an Invitational event, so trainers of top older trotters interested in competing at Pocono on June 28 should contact Rick Kane in the Pocono race office immediately at (570) 831-2126.”
With the four finals, the Invitational, and the consolations added together, Sun Stakes Saturday's card will be worth $2,175,000 – just for these races alone! (And don't sell the Sun undercard short – last year Abelard Hanover equaled the world record for older geldings of 1:48 in the Preferred pace, in a driving rainstorm!)
Supplemented starters are allowed to compete in the four sets of elimination races for the headliners, held one week before (June 21), if paying the proper fees as noted in the USTA Stakes Guide – contact Mr. Kane for further details.
It's a card no one will want to miss –live patrons and simulcast fans, trotters and pacers, owners and trainers alike. Sun Stakes Saturday has gotten even better – and it all will unfold at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Saturday, June 28. (PHHA/Pocono Downs)