01/03/2017 4:17PM

Pocono: 2017 racing dates and stakes schedule announced

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The 2017 schedule for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono includes four consecutive nights of racing, and a double-header on Kentucky Derby day, according to Vice President of Racing, Dale Rapson.  A total of 134 race nights and 135 cards are planned for the new season. 

Racing opens at the renowned 5/8 mile oval in Wilkes Barre, PA on Saturday, March 18th, with limited days of racing in March, including Tuesday, March 21st; Saturday, March 25th, and Tuesday, March 28th. 

In April, racing moves to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday, with Sunday, April 2nd the first leg of 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 series continues throughout April with the finals on May 2nd and 9th.  There will be no live racing on Monday, April 3rd or Sunday, April 16th.

The prestigious $2 million Sun Stakes Saturday is set for Saturday, July 1st, 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 & Gelding Pace; and the Ben Franklin Free For All Pace.  Eliminations will take place on Saturday, June 24th. 

Kentucky Derby day, May 6th, features a double-header 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 143rd running of the Derby.  The $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Pace for 4 YO & up will take place on the night card, honoring the late well-known local sportswriter, who was a fixture covering Pocono throughout the years.  Live racing will immediately follow the second and third legs of the Triple Crown, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. 

Monday, September 4th will be the PA Sire Stakes Championship Finals for the 2YO future superstars with estimated purses of $260,000.  Also on the stakes schedule are the PA All-Stars for 2 & 3YOs in July and the 3YO PA Stallion Series and PA Sire Stakes starting in May.

Post Time for Sunday nights is 7:30 p.m., with all other nights 6:30 p.m.  In September, October, and November, Monday night Post Time will switch to a 4:30 p.m.  The 52nd season of live racing concludes on Saturday, November 25th. 

***Stall applications are now being taken for the 2017 season by calling Luann Reynolds at 570-831-2125.  Special reduced rates are being offered for the new season. 

--edited release (Pocono Downs)