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Draw for first 2018 Pocono card on Monday

March 09, 2018

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After a Wednesday/Thursday period where Mother Nature reminded The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono why they do not race year-round, the mountain track got in a second set of qualifiers Friday (March 9) ahead of its opening night of Saturday (March 17), and the draw for that card on this Monday (March 12).
The brothers Allard, driver Simon and trainer Rene, again served notice of the likelihood of their getting off to a hot start at Pocono, winning five of the eight qualifiers. Fastest winner was the American Ideal 4-year-old Art Scene, who drew off in a 56.2 last half to win by open lengths in 1:56.2 over a track with a three-second allowance. Art Scene won over $290,000 in 2017, and he extended Pacer of the Year Downbytheseaside before succumbing by a nose in the Messenger Pace; the Allard connections acquired him just after the start of the year.

The 2016 Gold Cup and Saucer winner YS Lotus also roared back in top fettle for Team Allard, drawing off to a 16-½-length win in 1:56.4, back half :57.3.

As noted, Pocono will draw for the Saturday, March 17, opening night card on Monday, and indeed will follow the same basic draw schedule as last year: Saturdays on Mondays, Sundays and Wednesday qualifiers on Tuesdays, Mondays on Wednesdays, and Tuesdays on Thursdays.

Pocono will be racing on Saturday the 17th and Tuesday the 20th during its first week, then will add Sundays to that mix to give it a three-card-a-week schedule the following two weeks. From the week starting with Saturday, April 7, Pocono will be in its regular four-card-a-week mode with the addition of Mondays to the calendar.

The start of the popular Bobby Weiss late-closing series for developing 3- and 4-year-olds of both gaits and sexes will begin on the Easter Sunday card of April 1 – which by the way, with a 5 p.m. first post, will be the only deviation from Pocono’s new uniform 7 p.m. first post for March and April, and for most of the season.

Pocono will of course be graced with featuring the best harness horses in North America at the end of October, hosting the $6M Breeders Crown Series events. Elimination races will take place on Friday, Oct. 19 (the only Friday card of the year at Pocono) and Saturday, Oct. 20, with "it all coming down" to the night of the Crown Championships, Saturday, Oct. 27.

Other red-clay racetrack highlights include the $2 million Sun Stakes Saturday events, with eliminations on Saturday, June 23, and the Championships seven days later, and the Sunday, Sept. 2, hosting of the $1.2 million Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for 3-year-olds. (The Downs at Pocono)
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